Distinguished Fellows for 2015-2016

Oct 12, 15, 2015John Gabrieli

John Gabrieli is the director of the Athinoula A. Martinos Imaging Center at the McGovern Institute. He is an Investigator at the Institute, with faculty appointments in the Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences and the Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology, where is holds the Grover Hermann Professorship. He also co-directs the MIT Clinical Research Center and is Associate Director of the Athinoula A. Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging, MGH/MIT, located at Massachusetts General Hospital. Prior joining MIT, he spent 14 years at Stanford University in the Department of Psychology and Neurosciences Program. Since 1990, he has served as Visiting Professor, Department of Neurological Sciences, Rush-Presbyterian-St. Luke's Hospital and Rush Medical College. He received a Ph.D. in Behavioral Neuroscience in the MIT Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences in 1987 and B.A. in English from Yale University in 1978.

The following lectures will be held at 4:00 PM in Psychology 1312:

October 12     Prediction as a Humanitarian and Pragmatic Contribution from Human Cognitive Neuroscience

October 15     Educational Neuroscience


Nov 02, 2015Mark D'Esposito

Mark D’Esposito is Professor of Neuroscience and Psychology, and Director of the Henry H. Wheeler, Jr. Brain Imaging Center at the Helen Wills Neuroscience Institute at the University of California, Berkeley. He is also Director of the Neurorehabilitation Unit at the Northern California VA Health Care System and Adjunct Professor of Neurology at UCSF. He received his MD at SUNY Syracuse and completed a neurology residency and fellowship at Boston University. In 1993, he was appointed Assistant Professor of Neurology at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine where he remained until his arrival to UC Berkeley in 2000. His lab investigates the role of prefrontal cortex in working memory and cognitive control utilizing different experimental approaches such as functional MRI, transcranial magnetic stimulation, pharmacological interventions and behavioral studies of healthy individuals and those with neurological disorders. Dr. D’Esposito is the Editor-In-Chief of the Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, and he has received numerous awards such as the Norman Geschwind Prize in Behavioral Neurology from American Academy of Neurology and the Best Doctors in America. He has trained over 60 post-doctoral fellows and graduate students and is the Principal Investigator on several NIH, private foundation and VA-funded projects. He has authored over 275 research publications as well as six books on the topics of behavioral neurology and cognitive neuroscience.

The following lecture will be held at 4:00 PM in Psychology 1312:

November 2     The Modular Brain


Nov 23, 2015Adam Gazzaley

Adam Gazzaley obtained an M.D. and a Ph.D. in Neuroscience at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York, completed clinical residency in Neurology at the University of Pennsylvania, and postdoctoral training in cognitive neuroscience at UC Berkeley. He is now Professor in Neurology, Physiology and Psychiatry at UC San Francisco, the founding director of the Neuroscience Imaging Center, and director of the Gazzaley Lab, a cognitive neuroscience laboratory. His laboratory studies neural mechanisms of perception, attention and memory, with an emphasis on the impact of distraction and multitasking on these abilities. His unique research approach utilizes a powerful combination of human neurophysiological tools. A major accomplishment of his research has been to expand our understanding of alterations in the aging brain that lead to cognitive decline. His most recent studies explore how we can enhance our cognitive abilities via engagement with custom-designed video games, and how this can be bolstered by closed loop systems using neurofeedback and TES. Dr. Gazzaley is the founder and chief science advisor of Akili Interactive Labs, a company developing the first therapeutic video games. He also advises a dozen companies in the technology domain, including GE and Nielsen. Dr. Gazzaley has filed multiple patents based in his research, authored over 100 scientific articles, and delivered over 400 invited presentations around the world. His research and perspectives have been consistently profiled in high-impact media, such as The New York Times, New York Times Magazine, New Yorker, Wall Street Journal, TIME, Discover, Wired, PBS, NPR, CNN and NBC Nightly News. He wrote and hosted the nationally televised, PBS special “The Distracted Mind with Dr. Adam Gazzaley”. National Awards and honors for his research include the Pfizer/AFAR Innovations in Aging Award, the Ellison Foundation New Scholar Award in Aging, and the Harold Brenner Pepinsky Early Career Award in Neurobehavioral Science.

