Staff Directory

  • Valerio Amoretti is a literary scholar who studies how reading and writing affect our mind and brain. In particular, Valerio draws from contemporary object-relations psychoanalysis to understand the role that literature and narrative play in enabling long-term psychic change and creativity. As a Presidential Scholar, Valerio will explore the neural basis for these processes.

    Valerio’s background includes training in both science and the humanities. After studying chemistry and training in a molecular neuroscience lab at UCL, Valerio worked for the UK’s National Health Service in clinical research and outreach. He holds graduate degrees in Psychoanalytic Psychology from the Anna Freud Centre and in Literary Studies from the University of York. Valerio completed his doctorate in English and Comparative Literature at Columbia in 2019, with a dissertation on the psychic work involved in reading modernist fiction.

  • Valerie Purdie-Greenaway is the director of the Laboratory of Intergroup Relations and the Social Mind (LIRSM). She is an associate professor in the Department of Psychology at Columbia University, core faculty for the Robert Wood Johnson Health & Society Scholars Program (RWJ Columbia-site), and research fellow at the Institute for Research on African-American Studies (IRAAS) at Columbia. She has been awarded grants from the National Science Foundation (NSF), Russell Sage Foundation, Spencer Foundation and William T. Grant Foundation. In 2013, Dr. Purdie-Greenaway was awarded the Columbia University RISE (Research Initiative in Science and Engineering) award for most innovative and cutting-edge research proposal titled, “Cells to Society” approach to reducing racial achievement gaps: Neuro-physiologic pathways involved in stereotype threat and social psychological interventions. Previously, Dr. Purdie-Greenaway served on the faculty in the Department of Psychology at Yale University. She completed her doctoral work in psychology at Stanford University and her undergraduate work at Columbia University, where she lettered in varsity basketball.

    Valerie Purdie-Greenaway is a member of the Presidential Scholars in Society and Neuroscience Steering Committee.

  • Stuart Firestein is the former Chair of Columbia University's Department of Biological Sciences where his laboratory studies the vertebrate olfactory system, possibly the best chemical detector on the face of the planet. Aside from its molecular detection capabilities, the olfactory system serves as a model for investigating general principles and mechanisms of signaling and perception in the brain. His laboratory seeks to answer that fundamental human question: How do I smell?

    Dedicated to promoting the accessibility of science to a public audience, Firestein serves as an advisor for the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation’s program for the Public Understanding of Science.  Recently he was awarded the 2011 Lenfest Distinguished Columbia Faculty Award for excellence in scholarship and teaching. He is a Fellow of the AAAS, an Alfred Sloan Fellow and a Guggenheim Fellow. At Columbia, he is on the Advisory boards of the Center for Science and Society (CSS) and the Presidential Scholars in Society and Neuroscience –both centers for interdisciplinary work between the sciences and the humanities. His book on the workings of science for a general audience called Ignorance, How it Drives Science was released by Oxford University Press in 2012. His new book, Failure: Why Science is So Successful, appeared in October 2015. They have been translated into 10 languages.

    Stuart Firestein is a member of the Presidential Scholars in Society and Neuroscience Advisory Committee and a former faculty mentor of Ann-Sophie Barwich (2015-18).

  • Sarah Woolley is a professor of psychology and former chair of the Department of Psychology at Columbia University. She directs the Communication Neuroscience Laboratory in the Zuckerman Mind Brain Behavior Institute, co-directs the Center for Integrative Animal Behavior, and is a member of the Kavli Institute for Brain Science. Dr. Woolley’s research on the neuroscience of social communication focuses on songbirds to decipher the neural and behavioral mechanisms of auditory-vocal learning. Songbirds share with humans the extremely rare capacity to learn communication vocalizations from adult tutors during development. They serve as the principal animal model for understanding how the brain uses experience to develop vocal behaviors and auditory perceptual skills for social communication.

    Sarah Woolley is a member of the Presidential Scholars in Society and Neuroscience Advisory Committee and a former faculty mentor of Nori Jacoby (2016-18).

  • Rita Charon is a general internist and literary scholar who founded the field of narrative medicine. She is a professor and chair in the Department of Medical Humanities and Ethics and a professor of medicine at Columbia University's Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons. She is also executive director of Columbia Narrative Medicine. Dr. Charon's research investigates narrative medicine training, reflective practice, health care justice, and health care team effectiveness and has been supported by the NIH, the NEH, and private foundations. She has authored, co-authored, or co-edited four books on narrative medicine. Dr. Charon lectures and teaches internationally on narrative medicine and is widely published in leading medical and literary journals. 

  • Rebecca Jordan-Young is a sociomedical scientist whose research includes social epidemiology studies of HIV/AIDS, and evaluation of biological work on sex, gender and sexuality. Prior to joining the faculty at Barnard College, she was a Principal Investigator and Deputy Director of the Social Theory Core at the Center for Drug Use and HIV Research of the National Development and Research Institutes, Inc., and has been a Health Disparities Scholar sponsored by the National Institutes of Health. She teaches courses in science and technology studies, sexuality, gender theory, and HIV/AIDS. In the spring of 2008, Professor Young was a Visiting Scholar at the Cognitive Neuroscience Sector, International School for Advanced Studies (SISSA), Trieste, Italy, and a featured speaker in the FEST Trieste International Science Media Fair.

    Rebecca Jordan-Young is a member of the Presidential Scholars in Society and Neuroscience Advisory Committee.

  • Raphaël Millière is a philosopher interested in the philosophy of mind and the philosophy of cognitive science, with a particular focus on self-consciousness and self-representation. Raphaël received his PhD in 2020 from the University of Oxford, where he developed a pluralist account of self-consciousness grounded in novel empirical evidence collected in collaboration with neuroscientists. As a Presidential Scholar, he will use virtual reality to investigate theoretical and empirical questions regarding spatial self-representation. Raphaël is the 2020 Robert A. Burt Presidential Scholar in Society and Neuroscience.

  • Raphael Gerraty is a neuroscientist interested in computational and philosophical models of representation in the brain. He received his PhD in psychology at Columbia in 2018, where he researched the role of large-scale brain network dynamics in reward learning. His current work is focused on whether and how our brains might make use of probability to represent uncertainty. He is developing artificial neural network models of our visual system which use probabilistic inference to solve object recognition tasks. In parallel, he is working towards an interdisciplinary framework for thinking about neural representation, with a particular focus on the representation of uncertainty. 

