Scholars

  • Raphael Gerraty graduated in 2018 with a PhD in psychology from Columbia. He plans to integrate probabilistic theories from the fields of neuroscience, philosophy, and AI to design new neural network models for how humans develop mental representations of their visual world.

    Project Title: Uncertainty in Brains, Minds, and Machines: Using Philosophy and Deep Neural Networks to Understand Probabilistic Perceptual Representation
  • Nori Jacoby studies how different cultures use music and sound to make sense of the world around them. Through his research, Nori attempts to create new paradigms for scientific analysis that incorporate techniques from neuroscience, anthropology, and ethnomusicology, particularly in the study of rhythm perception. He earned a PhD in computational neuroscience from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and did postdoctoral research in computational audition at MIT. Nori accepted the position of a group leader at the Max Planck Institute of Empirical Aesthetics in Frankfurt, Germany, in 2018.

    Project Title: The Cultural Foundations of Auditory Processing
  • Noam Zerubavel is a social and neural scientist interested in understanding human relationships and group interactions. Dr. Zerubavel investigates the organizing sociological principles, psychological processes, and neural mechanisms of the complex dynamics in social networks. His recent neuroimaging work on affective reciprocity postulates that brain activity might predict future friendships. He completed his PhD in psychology with Professor Kevin Ochsner and postdoctoral training in social network analysis with Professor Peter Bearman at Columbia University.

    Project Title: How Do We Connect? The Neural Foundations of Social Relations
  • Matthew Sachs is a neuroscientist whose research focuses on understanding the neural and behavioral mechanisms involved in emotions and feeling in response to music. He received his PhD from the University of Southern California’s Brain and Creativity Institute, directed by Dr. Antonio Damasio, and his B.A. from Harvard University. Matthew’s projects involve applying data-driven, multivariate models to capture the patterns of neural activity that accompany uniquely human experiences with music, such as feelings of chills, pleasurable sadness, and nostalgia. Matthew is the third Robert A. Burt Presidential Scholar in Society and Neuroscience.

    Project Title: Mapping the Rich Tapestry of Music-Evoked Emotions
  • Matteo Farinella is a neuroscientist and cartoonist who studies the use of comics and other visual narratives in science communication. Working with science journalists, educators, and cognitive neuroscientists, he aims to understand how these tools may affect the public perception of science and increase scientific literacy. He received a PhD in neuroscience from University College London in 2013. 

    Matteo is the author of two graphic novels and a children's book: The Senses (Nobrow, 2017), Neurocomic(Nobrow, 2013), and Cervellopoli (Editoriale Scienza 2017). He has worked with universities and educational institutions around the world to make science more accessible. His illustrations won the NSF Science Visualization Challenge (2015), and have been featured in exhibitions such as the Society of Illustrators Comics and Cartoon Art Annual Exhibition (2015) and STEAM Within the Panels at the AAAS Art Gallery (2017). After completing the PSSN program in 2019, Matteo has returned to work as a full-time science communicator. 

    Please visit cartoonscience.org to find out more about Matteo's efforts to increase scientific literacy.

    Project Title: Visual Narratives for Science Communication
  • Lan Li is a historian of the body and filmmaker. Li received her PhD in History, Anthropology, and Science Technology and Society Studies from MIT in 2016. There, she explored a comparative history of body mapping among practitioners in China and Britain throughout the twentieth century. Lan is also a filmmaker, producing short films about medicine and health among immigrant communities in the United States. During her free time, Lan plays the guzheng, a 21-stringed Chinese zither. 

    As a Presidential Scholar, Lan focused on developing a comparative history of numbness. She was particularly interested in how representations of peripheral sensation through hand-drawn maps cohered and conflicted with different perceptions of health and disease. Her collaborations included projects on nerve damage, aging, and pain. Lan completed the PSSN program in 2019 and is now an assistant professor in the Medical Humanities Program at Rice University. 