The following lecture will be held at 4:00 PM in Psychology 1312:

November 23     Technology meets Neuroscience - Changing the Future of Health and Education


Feb 08, 10, 17, 2016Patricia, Paul and Mark Churchland

Patricia Smith Churchland is UC President's Professor of Philosophy Emerita at the University of California, San Diego, where she has taught since 1984. She has also held an adjunct professorship at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies since 1989. In 2015, she was elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences. Her research focuses on the interface between neuroscience and philosophy.

Paul Churchland is Professor Emeritus at the University of California, San Diego, where he holds the Valtz Chair of Philosophy and a joint appointment with the Cognitive Science Faculty and the Institute for Neural Computation. His research interests lie in the philosophy of science, the philosophy of mind, artificial intelligence and cognitive neurobiology, epistemology, and perception.

Mark Churchland is Assistant Professor of Neuroscience and Co-director of the Grossman Center for the Statistics of Mind at Columbia University. His research takes a dynamical systems approach to understanding the neural events that drive movement.

The following lectures will be held at 4:00 PM in Psychology 1312:

February 8     Patricia Churchland: The Impact of Social Neuroscience on Moral Philosophy

February 10    Paul Churchland: Assembling a Science of Consciousness: Some Positive and Negative Lessons from the History of Science

February 17    Mark Churchland: The Neural Events Preceding Voluntary Movement


Mar 14, 2016Chris Eliasmith

Chris Eliasmith is Professor of Philosophy and Systems Design Engineering, Director of the Centre for Theoretical Neuroscience (CTN) at the University of Waterloo, and the head of the Computational Neuroscience Research Group (CNRG). He is also the Canada Research Chair in Theoretical Neuroscience and a Licensed Professional Engineer. Dr. Eliasmith’s current research focuses on integrating neural and psychological explanations of behavior, theories of meaning, and mental representation. His early philosophical work critiqued the dynamical hypothesis in cognitive science, and discussed related issues of computation and the architecture of the mind. More recently, he has written about issues related to embodiment/embeddedness, categorization, information theory, neural modeling, statistical representation, and the integration of neuroscience and psychology. He developed a general method for building large-scale, biologically detailed models of neural systems; this method has been applied to rat navigation, working memory, lamprey swimming, hemineglect, and language-based reasoning. Eliasmith has publications in Journal of Philosophy, Neural Computation, Studies in History and Philosophy of Science, Topics in Cognitive Science, Journal of Neural Engineering, and many more. In 2015, Dr. Eliasmith was given the NSERC John C. Polanyi Award for building Spaun, the world’s largest simulation of a functioning brain. In 2014, he was selected as a member of the Royal Society of Canada, College of New Scholars.

The following lectures will be held in Psychology 1312:

4:00 PM, January 20     How to Build a Brain

Noon, January 22          The Neural Engineering Framework (in association with the Cognition, Perception, and Cognitive Neuroscience colloquium)

4:00 PM, March 14        The Semantic Pointer Architecture: A Biological Theory of Cognition


Mar 28, 30, 2016
Apr 04, 2016
Jaak Panksepp

Jaak Panksepp holds the Baily Endowed Chair of Animal Well-Being Science College of Veterinary Medicine, Washington State University in Pullman, WA. Panksepp’s scientific contributions include more than 400 papers devoted to the study of basic emotional and motivational processes of the mammalian brain, including work on energy-balance regulation and sleep physiology. The work has been summarized in Affective Neuroscience: The Foundations of Human and Animal Emotions (Oxford, 1998); psychiatric implications in Textbook for Biological Psychiatry (Wiley, 2004); and a semi-popular rendition in Archaeology of Mind (Norton, 2012). His present research is devoted to the analysis of the neuroanatomical and neurochemical mechanisms of emotional behaviors (in the emerging fields of affective and social neurosciences), with a focus on understanding how various affective processes are evolutionarily organized in the brain, and looking for linkages to psychiatric disorders and drug addiction.