  • Philip Kitcher received his B.A. from Cambridge University and his Ph.D. from Princeton. He has taught at several American Universities and is currently John Dewey Professor of Philosophy at Columbia University. He is the author of books on topics ranging from the philosophy of mathematics, the philosophy of biology, the growth of science, the role of science in society, naturalistic ethics, pragmatism, Wagner’s Ring, Joyce’s Finnegans Wake, and Mann’s Death in Venice. He has been President of the American Philosophical Association (Pacific Division) and Editor-in-Chief of Philosophy of Science. A Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, he was also the first recipient of the Prometheus Prize, awarded by the American Philosophical Association for work in expanding the frontiers of Science and Philosophy. He has been named a “Friend of Darwin” by the National Committee on Science Education and received a Lannan Foundation Notable Book Award for Living With Darwin. He has been a Fellow at the Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin, where he was partially supported by a prize from the Humboldt Foundation, and in the autumn of 2015 he was the Daimler Fellow at the American Academy in Berlin. His most recent books are Life After Faith: The Case for Secular Humanism (Yale University Press, 2014), and The Seasons Alter: How to Save our Planet in Six Acts, co-authored with Evelyn Fox Keller, (W.W. Norton, 2017). He is currently at work on a systematic version of Deweyan pragmatism, tentatively entitled Progress, Truth, and Values.

    Philip Kitcher is a member of the Presidential Scholars in Society and Neuroscience Advisory Committee.

  • Peter Bearman is the Jonathan R. Cole Professor of Sociology, director of the Interdisciplinary Center for Innovative Theories and Empirics (INCITE), co-director of the Health & Society Scholars Program, and president of the American Assembly, all at Columbia University.

    A recipient of the NIH Director's Pioneer Award in 2007, Bearman is currently investigating the social determinants of the autism epidemic. A specialist in network analysis, he co-designed the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health. He has also conducted research in historical sociology, including Relations into Rhetorics: Local Elite Social Structure in Norfolk, England, 1540-1640 (Rutgers University Press, 1993). He is the author of Doormen (University of Chicago Press, 2005). He is an editor of The Oxford Handbook of Analytical Sociology (Oxford University Press, 2009) and, together with Peter Hedstrom, edits a series on analytical sociology at the Princeton University Press. He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the National Academy of Science.


  • Paul Sajda is Professor of Biomedical Engineering, Electrical Engineering and Radiology (Physics) at Columbia University. He is also a Member of Columbia’s Data Science Institute. Sajda is interested in what happens in our brains when we make a rapid decision and, conversely, what processes and representations in our brains drive our underlying preferences and choices, particularly when we are under time pressure. His work in understanding the basic principles of rapid decision-making in the human brain relies on measuring human subject behavior simultaneously with cognitive and physiological state. Important in his approach is his use of machine learning and data analytics to fuse these measurements for predicting behavior and infer brain responses to stimuli. Sajda applies the basic principles he uncovers to construct real-time brain-computer interfaces that are aimed at improving interactions between humans and machines. He is also applying his methodology to understand how deficits in rapid decision-making may underlie and be diagnostic of many types of psychiatric diseases and mental illnesses.

    Of particular interest to Sajda is how different areas in the human brain interact to change our arousal state and modulate our decision-making. Specifically, he is using simultaneous EEG and fMRI together with pupillometry to identify and track spatiotemporal interactions between the anterior cingulate cortex, dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, and subcortical nuclei such as the locus coeruleus. He has found that the dynamics of these interactions are altered under stress, particularly when dealing with high-pressure decisions with critical performance boundaries. These findings are being transitioned to applications ranging from tracking pilot cognitive state while operating fighter aircraft to identifying biomarkers of healthy thought patterns in patients being treated for major depressive disorder and/or complicated grief. Sajda is a co-founder of several neurotechnology companies and works closely with a range of scientists and engineers, including neuroscientists, psychologists, computer scientists, and clinicians. 

    Sajda received a BS in electrical engineering from MIT in 1989 and an MSE and Ph.D. in bioengineering from the University of Pennsylvania, in 1992 and 1994, respectively. He is a fellow of the IEEE, AMBIE, and AAAS. He is also the Chair of the IEEE Brain Initiative.

    Paul Sajda is a member of the Presidential Scholars in Society and Neuroscience Advisory Committee and a former faculty mentor of Andrew Goldman (2015-18). 

  • Paul S. Appelbaum is the Elizabeth K. Dollard Professor of Psychiatry, Medicine, and Law and director of the Division of Psychiatry, Law, and Ethics in the Department of Psychiatry at Columbia’s College of Physicians and Surgeons. He is also a research psychiatrist at the NY State Psychiatric Institute and an affiliated faculty member at Columbia Law School. He directs Columbia’s Center for Research on Ethical, Legal, and Social Implications of Psychiatric, Neurologic, and Behavioral Genetics and heads the Clinical Research Ethics Core for Columbia’s Clinical and Translational Science Award program. He is the author of many articles and books on law and ethics in clinical practice and research, including four that were awarded the Manfred S. Guttmacher Award from the American Psychiatric Association and the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law.

    Dr. Appelbaum is a former president of the American Psychiatric Association (APA) and the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law. He has twice served as chair of the APA Council on Psychiatry and Law and the APA Committee on Judicial Action, and now chairs the APA’s DSM Steering Committee. He was a member of the MacArthur Foundation Research Network on Mental Health and the Law and the Research Network on Mandatory Outpatient Treatment. He is currently a Network on Law and Neuroscience scholar. Dr. Appelbaum has received the APA’s Isaac Ray Award for "outstanding contributions to forensic psychiatry and the psychiatric aspects of jurisprudence," was the Fritz Redlich fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, and has been elected to the National Academy of Medicine. 

    Dr. Appelbaum is a graduate of Columbia College. He received his MD from Harvard Medical School and completed his residency in psychiatry at the Massachusetts Mental Health Center/Harvard Medical School in Boston. 

  • Pamela H. Smith (Chair, on leave 2019-20) is the Seth Low Professor of History at Columbia University and founding director of the Center for Science and Society. At Columbia, she teaches history of early modern Europe and the history of science. She is the author of The Business of Alchemy: Science and Culture in the Holy Roman Empire (Princeton, 1994; 1995 Pfizer Prize), and The Body of the Artisan: Art and Experience in the Scientific Revolution (Chicago, 2004; 2005 Leo Gershoy Prize). Her work on alchemy, artisans, and the making of vernacular and scientific knowledge has been supported by fellowships at the Wissenschafts-Kolleg, as a Guggenheim fellow, a Getty scholar, a Samuel Kress fellow at the Center for the Advanced Study of the Visual Arts in Washington, DC, and by the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Andrew Mellon Foundation, and the National Science Foundation.

