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The Future of Performance Enhancement (with Dr. Amy Kruse)

November 22nd, 2023

Listen to the Bigger Than Business Podcast’s interview with Dr. Amy Kruse on your favorite podcast providers!

What does the future hold for neuro technology? What strides have been made in performance enhancement via brain studies? How can investors help shape the landscape of mental health treatments?

 Listen as our guest, Dr. Amy Kruse, shares how her new endeavor is investing in companies that elevate human flourishing, how modern treatments can unlock a new era of mental health solutions, and how her expert experience provides an advantage in assessing start-ups that will transform the field of neurosciences.

The Future of Performance Enhancement

By Jeff Holler

A curious nature from birth gave Dr. Amy Kruse an early sense that her life’s work would be found in science. That initial impulse led to a lifetime of exploration and discovery that now allows her to review and decide on new initiatives that will receive funding and possibly become the next big thing.

Science Applied in the Real World

A PhD in memory and learnings systems afforded Kruse many paths to choose from including academia, pharmaceuticals, science policy, analysis, or consulting. However, she wanted to work on applications in the real world, and so she landed with one of the biggest investors in human performance enhancement: the training programs at the U.S. Department of Defense.

“It was so exciting to me because it was applied and mission-focused,” Kruse recalls, “which is something that is very motivating to me. It just felt like a white space where we could ask any kind of question.”

The DOD ultimately led her into DARPA, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, which offered her a window into some of the most cutting-edge research in operational neuroscience and performance.

For instance, her work on the Accelerated Learning Program resulted in methods to emulate the brain patterns of an expert, cutting in half the time it takes novices to acquire new skills – vital for troop readiness.

“While we didn’t end up immediately transitioning it into the military, it actually found commercial application. Now as the military has moved towards more digital training, they’re working in the cognitive learning elements of it.”

Performance Development for the Public

After a decade at DARPA, Kruse found even more practical application for her work through private consulting, working with athletes and professional sports teams with great effect.

This work landed her the role of Chief Investment Officer running the Satori Neuro Fund where she discovers transformational companies in which to invest.

There are currently four pillars that she is tracking:

  1. Sleep. “What we discovered is how important and restorative sleep is for brain function. I tell people when it comes to human performance, sleep is always number one. If you’re going to spend money on anything, spend it on sleep first.”
  2. Mental Health. “There is a renaissance in understanding how plant medicine and psychedelic medicine can impact mental health. We have several things moving ahead with phase three clinical trials that are really showing efficacy.”
  3. Neurostimulation & Wearable Devices. “The notion that you can actually target specific brain regions and specific networks in the brain and get very remarkable outcomes in terms of treatment resistant depression and other challenging disorders is really exciting.”
  4. The Gut/Brain Axis. “There’s as much nervous system in your gut as there is in your brain. We’re leaving behind the brain/body dichotomy where those two things were quite separate and we’re now getting to a space where we’re starting to understand how integrated they are and that maintaining our gut health impacts our brain.”

How and Where to Invest

Having evaluated 150 investments in this space and only funded five of them, Kruse has made some very bold predictions of what looms on the horizon. In the remainder of our interview, she shares the importance of the investor’s role in vetting new opportunities.

You will also want to hear the examples she shares of products and applications we can expect to see in the near future.



Dr. Amy Kruse has more than 20 years of experience in science, technology, and innovation, with a special focus on neurotechnology and human performance. She is now the General Partner and Chief Investment officer of Satori Neuro, a stage-agnostic fund focused on mental health, neurotechnology, and human flourishing. She draws on her expertise to support Satori Neuro’s portfolio companies as they explore innovative therapeutics that feature a wide range of treatments, from psychedelic medicine and transcranial magnetic stimulation to virtual/augmented reality protocols and non-invasive brainwave devices. These treatments are designed to address conditions including treatment-resistant depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, addiction and substance abuse, neurological disorders, and more. Dr. Kruse is a Founding Member of the Loomis Innovation Council at the Stimson Center in Washington, D.C., and a Guest Lecturer for Singularity University.  She is a frequent contributor to defense panels and advisory boards for organizations including the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, the National Academies, and the Defense Science Board.  She is also the author of numerous scientific papers, chapters, and articles. Dr. Kruse has both a Bachelor of Science in cell and structural biology and a Ph.D. in neuroscience from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. She lives in Annapolis, Maryland, with her husband and enjoys gardening, kayaking, and traveling.