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Dr. Emilio Gumá Díaz (1942-2013) – In memoriam

Full-time Professor-Researcher
Psychophysiology of Memory Laboratory
Neuroscience Institute, CUCBA
University of Guadalajara

Born in the Republic of Cuba in 1942, Dr. Gumá entered the School of Medicine at the University of Havana in 1959, where he earned his Doctorate degree in 1975. He began his scientific activity at that institution in 1961 as a Student Assistant, and from 1963 to 1965 collaborated with Dr. Augusto Fernández Guardiola in electrophysiological studies of the visual pathway in cats and epilepsy. From 1966 to 1967, he held a scholarship from the Physiology Institute at the Academy of Sciences in Georgia, USSR, where he worked with Professor S.P. Narikashvili on microlectrophysiological studies of the associative cortical areas, also in cats. From then until 1971 he was an Assistant Researcher at the Neurophysiology and Psychology Institute at Cuba’s Academy of Sciences, where he worked on the microlectrophysiology of the visual pathway in cats by analyzing the influences of distinct nuclei on the reticular formation of the brain stem. From 1971 to 1981, Dr. Gumá served as Director of the Neurophysiology Laboratory in the Research Section of the Higher Institute of Military Medicine in Havana; while from 1978 to 1981 he was the Lead Researcher for the Biology and Cosmic Medicine Group at the Intercosmos Commission of the Academy of Sciences of the Republic of Cuba, coordinating biomedical experiments for the first joint Soviet-Cuban space flight. Throughout those years he continued to teach at the School of Medicine, where in 1977 he earned the category of Full-time Professor, awarded by Cuba’s Ministry of Higher Education.

In 1981, Dr. Gumá earned his Doctorate in Biological Sciences from the National Commission of Scientific Degrees of the Republic of Cuba. Then, from 1981 to 1995, he served as a Neurophysiologist at the Psychiatric Hospital in Havana, performing research on schizophrenia and alcoholism. In 1984, he earned the professional degree of Grade II Specialist in Normal and Pathological Physiology awarded by Cuba’s Ministry of Public Health. From October 1995 to March 1996, he was invited for a period of study and research by the Division of Neurosciences of the Mexican Institute of Psychiatry. In March 1996, he joined the staff of the Neuroscience Institute at the University Center for Biological and Agricultural Sciences at the University of Guadalajara. There, he served as Director of the Psychophysiology of Memory Laboratory until his death on June 7 2013, conducting behavioral and electrophysiological research on working memory in humans and how it is influenced by reward, age, and diseases such as AIDS and schizophrenia. Also, he imparted several courses in the Master’s and Doctoral programs in the Behavioral Sciences with an orientation to neuroscience, and directed the thesis projects of several students in those programs.