  • 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. Dr. Jacoby currently leads the Research Group in Computational Auditory Perception at the Max Planck Institute for Empirical Aesthetics in Frankfurt, Germany. 

  • 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.

  • Nim Tottenham is a professor of psychology in the Department of Psychology at Columbia University and director of the Developmental Affective Neuroscience Laboratory. Her research examines brain development underlying emotional behavior in humans. Her research has highlighted fundamental changes in brain circuitry across development and the powerful role that early experiences, such as caregiving and stress, have on the construction of these circuits.

    Nim Tottenham is a member of the Presidential Scholars in Society and Neuroscience Advisory Committee.

  • Nikolaus Kriegeskorte is a computational neuroscientist who studies how our brains enable us to see and understand the world around us. He received his PhD in cognitive neuroscience from Maastricht University, held postdoctoral positions at the Center for Magnetic Resonance Research at the University of Minnesota and the U.S. National Institute of Mental Health in Bethesda, and was a program leader at the Medical Research Council Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit at the University of Cambridge. Dr. Kriegeskorte is a professor at Columbia University, affiliated with the Departments of Psychology and Neuroscience. He is a principal investigator and director of cognitive imaging at Columbia’s Zuckerman Institute. Dr. Kriegeskorte is a co-founder of the Cognitive Computational Neuroscience conference, which had its inaugural meeting in September 2017 at Columbia University.

  • Niall Bolger is a professor and former chair in the Department of Psychology at Columbia University. He has three primary research interests. Professor Bolger studies adjustment processes in close relationships using intensive longitudinal methods of experience, emotions, and physiology in daily life and laboratory studies of dyadic interaction. He also explores personality processes as they emerge in patterns of behaviors, emotions, and physiology in everyday life. His third research interest is in statistical methods for analyzing longitudinal and multilevel data. He teaches courses in linear and mixed models, experimental and observational research designs, and longitudinal data analysis. 

    Professor Bolger is a fellow of the Association for Psychological Science, the Society of Experimental Social Psychology, and the Society of Personality and Social Psychology. He recently received the Methodological Innovator Award of the Society of Personality and Social Psychology for career contributions to bridging statistical methods and substantive research. He has served on the Social and Group Processes grant review panel of the National Institute of Mental Health and as associate editor of the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology: Interpersonal Relations and Group Processes.

  • Nabila El-Bassel is a University Professor at the Columbia University School of Social Work and director of the Social Intervention Group, which was established in 1990 as a multidisciplinary center focusing on developing and testing effective prevention and intervention approaches to HIV, drug abuse, and gender-based violence and disseminating them to local, national, and global communities.

    El-Bassel has designed and tested several cutting-edge multilevel HIV and drug abuse prevention and intervention models for women, men, and couples in many types of locations, such as drug treatment and harm reduction programs, primary health care offices, and criminal justice settings.  She is the principal investigator on the NIDA HeaLing Community Study in New York State. She also has extensively studied the intersecting epidemics of HIV and violence against women and has designed interventions that address these co-occurring problems on reducing the opioid epidemic.  

    El-Bassel is also director of the Columbia University Global Health Research Center of Central Asia, with main offices in New York City and Almaty, Kazakhstan. She leads a team of prominent faculty, scientists, researchers, and students who are committed to advancing solutions to health and social issues in Central Asia through research, education, training, policy analyses and disseminating their findings. El-Bassel has published extensively and made a significant scientific contribution to the fields of HIV, addictions, and gender-based violence. Her research has been widely cited around the globe.

  • Michael Woodford is the John Bates Clark Professor of Political Economy at Columbia University. His first academic appointment was at Columbia in 1984, after which he held positions at the University of Chicago and Princeton University, before returning to Columbia in 2004. He received his A.B. from the University of Chicago, his J.D. from Yale Law School, and his Ph.D. in economics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He has been a MacArthur Fellow and a Guggenheim Fellow, and is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, as well as a Fellow of the Econometric Society, a research associate of the National Bureau of Economic Research (Cambridge, Mass.), and a research fellow of the Centre for Economic Policy Research (London). Woodford’s primary research interests are in macroeconomic theory and monetary policy.

    Michael Woodford is a member of the Presidential Scholars in Society and Neuroscience Advisory Committee and a former faculty mentor of David Barack (2015-18).

  • Michael Shadlen is an Investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Research Institute and Professor of Neuroscience at Columbia University. He is a member of the Mortimer B. Zuckerman Mind Brain Behavior Institute and the Kavli Institute of Brain Science. Dr. Shadlen obtained his undergraduate and medical degrees at Brown University, his Ph.D. at UC Berkeley with Ralph Freeman. He trained in clinical neurology at Stanford University before returning to the lab as a postdoctoral fellow with William T. Newsome. He then joined the Department of Physiology & Biophysics at the University of Washington, where he remained until 2012. His research focuses primarily on the neural mechanisms that underlie decision making. He is also a neurologist and a jazz guitarist. He received the Alden Spencer Prize (2009), the Golden Brain (2012), and the Karl Spencer Lashley Award (2017). He was elected Fellow of the AAAS and he is a member of the National Academy of Medicine.

    Michael Shadlen studies neurons in the association cortex that process information from the visual cortex to give rise to interpretations, decisions, and plans for behavior. His experiments combine electrophysiology, behavioral and computational methods to advance our knowledge of higher brain function.

    Research in the Shadlen lab aims to elucidate neural mechanisms that support normal cognitive operations involved in decision making: (i) inference from evidence, (ii) the tradeoff between decision speed and accuracy, (iii) the assignment of confidence in a decision, and (iv) the capacity to combine and weigh evidence of varying degrees of reliability. Our emerging understanding of these mechanisms provides a window on wider aspects of higher brain function, such as reasoning, planning, strategizing and vacillating.  Shadlen believes that such mechanisms hold the secret to what makes a normal brain “not confused.” Moreover, these same mechanisms are likely to constitute important “failure modes” that underlie a variety of cognitive disorders—that is, the translation of a diverse array of etiologies to the expression of cognitive dysfunction. Thus, he expects that in the not too distant future we may manipulate and restore these basic mechanisms to treat brain disorders affecting a wide range of higher cognitive functions affecting personality, ideation, volition, awareness and decision making.

    Michael Shadlen is a member of the Presidential Scholars in Society and Neuroscience Advisory Committee.

