The future of neuroscience
Down the Hall title
Carnegie Mellon University has a long history with biology, computer science, artificial intelligence and cognitive psychology, a foundation that makes the university poised to revolutionize the field of neuroscience. In a virtual panel discussion hosted by CMU’s alumni association, scientists from the Neuroscience Institute explained how CMU’s strengths will drive neuroscience research into the 22nd century.

Barbara Shinn-Cunningham, director of the Neuroscience Institute and George A. and Helen Dunham Cowan Professor of Auditory Neuroscience, led the discussion. She provided a brief history of the ways that neuroscience evolved at CMU over the last twenty years.

“I came to CMU because I believe that our core intellectual strengths — machine learning computation, artificial intelligence, engineering, computer science and psychology — are exactly what the field of neuroscience needs,” Shinn-Cunningham said.

Shinn-Cunningham was joined by Lori Holt, professor of psychology; Eric Yttri, assistant professor of biology; and Jana Kainerstorfer, assistant professor of biomedical engineering. In their presentations, the researchers explained their work in cognitive neuroscience, which focuses on understanding the sophisticated processes in the brain that govern human behavior and decision making; systems neuroscience, which explores how populations of neurons interact to effect perception and action; and neurotechnology and neuroengineering, which leverage what we know about the brain to develop devices.

“One of the characteristics that makes us Tartans is our intellectual curiosity and our passion to acquire knowledge.”

~ Matt Weinstein

Matt Weinstein, associate vice president for alumni and constituent engagement, said that he is excited that the Faculty Dialogues series provides an opportunity for alumni to connect to faculty research in an online format.

“One of the characteristics that makes us Tartans is our intellectual curiosity and our passion to acquire knowledge,” Weinstein said. “This is why we bring our exceptional faculty directly to the alumni community.”

A total of 547 people watched the panel discussion live. At the time, it was the second highest attended Faculty Dialogues webinar.

■ Caroline Sheedy