Susan Magsamen is the founder and executive director of the International Arts + Mind Lab (IAM Lab), Center for Applied Neuroaesthetics, a pioneering initiative from the Pedersen Brain Science Institute at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Her body of work lies at the intersection of brain sciences and the arts—and how our unique response to aesthetic experiences can amplify human potential.
Magsamen is the author of the Impact Thinking model, an evidence-based research approach to accelerate how we use the arts to solve problems in health, well-being, and learning. In addition to her role at IAM Lab, she is an assistant professor of neurology at Johns Hopkins and serves as co-director of the NeuroArts Blueprint project in partnership with the Aspen Institute.
Prior to founding IAM Lab, Magsamen worked in both the private and public sector, developing social impact programs and products addressing all stages of life—from early childhood to the senior years. Magsamen created Curiosityville, an online personalized learning world, acquired by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt in 2014 and Curiosity Kits, a hands-on multi-sensory company, acquired by Torstar in 1995.
An award-winning author, Magsamen has published eight books including The Classic Treasury of Childhood Wonder, The 10 Best of Everything Families, and Family Stories.
Susan’s newest book with Random House is called, Your Brain On Art: How the Arts Transform Us written with Ivy Ross, Vice President of Design for Hardware at Google. It is a journey through the science of neuroaesthetics that offers proof of how our brains and bodies are transformed when we participate in the arts and aesthetic experiences, and how this knowledge can improve our physical and mental health, help us learn and flourish, and build stronger communities.
Magsamen is a Fellow at the Royal Society of the Arts and a strategic advisor to several innovative organizations and initiatives, including the Academy of Neuroscience for Architecture, the American Psychological Association, the National Association for the Education of Young Children, Brain Futures, Learning Landscapes, and Creating Healthy Communities: Arts + Public Health in America.