  • Michael E. Goldberg is the David Mahoney Professor of Brain and Behavior in the Departments of Neuroscience, Neurology, Psychiatry, and Ophthalmology at the Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons, and a member of the Zuckerman Institute for Mind, Brain, and Behavior and the Kavli Institute for Neuroscience at Columbia. He is a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Medical School. He came to Columbia in 2001 after a long career at the Laboratory of Sensorimotor Research of the National Eye Institute.

    He is a pioneer in the technique of using single neuron recording in awake, behaving monkeys to understand the physiology of cognition. He has made major contributions to our understanding of the mechanisms underlying cognitive processes such as attention and spatial perception. Among his many honors are election as a member of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States, a fellow of both the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Association of the Advancement of Science, the Heller Lecture for Computational Neuroscience of the Hebrew University, Jerusalem, Israel and the Patricia Goldman-Rakic Award for Cognitive Neuroscience of the Brain and Behavior Research Foundation. He is a past president of the Society for Neuroscience, the world’s premier association for neuroscientists, with over 40,000 members.  In addition to his scientific work, he is an active clinical neurologist at the Columbia Campus of the New York Presbyterian Hospital and the 2006 awardee of the Lewis B. Rowland Award for the Teaching of Clinical Neurology at Columbia University.  

    Michael E. Goldberg is a member of the Presidential Scholars in Society and Neuroscience Steering Committee.

  • Melinda Miller is the Associate Director of The Center for Science and Society and Presidential Scholars in Society and Neuroscience program, where she oversees the development and administration of the Center and its research clusters, Scholars, grant programs, activities, and events. Melinda received a PhD in life sciences (neuroscience concentration) from The Rockefeller University and a BS in neural science and psychology from New York University. Her research examined individual differences in the brain and behavior in response to stress, which she studied in both animal models and human populations. Prior to joining Columbia University in 2015, she worked as a senior program manager at the New York Academy of Sciences, where she helped develop, organize, and raise funds for scientific conferences and cross-disciplinary public events.

  • 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 2019 Robert A. Burt Presidential Scholar in Society and Neuroscience.

  • 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).

    Matteo concluded his tenure as a Presidential Scholar in 2019. He is now the scientific multimedia producer at Columbia University's Zuckerman Institute, where he makes the latest neuroscience research more accessible to the wider public, with illustrations, animations, and other visuals.

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

  • Mark Hansen joined Columbia Journalism School in July of 2012. He has held appointments in the Department of Statistics, the Department of Design Media Arts and the Department of Electrical Engineering at UCLA and was a Co-PI for the Center for Embedded Networked Sensing. Hansen works with data in an essentially journalistic practice, crafting stories through algorithm, computation, and visualization. In addition to his technical work, Hansen also has an active art practice involving the presentation of data for the public. His work with Ben Rubin at EAR Studio has been exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Whitney Museum, the Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, the London Science Museum, the Cartier Foundation in Paris, and the lobby of the New York Times building (permanent display) in Manhattan. Hansen holds a Ph.D. and MA in Statistics from the University of California, Berkeley and a BS in Applied Math from the University of California, Davis.

    Mark Hansen is a member of the Presidential Scholars in Society and Neuroscience Advisory Committee.

  • Mark Dean is an associate professor in the Department of Economics at Columbia University. He is also an associate director at the Columbia Experimental Laboratory in the Social Sciences (CELSS) and a member of the Cognition and Decision Lab. 

    Dean received his PhD in economics from New York University, where he was fortunate enough to be advised by neuroscientists as well as economists. Subsequently, Dean has worked largely in the field of behavioral economics, using tools from decision theory and experimental economics to devise and conduct robust tests of behavioral economic models. His most recent work is in the area of 'rational inattention,' which aims to understand how people allocate scarce cognitive resources when making economic choices.

  • Mariusz Kozak is an associate professor of music at Columbia University, joining the department in 2013. His research focuses on the emergence of musical meaning in contemporary art music, the development and cognitive bases of musical experience, and the phenomenology of bodily interactions in musical behavior. In his work, he bridges experimental approaches from embodied cognition with phenomenology and music analysis, in particular using motion-capture technology to study the movements of performers and listeners. His articles have appeared in Music Theory Spectrum and Music Theory Online, among others. He is the author of Enacting Musical Time: The Bodily Experience of New Music (2019), in which he examines how listeners' understanding and experience of musical time are shaped by bodily actions and gestures.

  • Malia Mason, Gantcher Associate Professor of Business Management, studies how competing motives shape people’s judgments, choices, and behaviors, and the implications for interpersonal interaction and work performance more generally. She teaches the Managerial Negotiations course (B7510) in the MBA and EMBA programs at Columbia Business School, and Leadership in Organizations (W3703) to undergraduates at Columbia College. She occasionally teaches the Research Methods (B9708) course in the Ph.D. program at Columbia Business School. Prior to joining the Columbia University faculty in 2007 as an Assistant Professor, Dr. Mason worked as a Post Doctoral Fellow in Moshe Bar’s lab at the Martinos Brain Imaging Center at Harvard University Medical School. She received her Ph.D. in Psychology from Dartmouth College in 2005 under the tutelage of C. Neil Macrae. She received a B.A. in Psychology from Rice University in 2000. Before pursuing a Ph.D., she worked as a consultant.

    Malia Mason is a member of the Presidential Scholars in Society and Neuroscience Advisory Committee.

  • Larry Abbott is the William Bloor Professor of Theoretical Neuroscience, professor of physiology and cellular biophysics, and principal investigator at Columbia' Zuckerman Institute. He is also a senior fellow at the Janelia Research Campus. 

    Abbott uses computational modeling and mathematical analysis to study neurons and neural networks. His work draws on analytical techniques and computer simulation to explore how single neurons respond to synaptic inputs, how neurons interact in neural circuits, and how large networks of neurons process, represent and store information. 

    Before his work in theoretical neuroscience, Abbott worked as an electrical engineer and then a theoretical particle physicist. He studied physics at Oberlin College and has a PhD in physics from Brandeis University, with postdoctoral work at the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center and CERN. At Janelia, Abbott continues his theoretical studies including work on hippocampal place cells.

  • 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. Dr. Li is an assistant professor in the Department of History and the Medical Humanities Program at Rice University. 