The following lectures will be held at 4:00 PM in Psychology 1312:

March 28     The Evolved/Primal Emotional Systems: From Animal Brains to Human Feelings—Clinical/Therapeutic Applications

March 30     The Negative Primal Emotions and Their Disorders:  From RAGE and FEAR to PANIC (Separation-Distress)

April 4          The Positive Primal SEEKING Emotions: From PLAY to LUST and CARE


Apr 18, 25, 2016
May 02, 2016
Walter Sinnott-Armstrong

Walter Sinnott-Armstrong is Chauncey Stillman Professor of Practical Ethics in the Department of Philosophy and the Kenan Institute for Ethics at Duke University. He is core faculty in the Duke Institute for Brain Sciences, the Duke Center for Cognitive Neuroscience, and the Duke Center for Interdisciplinary Decision Sciences. He serves as Resource Faculty in the Philosophy Department of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Partner Investigator at the Oxford Centre for Neuroethics, and Research Scientist with The Mind Research Network in New Mexico. He is co-chair of the Board of Officers of the American Philosophical Association and has been co-director of the MacArthur Law and Neuroscience Project. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Amherst College and his doctorate from Yale University. He has published widely on ethics (theoretical and applied as well as meta-ethics), empirical moral psychology and neuroscience, philosophy of law, epistemology, philosophy of religion, and informal logic. Most recently, he is the author of Morality Without God? and Moral Skepticisms as well as editor of Moral Psychology, volumes I-IV. His articles have appeared in a variety of philosophical, scientific, and popular journals and collections. His current work is on moral psychology and brain science as well as uses of neuroscience in legal systems. He is also working on a book that will develop a contrastivist view of freedom and responsibility.

The following lectures will be held at 4:00 PM in Psychology 1312:

Series Title: Does Neuroscience Undermine Responsibility?

April 18     Beyond Dichotomies: Degrees of Freedom and Responsibility 

April 25     Beyond Impotence: How Mental Choices Cause Physical Changes

May 2       Beyond Unified Selves: Implicit Attitudes and Mental Illnesses



May 16, 23, 2016
Jun 01, 2016
Edith Chen and Greg Miller

Edith Chen is co-director of the Foundations of Health Research Center at Northwestern University. Dr. Chen received a B.A. in history of science from Harvard University, and a Ph.D. in clinical psychology from the University of California, Los Angeles. She completed a clinical internship at Western Psychiatric Institute & Clinic, followed by a post-doctoral fellowship in health psychology at the University of Pittsburgh. Dr. Chen was an Assistant Professor at Washington University in St. Louis from 2000-2003. From 2003-2012, she was Professor of Psychology at the University of British Columbia and the Canada Research Chair in Health and Society. In 2012, Dr. Chen moved to Northwestern University, where she is now Professor of Psychology and a Faculty Fellow at the Institute for Policy Research. Her research focuses on understanding the psychosocial and psychobiological pathways that explain relationships between low socioeconomic status and physical health outcomes in childhood.

Greg Miller is co-director of Foundations of Health Research Center at Northwestern University. After receiving a Ph.D. in clinical psychology at the University of California, Los Angeles, he completed a clinical internship at Western Psychiatric Institute & Clinic, followed by a post-doctoral fellowship in health psychology at Carnegie Mellon University. Dr. Miller joined the faculty of Washington University in Saint Louis in July 2000 and after three years there, accepted his a position at the University of British Columbia, where he was Professor of Psychology until 2012. In 2012, Dr. Miller moved to Northwestern University, where is he is now Professor in the Department of Psychology and the Department of Medical Social Sciences, as well as a Faculty Fellow at the Institute for Policy Research. Dr. Miller’s research examines the behavioral and biological mechanisms through which stress affects health.

The following lectures will be held at 4:00 PM in Psychology 1312:

May 16     Edith Chen and  Greg Miller -- Understanding Health in America in the 21st Century

May 23     Greg Miller -- Childhood Origins of Health Disparities

June 1      Edith Chen -- Resilience:  Maintaining Good Health in the Face of Adversity


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