Pate Skene
Senior Research Scientist Level 4
Institute of Cognitive Science

Pate Skene is a neurobiologist and attorney investigating brain mechanisms involved in decision-making related to law, cooperation, and risk. Pate's research focuses on the evolution of brain mechanisms important for social cooperation in humans and other primates, and application of this research in criminal and civil litigation and regulatory policy. His legal practice focuses on scientific evidence and expert testimony in criminal and civil litigation.


  • Molecular biology of brain development
  • Brain and spinal cord regeneration
  • Neuroscience of decision-making in law
  • Genetic influences on social decisions 

Pate's current research interest focuses on cognitive science topics and currently collaborating on neurobiological studies of decision making.

From Pate: My areas of expertise include the cognitive neuroscience of decision-making, human factors in laboratory procedures, and the evaluation of scientific and technical evidence by courts and regulatory agencies. My scientific background includes more than 30 years as director of a laboratory conducting research in molecular genomics, biochemistry, and cognitive neuroscience. I currently serve on the Human Factors Task Group and the Forensic Toxicology subcommittee of the Organization of Scientific Advisory Committees on forensic sciences at NIST. Laboratory research interests include the evolutionary genomics and functional imaging of brain mechanisms involved in complex social decision-making and large-scale cooperation in humans.