  • Kevin Ochsner is a professor of psychology and the 2019-20 chair of the Department of Psychology at Columbia University. He also directs the Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience (SCAN) Lab, which studies how emotion, self-control, and social behavior play key roles in human behavior and experience. Kevin received a Ph.D. in psychology from Harvard University and postdoctoral training at Stanford University. He is a recipient of the Young Investigator Award from the Cognitive Neuroscience Society, Columbia University’s Lenfest Distinguished Faculty Award, and the APA New Investigator Award. His research has been funded by grants from private and public institutions, including five different NIH institutes. Kevin also helped found the Social and Affective Neuroscience Society (SANS) and is a past president of the Society for Affective Science.

  • 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. Hyland Bruno explores how patterns of communication among individuals influence social organization.

  • Jozef Sulik is the senior project manager for the Presidential Scholars in Society and Neuroscience program at the Center for Science and Society. Jozef works closely with the Presidential Scholars and provides administrative support for their interdisciplinary research projects. In addition, Jozef handles event logistics for the Seminars in Society and Neuroscience series and manages financial transactions and budgets for the program. Before joining the Presidential Scholars in Society and Neuroscience program, Jozef worked in the Office of Undergraduate Research and Fellowships at Harvard College and spent several years working as an agent in talent management in the UK. Jozef received his BA in government from Harvard University Extension School. 

  • John Morrison is an associate professor of philosophy at Barnard College. He is also an affiliate of Columbia University’s Zuckerman Institute and a member of its Center for Theoretical Neuroscience. John Morrison is currently working on two projects. The first is about the best way to understand the brain. In particular, he would like to identify general principles for attributing representations and inferences to it, especially when those representations and inferences involve probabilities. The second project is about the foundations of Spinoza's metaphysics. He hopes to unravel Spinoza's claims about minds, bodies, God, and their essences.

  • Jeremy K. Kessler, Associate Professor of Law, is a legal historian whose scholarship focuses on First Amendment law, administrative law, and constitutional law generally. He joined the Columbia Law School faculty in 2015 and is co-director of Columbia University's 20th Century Politics and Society Workshop and Columbia Law School's Legal History Workshop. He also serves on the ABA’s Committee on the History of Administrative Law. Kessler’s forthcoming book, Fortress of Liberty: The Rise and Fall of the Draft and the Remaking of American Law (Harvard), explores how the contested development of the military draft transformed the relationship between civil liberties law and the American administrative state. His articles on First Amendment law, administrative law, constitutional theory, and American legal history have appeared in the Harvard Law Review, the Columbia Law Review, the University of Chicago Law Review, and the Texas Law Review, among other publications. Prior to joining Columbia, Kessler clerked for Judge Pierre N. Leval of the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Kessler received his J.D. from Yale Law School, where he was a Legal History Fellow and the executive editor of the Yale Journal of Law and the Humanities. He earned an M.Phil. in the history and philosophy of science from the University of Cambridge and a B.A. from Yale College, summa cum laude.

    Jeremy K. Kessler is a member of the Presidential Scholars in Society and Neuroscience Advisory Committee.

  • Jennifer Manly is a professor of neuropsychology in the Department of Neurology, the Gertrude H. Sergievsky Center, and the Taub Institute for Research on Alzheimer's Disease and the Aging Brain at Columbia University. Her research focuses on mechanisms of disparities in cognitive aging and Alzheimer’s disease. She received Early Career awards from the Society for Clinical Neuropsychology and from the National Academy of Neuropsychology, received the Tony Wong Diversity Award for Outstanding Mentorship, and is an APA Fellow. She served on the Alzheimer’s Association Medical & Scientific Research Board and the HHS Advisory Council on Alzheimer's Research, Care, and Services.

    Jennifer Manly is a member of the Presidential Scholars in Society and Neuroscience Advisory Committee.

  • Jeffrey Fagan is the Isidor and Seville Sulzbacher Professor of Law at Columbia Law School and a professor of epidemiology at the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University. He is also a senior research scholar at Yale Law School, where he is a frequent visiting professor. He was the founding director of the Center for Violence Research and Prevention at the Mailman School. His research and scholarship examine policing and police reform, the legitimacy of the criminal law, capital punishment, legal socialization of adolescents, neighborhoods and crime, drug policy, and juvenile crime and punishment. His work in each of these areas has focused on the institutional and behavioral mechanisms that lead to persistent patterns of racial discrimination.

    Professor Fagan served on the National Academy of Science’s Committee on Law and Justice from 2000-2006 and spent additional two years as the Committee’s vice-chair. He has also served on two National Research Council study committees, one on family violence and one on policing. From 1996-2006, he was a member of the MacArthur Foundation's Research Network on Adolescent Development and Juvenile Justice. He is a fellow of the American Society of Criminology and served on its Executive Board for three years. He is a former editor of the Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency and serves on the editorial boards of several journals in criminology and law. He was an expert consultant to the U.S. Department of Justice in its investigation of the Ferguson (Missouri) Police Department. He is currently a consultant and an expert witness on capital punishment to the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.

    Jeffrey Fagan is a faculty mentor of Federica Coppola (2017-20).

  • Jeffrey A. Lieberman, MD, is the Lawrence C. Kolb Professor and Chairman, Department of Psychiatry, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons; Director, New York State Psychiatric Institute; and Psychiatrist-in-Chief, Columbia University Medical Center of the New York-Presbyterian Hospital. Dr. Lieberman’s work has advanced the understanding of the natural history and pathophysiology of schizophrenia and the pharmacology and clinical effectiveness of antipsychotic drugs.

    He is the recipient of many national and international honors and awards, including the Lieber Prize for Schizophrenia Research from the National Association for Research in Schizophrenia and Affective Disorders, the Adolph Meyer Award from the American Psychiatric Association, the Research Award from the National Alliance on Mental Illness, and the Neuroscience Award from the International College of Neuropsychopharmacology.

    He is a member of numerous scientific organizations, including the National Academy of Sciences Institute of Medicine. He has authored more than 500 papers and articles published in the scientific literature and written and/or edited ten books on mental illness, psychopharmacology, and psychiatry. In May 2012, Dr. Lieberman was installed as President-elect of the American Psychiatric Association (APA) and served as APA President from May 2013 to May 2014.

    Jeffrey A. Lieberman is a member of the Presidential Scholars in Society and Neuroscience Advisory Committee.

  • Jacqueline Gottlieb is a professor of neuroscience, a principal investigator at the Zuckerman Institute, and a member of the Kavli Institute for Neuroscience, all at Columbia University. She came to Columbia in 2001 after completing her undergraduate education at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, her PhD at Yale University, and her postdoctoral training at the National Institutes of Health. 

