Dr. Jokūbas Žiburkus is a Lithuanian-American Neuroscientist. He graduated with Ph.D. in 2001 from Louisiana State University in New Orleans, where according to him he ‘also graduated from the best school of music’. During his first postdoctoral fellowship at Johns Hopkins University’s Mind/ Brain Institute, he performed a series of important experiments that led to significant insights on neuromodulation of synaptic plasticity in the visual system. 

The primary goal of his research is to improve the understanding and discover new treatment options for catastrophic childhood epilepsies and other devastating neurological conditions. And for over 13 years he has made a huge amount of investigations.

As Jokūbas describes himself he is an outside of the box thinker and has transcended his scientific capabilities into driving several successful exchange projects between Lithuanian academic, government, and private sectors. Being a dedicated teacher and mentor he was the recipient of the prestigious Teaching Excellence Award at the University of Houston (UH) and Global Lithuanian Leaders Award (Lithuania) in 2014. In addition to this, Žiburkus often performs on blues harmonica or percussion at the local Houston and New Orleans music clubs and has recorded and/or produced 4 original music CDs with three different music bands.

On TEDxVilnius stage Jokūbas will perform together with Arkady Gotesman. He isn’t a standard artist: many consider him a jazzman and percussion virtuoso, but it is almost impossible to pinpoint what it is that he does. Yet Gotesman himself seems to be rather nonchalant about this; he clearly is a man of action and practice, able and willing to try the challenges that arise when working in different formats – not only the diverse world of music, but also theater and literature.

The main features of this artist – an extraordinary range of activity and the ability to instantly listen into his partners’ – whoever they are – music, speaking, writing or object making. This characteristic is crucial for a good jazz musician, whose reaction and intuition must never lose contact with the present moment, be able to foresee and creatively complement. These bright qualities, allowing Gotesman to play together with colleagues of very different musical tastes, are in demand in the world of music. 

Being a founder of Vilnius Klezmer Orchestra his work can also be heard in the best known theatre performances, music festivals all over Lithuania, and we are happy to have him on our stage!