2018 Presidential Scholars Announced

April 18, 2018

This July, the Presidential Scholars in Society and Neuroscience program will welcome its fourth cohort of Presidential Scholars. The two incoming postdoctoral scholars were selected from a highly competitive pool of more than 100 applicants from a variety of backgrounds and fields of research. Scholars were selected based on their comprehensive, multidisciplinary knowledge and novel research proposals. The selection process was a cross-disciplinary effort, with 27 faculty members participating in the proposal review and on-campus interviews from the Faculty of Arts & Sciences, Teachers College, Barnard College, Columbia University Medical Center, Mailman School of Public Health, School of Professional Studies, and Columbia Law School. Scholars will confirm at least two faculty mentors from different departments who will help to guide and support their independent research. The Scholars will also help to organize the PSSN Seminars in Society and Neuroscience series, which will start up again in the fall.

Julia Hyland Bruno, PhD, is an ethologist interested in behavioral development, in particular that of social animals -- such as songbirds, or humans -- that learn how to communicate from one another. Julia received her PhD in Biopsychology and Behavioral Neuroscience from the City University of New York in 2017, where she studied the rhythmic patterning of zebra finch vocal learning. Her research is focused on the social dynamics that interact with this developmental process.

Proposal Title: 

Learning to Improvise? Using Social Songbirds to Study Vocal Culture in the Lab

Clare McCormack, PhD, 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. Clare 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.

Proposal Title: 

Becoming a Mother in the Context of Trauma: Neuroplasticity and the Lived Experience of Women