    Dr. Gottlieb studies the mechanisms of attention and their relationship with learning and decision making in humans and non-human primates. She pioneered studies of attention as information demand and is the founder and director of the Research Cluster on Curiosity at Columbia University’s Center for Science and Society

    Jacqueline Gottlieb is a member of the Presidential Scholars in Society and Neuroscience Advisory Committee. 

  • Gil Eyal is a professor of sociology at Columbia University. He works in a broad field that encompasses sociological research on science, medicine, professions, intellectuals, and knowledge, especially as these intersect with political and legal institutions. Eyal calls it the 'sociology of expertise,' because this term does not prejudge who or what is included within the field, and because it focuses attention not only on who is considered an expert but also on what is involved in the expert performance of a task. He developed this approach to expertise in a 2013 American Journal of Sociology article titled "For a Sociology of Expertise: The Social Origins of the Autism Epidemic,” which summarized and extended the argument of an earlier book, The Autism Matrix (Polity, 2010).

    Eyal is currently interested in understanding the causes and dimensions of the contemporary mistrust of experts. His forthcoming book, The Crisis of Expertise (Polity 2019), argues that what we are witnessing now are symptoms of a recursive crisis in which the increasing scientization of politics leads to the politicization of science, and vice-versa. In future years, he will be co-directing a Mellon Seminar on “Trust and Mistrust of Science and Experts” aiming to involve a broad group of scholars, scientists and members of the public to take stock of the current crisis and how it may be mitigated.

    In another line of work, Gil Eyal explores the intersection of basic science and medical practice, especially as they are transformed by what is now called 'precision medicine.' Eyal co-directs Columbia’s Precision Medicine and Society Program, which fosters conversations and supports research on the social, economic, legal, and ethical dimensions of precision medicine. He is also involved in a collaborative research project that aims to map the different socio-technical strategies encompassed under the rubric of precision medicine by analyzing the various ways in which imprecision is problematized in a large dataset composed of NCI grant proposals.

  • Geraldine Downey is the Robert Johnston Niven Professor of Humane Letters in Psychology and director of the Center for Justice, both at Columbia University. 

    Downey's primary interest is the study of personal and status-based rejection. In her current work, she is investigating people's expectations of rejection and their impact on the perception of other people's behavior, in anticipation of and following social encounters. Her work has focused on the personality disposition of rejection sensitivity (RS) and on its association with responses to rejection as well as efforts made to prevent it. This line of work has led her to study sensitivity to rejection based on personal, unique characteristics, as well as sensitivity to rejection based on group characteristics such as race and gender. She has sought to investigate the effect of rejection sensitivity on people's behavior by utilizing various techniques, including established social cognition paradigms, experimental studies, physiological recordings, brain imaging, and diary studies. Recently, Downey has been using the knowledge acquired from her research on rejection to develop models of personality and attachment disorders. She is also interested in the study of identity, focusing on how individuals use their multiple social identities strategically to cope with daily stressors.

  • George Lewis is the Edwin H. Case Professor of American Music at Columbia University and Area Chair in Composition. A Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and a Corresponding Fellow of the British Academy, Lewis’s other honors include a MacArthur Fellowship (2002), a Guggenheim Fellowship (2015), a United States Artists Walker Fellowship (2011), an Alpert Award in the Arts (1999), and fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts.  

    Lewis studied composition with Muhal Richard Abrams at the AACM School of Music, and trombone with Dean Hey. A member of the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM) since 1971, Lewis's work in electronic and computer music, computer-based multimedia installations, and notated and improvisative forms is documented on more than 150 recordings. His work has been presented by the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, London Philharmonia Orchestra, Radio-Sinfonieorchester Stuttgart, Mivos Quartet, Boston Modern Orchestra Project, London Sinfonietta, Spektral Quartet, Talea Ensemble, Dinosaur Annex, Ensemble Pamplemousse, Wet Ink, Ensemble Erik Satie, Eco Ensemble, and others, with commissions from American Composers Orchestra, International Contemporary Ensemble, Harvestworks, Ensemble Either/Or, Orkestra Futura, Turning Point Ensemble, San Francisco Contemporary Music Players, 2010 Vancouver Cultural Olympiad, IRCAM, Glasgow Improvisers Orchestra, and others. 

    Lewis has served as Fromm Visiting Professor of Music, Harvard University; Ernest Bloch Visiting Professor of Music, University of California, Berkeley; Paul Fromm Composer in Residence, American Academy in Rome; Resident Scholar, Center for Disciplinary Innovation, University of Chicago; and CAC Fitt Artist in Residence, Brown University. Lewis received the 2012 SEAMUS Award from the Society for Electro-Acoustic Music in the United States, and his book, A Power Stronger Than Itself:  The AACM and American Experimental Music (University of Chicago Press, 2008) received the American Book Award and the American Musicological Society’s Music in American Culture Award; Lewis was elected to Honorary Membership in the Society in 2016. Lewis is the co-editor of the two-volume Oxford Handbook of Critical Improvisation Studies (2016), and his opera Afterword (2015), commissioned by the Gray Center for Arts and Inquiry at the University of Chicago, has been performed in the United States, United Kingdom, and the Czech Republic. In 2015, Lewis received the degree of Doctor of Music (DMus, honoris causa) from the University of Edinburgh. In 2017, Lewis received the degree of Doctor of Humane Letters (Ph.D., honoris causa) from New College of Florida.

    George Lewis is a member of the Presidential Scholars in Society and Neuroscience Advisory Committee, a former faculty mentor of Andrew Goldman (2015-18), and a current mentor of Julia Hyland Bruno (2018-21).

  • 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 2017 Robert A. Burt Presidential Scholar in Society and Neuroscience.

  • David Rosner is Ronald H. Lauterstein Professor of Sociomedical Sciences and Professor of History at Columbia University and Co-Director of the Center for the History of Public Health at Columbia’s Mailman School of Public Health. An elected member of the National Academy of Medicine, he received his BA from CCNY, his MPH from the University of Massachusetts, and his Ph.D. from Harvard in the History of Science. Until moving to Columbia in 1998, he was University Distinguished Professor of History at the City University of New York.

