David C. Van Essen is the Alumni Endowed Professor in the Anatomy & Neurobiology Department at Washington University in St. Louis. He has pioneered the use of surface-based analysis methods to characterize the structure, function, development, and connectivity of the cerebral cortex. He is Principal Investigator for the NIH Human Connectome Project, a large-scale effort to map brain circuitry and its relationship to behavior in healthy adults. His physiological and anatomical studies have provided deep insights into cortical functional organization. He has served as Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Neuroscience, President of the Society for Neuroscience, and Head of the Anatomy & Neurobiology Department for 20 years. He is a fellow of the AAAS and received the Raven Lifetime Achievement Award from the St. Louis Academy of Sciences and the Krieg Cortical Discoverer Award from the Cajal Club.