2019 Presidential Scholars Announced

April 03, 2019

This July, the Presidential Scholars in Society and Neuroscience program will welcome its fifth 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 over 30 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, and the Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science. The new 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.

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.

Proposal Title: 

Uncertainty in Brains, Minds, and Machines: Using Philosophy and Deep Neural Networks to Understand Probabilistic Perceptual Representation

Matthew Sachs is a PhD candidate in psychology working at the Brain and Creativity Institute at the University of Southern California. He plans to use neuroimaging to capture the pathways and patterns of activity that accompany intensely emotional human experiences with music, such as the feelings of chills, pleasurable sadness, and nostalgia.

Proposal Title: 

Mapping the Rich Tapestry of Music-Evoked Emotions