    In addition to numerous grants, he has been a Guggenheim Fellow, a recipient of a Robert Wood Johnson Investigator Award, a National Endowment for the Humanities Fellow, and a Josiah Macy Fellow. He has been awarded the Distinguished Scholar’s Prize from the City University, the Viseltear Prize for Outstanding Work in the History of Public Health from the APHA, and the Distinguished Alumnus Award from the University of Massachusetts School of Public Health. He has also been honored by the New York Committee on Occupational Safety and Health, and he and Gerald Markowitz have been awarded the Upton Sinclair Memorial Lectureship “For Outstanding Occupational Health, Safety, and Environmental Journalism by the American Industrial Hygiene Association.” He has been awarded the John McGovern Prize from Sigma Xi, the National Science Honors Society, and the “Beyond the Call of Duty” Award from the Childhood Lead Action Project. Most recently, he was awarded a prize for “Outstanding Scholarship on the History of Work and Health,” by the International Commission on Occupational Health, Scientific Committee on the History of Prevention of Occupational and Environmental Disease, and a Congressional Certificate of Appreciation from the offices of U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse. He is on numerous editorial boards including Public health Reports, Journal of Public Health Policy, and the Bulletin of the History of Medicine.

    He is an author or co-author  (with Gerald Markowitz) on eleven books including A Once Charitable Enterprise: Hospitals and Health Care in New York and Brooklyn (Cambridge University Press),  Deadly Dust: Silicosis and the On-going Struggle over Workers’ Safety and Health in 20th Century America (Princeton University Press and University of Michigan Press),  Deceit and Denial: The Deadly Politics of Industrial Pollution (University of California Press/Milbank, 2002; 2013) and edited with Susan Reverby Health Care in America: Essays in Social Medicine (Temple, 1978). His latest book is Lead Wars: The Politics of Science and the Fate of America’s Children (University of California Press/Milbank, 2013). Presently, he is writing “Building the Worlds that Kill Us: the Un-Natural History of Disease.”

    David Rosner is a member of the Presidential Scholars in Society and Neuroscience Advisory Committee.

  • David Freedberg is best known for his work on psychological responses to art, and particularly for his studies on iconoclasm and censorship (see, inter alia, Iconoclasts and their Motives, and The Power of Images: Studies in the History and Theory of Response). His more traditional art historical writing originally centered on Dutch and Flemish art. Within these fields, he specialized in the history of Dutch printmaking, and in the paintings and drawings of Bruegel and Rubens. He then turned his attention to seventeenth-century Roman art and to the paintings of Nicolas Poussin, before moving on to his recent work in the history of science and on the importance of the new cognitive neurosciences for the study of art and its history. Following a series of important discoveries in Windsor Castle, the Institut de France and the archives of the Accademia dei Lincei in Rome, he has for long been concerned with the intersection of art and science in the age of Galileo. While much of his work in this area has been published in articles and catalogues, his chief publication in this area is The Eye of the Lynx: Galileo, his Friends, and the Beginnings of Modern Natural History (2002). As Director of the Italian Academy for Advanced Studies in America, and long committed to cross-disciplinary work in the sciences, anthropology and the arts, he established the Academy’s Art and Neuroscience (later Neuroscience and Humanities) project in 2001. The aim of the project – and of its successful biannual conferences on cutting-edge topics relevant to the understanding of art, music, vision and emotion – has been not to mix fields, but to encourage critical thinking about the methodological and epistemological paradigms underlying each domain. His own work has concentrated on issues of empathy, embodiment and motor responses.

    David Freedberg is a member of the Presidential Scholars in Society and Neuroscience Advisory Committee.

  • 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. He is currently a postdoctoral research fellow in the Salzman Lab at Columbia.

  • Darcy Kelley is a professor in the Department of Biological Sciences at Columbia University. Her A.B. degree is from Barnard College and her Ph.D. is from The Rockefeller University, where she was also a postdoctoral fellow. She codirected the Neural Systems and Behavior course at the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, Massachusetts, and founded Columbia’s doctoral program in neurobiology and behavior. She is editor of the journal "Developmental Neurobiology." Her research uses the South African clawed frog, Xenopus laevis, to study the neurobiology of social communication, with the goal of determining how one brain communicates with another. Her HHMI project is a Web-based resource that will make educational materials generated in Frontiers of Science (Columbia's new interdisciplinary core course in science) freely available and will provide a platform for college science teachers to share their own teaching approaches and materials and to consult with their colleagues about educational issues.

    Darcy Kelley is a member of the Presidential Scholars in Society and Neuroscience Advisory Committee.

  • Daphna Shohamy is a professor of psychology at Columbia University, a member of the Zuckerman Mind, Brain, Behavior Institute, and of the Kavli Institute for Brain Science. Dr. Shohamy’s research combines brain imaging in healthy humans with studies of patients with brain disorders to understand how our expectations and experiences change the way memories are formed and the consequences for health and disease.

    From robots to humans, the ability to learn from experience turns a rigid response system into a flexible, adaptive one. What are the neurobiological and cognitive mechanisms that allow everyday experiences to change the way we perceive, act and make decisions? Daphna Shohamy’s research explores how different parts of the brain work together to support learning, what this means for how memories are built, and what the consequences are for how we make decisions.

  • 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 2018 Robert A. Burt Presidential Scholar in Society and Neuroscience.

  • Christopher Peacocke (Interim Chair, 2019-20) is the Johnsonian Professor of Philosophy at Columbia University. He was previously the Waynflete Professor of Metaphysical Philosophy at the University of Oxford and held a Leverhulme Personal Research Professorship. He is a fellow of the British Academy and a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He has taught at Berkeley, NYU, and UCLA and has been a fellow of the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford. He was president of the Mind Association in 1986-87. His books include Sense and Content (Oxford, 1983), Thoughts: An Essay on Content (Blackwell, 1986), A Study of Concepts (MIT, 1992), Being Known (Oxford, 1999), The Realm of Reason (Oxford, 2003), Truly Understood (Oxford, 2008), The Mirror of the World: Subjects, Consciousness, and Self-Consciousness (Oxford, 2014), and The Primacy of Metaphysics (Oxford, 2019).

  • Christopher Baldassano is an assistant professor of psychology at Columbia University. He received his PhD in computer science from Stanford University and was a postdoc at the Princeton Neuroscience Institute before joining the faculty of Columbia’s Department of Psychology. Through experiments using narratives, movies, and virtual reality, his lab investigates how experiences are divided into events, summarized, associated, and recalled. His current projects are specifically focused on how our prior knowledge about the temporal and spatial structure of the world influences our construction of mental representations.

  • Dr. Catherine Monk is a professor of medical psychology in the Department of Psychiatry and the Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology, director of research at the Women’s Program, co-director of the Domestic Violence Initiative at Columbia University Medical Center, and research scientist at the New York State Psychiatric Institute.