    Project Title: Comparative Histories of Touch and Numbness
  • Julia Hyland Bruno is an ethologist interested in behavioral development, with a particular focus on social animals, such as songbirds or humans, that learn how to communicate with one another. Julia received her PhD in biopsychology and behavioral neuroscience from the City University of New York, where she studied the rhythmic patterning of zebra finch vocal learning. As a Presidential Scholar, Dr. Bruno explores how patterns of communication among individuals influence social organization.

    Project Title: Learning to Improvise? Using Social Songbirds to Study Vocal Culture in the Lab
  • Federica Coppola is a criminal lawyer specializing in neurolaw. Federica investigates how findings from social and affective neuroscience might be used to reform criminal law and justice. She plans to utilize neuroscientific insights into emotions and prosocial behavior to inform changes in criminal law doctrines, theories of punishment and correctional interventions, with a special focus on perpetrators with histories of violence.

    Federica earned a JD summa cum laude from University of Bologna Law School in 2010 and an LLM in Comparative, European, and International Laws from the European University Institute in 2014 before pursuing her PhD. Federica received a PhD in law from the European University Institute in 2017. In her doctoral dissertation, she developed a general theory of culpability informed by neuroscientific insights into emotions, moral decision-making and antisocial behavior. In 2016, she was a visiting scholar at the University of Pennsylvania Law School and at the Penn Center for Neuroscience and Society. She has been a lecturer at the School of Law and Neuroscience at the University of Pavia, as well as a guest lecturer in criminology at the University of Passau Law School.

    Federica is the first Robert A. Burt Presidential Scholar in Society and Neuroscience.

    Project Title: Reinventing Criminal Justice with Social and Affective Neuroscience
  • David Barack is a neuroscientist and philosopher. His neuroscientific investigations target the neural circuits of foraging decisions in humans and non-human primates. He is particularly interested in how primates search for information, how information is encoded in the brain independently of reward, and how information guides inferences about the world. David’s philosophical work explores the conceptual foundations of cognitive neuroscience, especially the underlying dynamical basis for cognition. David received his PhD in philosophy from Duke University and worked as a postdoc at the University of Pennsylvania. David completed the PSSN program in 2018 and is currently a postdoctoral research fellow at the Salzman Lab at Columbia.

    Project Title: Reasoning as Foraging
  • Clare McCormack is a researcher whose work focuses on women's psychological health in pregnancy and the peri-partum, and how these experiences are affected by maternal stress and trauma. She received her PhD in Public Health in 2016 from the National Drug and Alcohol Research Center at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia, where she studied alcohol use during pregnancy and infant cognitive development. Clare is the second Robert A. Burt Presidential Scholar in Society and Neuroscience.

    Project Title: Becoming a Mother in the Context of Trauma: Neuroplasticity and the Lived Experience of Women
  • Ann-Sophie Barwich is a philosopher and historian of science with a specialization in biology and chemistry. Her research examined current and past developments in olfactory research and the epistemic, empirical, and social factors that define ongoing science in laboratories studying olfaction. She has recently completed a book exploring the sense of smell as a model for studying neuroscience. Ann received her PhD from the Center for the Study of Life Sciences (Egenis) at the University of Exeter before taking on a postdoctoral fellowship at the Konrad Lorenz Institute for Evolution and Cognition Research. Ann completed the PSSN program in 2018 and is currently an assistant professor in the Department of History and Philosophy of Science and Medicine and the Cognitive Science Program at the University of Indiana Bloomington.

    Project Title: From the Air to the Brain: Laboratory Routines in Olfaction
  • Andrew Goldman studies the cognition and neuroscience of musical improvisation, drawing from his training as a concert pianist and composer. Andrew’s experiments explore how degrees of improvisation experience in musicians and dancers affect sound perception and motor planning. His research helps define what improvisation is, how people learn to do it, and the role improvisation plays in daily life. Andrew received his PhD from the University of Cambridge in 2015. Andrew completed the PSSN program in 2018 and he is currently a postdoctoral associate in the Music, Cognition, and the Brain Initiative at Western University, Canada.

    Project Title: Neuroscience and Musical Improvisation
Profiles, showing -