Nicholas Schiff studied history and philosophy of science at Stanford University before training as a physician at Cornell University Medical College. Following a detour into further training in applied mathematics, he completed a residency in neurology and post-doctoral training in quantitative systems neurophysiology. He now directs the Laboratory for Cognitive Neuromodulation at Weill Cornell Medical College and is a professor of neuroscience, neurology and public health. His research program focuses on mechanisms underlying recovery of consciousness following brain injuries and bridges basic neuroscience and clinical investigative studies. A primary focus of his research program is the development of central thalamic deep brain stimulation as a therapeutic strategy for restoring critical functions of the brain arousal regulation systems. In 2007, he and colleagues demonstrated the first scientific proof-of-concept that such an approach could restore communication and other higher-integrative brain functions in a human subject following years of remaining in minimally conscious state.