    Originally trained as a clinical psychologist treating children and adults in a program that emphasized the developmental bases of psychopathology, Dr. Monk completed her postdoctoral research studies in the Psychobiological Sciences at Columbia University via a NIH fellowship, joining the faculty there a year later. Dr. Monk’s research brings together the fields of perinatal psychiatry, developmental psychobiology, and neuroscience and focuses on the earliest influences on children’s developmental trajectories: those that happen in utero and the impact of early intervention on risk prevention for mental health disorders in the future children.

    Dr. Monk is internationally recognized for her contributions to the Developmental Origins of Health and Disease Research model, which relate to prenatal exposure to maternal stress and depression. In addition to shared genes and the postnatal environment, there is a third pathway for the familial inheritance of mental illness, that is, factors in the prenatal environment also play a role. Specifically, her studies have identified maternal prenatal depression effects on child outcomes, including variation in fetal behavior, placental DNA methylation, and newborn brain imaging.

    Most recently, Dr. Monk has been awarded key roles on the NIH-wide ECHO project, Environmental influences on Children’s Health Outcomes, a seven-year, nationwide effort to study early factors, including women’s prenatal psychiatric illness and trauma histories, on children’s health outcomes across 50,000 participants. She is a PI on one ECHO award, investigator on another, and elected by her peers to a two-year term to the ECHO Executive Committee.

    As of December 2018, she is commencing a 5-year NIMH R01 MPI titled “Intergenerational Transmission of Deficits in Self-Regulatory Control.” She continues to direct a NICHD-funded intervention study based on a novel protocol she and colleagues developed harnessing the child focus of the peripartum period, parenting skills, and CBT to help women at risk for depression, it is called “Preventing Postpartum Depression: A Dyadic Approach Adjunctive to Obstetric Care.” Her research has been continuously funded by the National Institutes of Health since she received her first support as a NIH ‘K’ Career Development Awardee in 2001 as well as by the March of Dimes, the Robin Hood Foundation, and Johnson & Johnson.


  • Carol Mason is Professor of Pathology & Cell Biology, Neuroscience, and Ophthalmology at Columbia College of Physicians and Surgeons, and has served on the faculty since 1987. She is a member of the Zuckerman Mind Brain Behavior Institute, where she continues to investigate mechanisms of development of the pathways from eye to the brain. At Columbia, she has served as Co-director of the Neurobiology & Behavior graduate program and the NIH-funded Vision Sciences training program, both of which serve students and faculty in various schools across Columbia’s campuses. Carol is currently Zuckerman Institute Chair of Interschool Planning, to foster faculty and student intellectual interactions, including interdisciplinary recruitment and appointments. She is a Senior Fellow of the Simons Foundation, a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and a fellow of the National Academy of Medicine. Carol was President of the Society for Neuroscience from 2013 to 2014.

    Carol Mason is a member of the Presidential Scholars in Society and Neuroscience Steering Committee.

  • Carol Becker is dean of the School of the Arts and professor of the arts at Columbia University. She is the author of The Invisible Drama: Women and the Anxiety of Change (Prentice Hall & IBD, 1987); The Subversive Imagination: Artists, Society and Social Responsibility (Routledge, 1994); Zones of Contention: Essays on Art, Institutions, Gender, and Anxiety (State University of New York Press, 1996); Surpassing the Spectacle: Global Transformations and the Changing Politics of Art (Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2002); Thinking in Place: Art, Action, and Cultural Production (Paradigm Publishers/Routledge, 2009); and Losing Helen (Red Hen Press, 2016). She has written numerous articles and travels widely to lecture about art, artists, and their place in society. 

  • Camille Robcis is an associate professor in the Department of French and Romance Philology and the Department of History at Columbia University. Her teaching and research interests have focused on three broad issues: the historical construction of norms, the intellectual production of knowledge, and the articulation of universalism and difference in modern French history. Her first book, The Law of Kinship: Anthropology, Psychoanalysis, and the Family in France was published by Cornell University Press in 2013 and won the 2013 Berkshire Conference of Women Historians Book Prize. Her second book, Disalienation: Politics, Philosophy, and Radical Psychiatry in France, traces the history of institutional psychotherapy, a movement born after WWII that advocated a radical restructuring of the asylum in an attempt to rethink and reform psychiatric care. She has received fellowships from the Penn Humanities Forum, LAPA (Princeton Law and Public Affairs), the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Institute for Advanced Study. 

    Camille Robcis is a member of the Presidential Scholars in Society and Neuroscience Advisory Committee. 

  • Ann-Sophie Barwich is a philosopher and historian of science, with a specialization in biology and chemistry. Her research examines the current and past developments in olfactory research and the epistemic, empirical, and social factors that define ongoing science in laboratories studying olfaction. She is the author of Smellosophy: What the Nose Tells the Mind (Harvard University Press, 2020). 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. She is an assistant professor at Indiana University, Bloomington, where she divides her time between the Department of History and Philosophy of Science and Medicine and the Cognitive Science Program.

  • Aniruddha Das is an associate professor of neuroscience at Columbia University, principal investigator at Columbia's Zuckerman Institute, and a member of the Kavli Institute for Brain Science. He received his PhD from Berkeley with Charles Townes, (the inventor of the maser and laser), but decided to pursue his long-standing interest in neurobiology and perception, starting with postdoctoral training with Charles Gilbert at Rockefeller University. 

    Professor Das’s lab is interested in cortical mechanisms of visual processing. They have two broad areas of research – understanding task-related anticipation in the visual cortex and analyzing the cortical basis of visual form processing. They are also actively involved in developing new recording and analysis techniques for these two research directions.

  • 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. He is currently a postdoctoral associate in the Music, Cognition, and the Brain Initiative at Western University, Canada.

  • Alessandra Casella is a professor in the Department of Economics and the Department of Political Science at Columbia University and founder and director of the Columbia Experimental Lab for Social Science (CELSS). She is a fellow of the National Bureau of Economic Research (Cambridge) and the Center for Economic Policy Research (London). She received her PhD in economics from MIT in 1989, taught at UC Berkeley before moving to Columbia in 1993, and held the position of Directeur d’ Etudes (temps partiel) at the Ecole des Hautes Etudes in Sciences Sociales (EHESS) (Paris and Marseilles) from 1996 to 2010. 

    Professor Casella's main research interests are political economy, public economics, and experimental economics. She has been the recipient of numerous fellowships: she has been a Straus fellow at the NYU Law School, a Guggenheim fellow, a member of the Institute of Advanced Studies in Princeton, and a Russell Sage fellow. Her book Storable Votes. Protecting the Minority Voice was published by Oxford University Press in 2012.

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