Advisory Board

Huda Akil

Professor of Neuroscience and Psychiatry and the co-Director of the Molecular & Behavioral Neuroscience Institute at the University of Michigan.

Professor Akil has made seminal contributions to the understanding of the brain biology of emotions, including pain, anxiety, depression, and substance abuse. She and her colleagues provided the first physiological evidence for a role of endorphins in the brain and showed that endorphins are activated by stress and cause pain inhibition. Professor Akil’s current research investigates the genetic, molecular, and neural mechanisms underlying stress, addiction, and mood disorders. She is engaged in large scale studies to discover new genes and proteins that cause vulnerability to major depression and bipolar illness. She is the author of over 500 original scientific papers, and has been recognized as one of the most highly cited neuroscientists by the ISI Citation Index. She currently co-chairs the Neuroscience Steering Committee at the Foundation for the National Institute of Health and serves on the Council of the Institute of Medicine of the US National Academy of Sciences.

Margaret Anderson

Professor Emerita at Smith College where she is currently developing materials for teaching physiology, particularly in the area of excitable cells.

She earned her Ph.D. from Stanford University and completed a post-doctoral fellowship at Harvard University.   She taught at Smith College for 40 years on topics in neuroendocrine physiology, excitable properties of muscle cells, selected areas of neurophysiology, and animal physiology. She is the author of the top selling textbook “Animal Physiology” .

Mahzarin Banaji

Professor of Social Ethics at Harvard University and the author of the new book, Blindspot: Hidden Biases of Good People.

She is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Association for Psychological Science (of which she was President). Banaji is devoted to undergraduate and graduate education, serving as Director of Undergraduate Studies at Yale, as Head Tutor at Harvard, and won Yale’s Lex Hixon Prize for Teaching Excellence. She studies unconscious thinking and feeling as they unfold in social context, relying on multiple methods including cognitive/affective behavioral measures and neuroimaging (fMRI). With these, she explores the implications of her work for questions of individual responsibility and social justice in democratic societies. Her current research interests focus on the origins of social cognition and applications of implicit cognition to improve organizational practices.

Barbara Beltz

Allene Lummis Russell Professor in Neuroscience and Director of the Neuroscience Program at Wellesley College.

She graduated from Mount Holyoke College, earned her M.A. and PhD degrees from Princeton University, and pursued postdoctoral training at Harvard Medical School. Her research focuses on the production of new neurons in the adult nervous system (adult neurogenesis), and the contribution of the innate immune system to this process. Using a non-vertebrate model system, her laboratory has identified the neuronal precursor cell lineage that produces the adult-born neurons, and also has shown how environmental (e.g., day-night cycle; diet), behavioral (e.g., locomotion), and endogenous (hormones; serotonin; nitric oxide) signals result in the selective activation of neuronal and molecular pathways controlling neuronal production. Current work is exploring the origins of the 1st-generation neuronal precursors. In addition to research publications, Dr. Beltz has co-authored two books, one that focuses on approaches to laboratory training of undergraduates in neuroscience, Discovering Neurons. She is currently a Member of the Corporation, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, where she is on the Education Committee; on the Board of Scientific Counselors, Mount Desert Island Biological Laboratory; and on the editorial boards of Arthropod Structure and Development and Frontiers in Aquatic Physiology.

Silvia Bunge

Associate Professor, Vice Chair, and Head Graduate Advisor in the Department of Psychology at the University of California, Berkeley, and an Associate Professor and Executive Committee Member in the Helen Wills Neuroscience Institute.

She directs the Building Blocks of Cognition Laboratory, which draws from the fields of cognitive neuroscience, developmental psychology, and education research. Other affiliations at UC Berkeley include the Institute of Human Development and the Research in Cognition and Mathematics Education program.  Through her research and public service, Prof. Bunge seeks to promote academic readiness among children at risk for school failure. She and colleagues at UC Berkeley and the Children’s Hospital Oakland have recently established the UC Berkeley & Children’s Hospital Oakland C.H.I.L.D. Research Center. Further, CHO treats many patients with Pediatric Acquired Brain Injury (PABI). PABI is said to be the leading cause of death and disability for children and young adults in the United States (ref: Sarah Jane Brain Project). Thus, the overarching aim of this UCB-CHO partnership is to study how the course of brain development is altered, for the better or for the worse, by environmental factors and/or by early brain injury.

Guinevere Eden

Professor in the Department of Pediatrics and Director of the Center for the Study of Learning (CSL) at Georgetown University.

She graduated from University College London, received her D.Phil. in Physiology from Oxford University, and conducted her postdoctoral training at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Dr. Eden works in the area of neuroscience with a primary focus on the brain-bases of reading and the common learning disability developmental, dyslexia. For this research, she and her colleagues employ behavioral measures and brain imaging techniques such as functional and structural magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Dr. Eden and her colleagues were the first to apply fMRI to the study of dyslexia and she continues to investigate the neural representation of sensory processing and reading and how it may be different in individuals with learning disabilities or altered early sensory experience. Dr. Eden and her colleagues are currently researching how the neural bases of reading is impacted by instructions or language background and are studying the neurobiological correlates of successful reading intervention. Her work is supported by the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation. Dr. Eden has published widely, including journals such as Nature, Nature Neuroscience and Neuron, and is a frequent speaker in the US and internationally. Dr. Eden teaches students in the Interdisciplinary Program for Neuroscience (IPN). She has served as a permanent member of a standing NIH Study Section and as chair for several special emphasis panels. She is past-president of the International Dyslexia Association and serves on the editorial boards of the Annals of Dyslexia, Dyslexia, Brain and Language, Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience and Human Brain Mapping.

Mary Harrington

Tippet Professor in Life Sciences at Smith College and Past President, Faculty for Undergraduate Neuroscience.

Her research on neural systems mediating entrainment has demonstrated the importance of non-photic entrainment pathways utilizing neuropeptide Y and serotonin. These brain pathways allow exercise and novelty to impact daily sleep-wake rhythms. Recently she has shown that exercise can strengthen the circadian clock in aging animals. Currently she is investigating the role of circadian disruption in health. Circadian clocks can be found in many tissues within the body and Dr. Harrington’s laboratory is investigating if clocks in cells in the liver can communicate time of day to each other, thereby aiding in food cues synchronizing internal rhythms. Her students are investigating effects of inflammation on the sense of fatigue and will test pharmacological treatments to develop strategies for better ways to counteract chronic fatigue. Dr. Harrington has published a textbook “The Design of Experiments in Neuroscience” and won the Sherrerd Prize for Distinguished Teaching in 2007.”

Mary Hatten

Rockefeller University, investigator of how the complex cellular architecture of the mammalian brain is assembled during embryonic development.

Exploring cell differentiation and migration, her research has broad significance for human genetic studies on brain diseases. Her work on cerebellar development also could one day inform research on treatments for childhood cancers. The Hatten lab is looking into the mechanisms that control the proliferation of immature cerebellar granule cells, which are important for both development and childhood cancer. In collaboration with researchers at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Dr. Hatten discovered that the tumor suppressor genes Ink4c and p53 repress the formation of medulloblastoma, one of the most devastating childhood brain tumors. She received her Ph.D. in biochemical sciences from Princeton University in 1975 and then did her postdoctoral research in neuroscience at Harvard Medical School. She accepted a faculty position at New York University School of Medicine and remained there until she came to Rockefeller University in 1992 and was named the Frederick P. Rose Professor in 2000. Dr. Hatten received the Weil Award from the American Association of Neuropathologists in 1996. In 1991 she received the McKnight Endowment Fund for Neuroscience Investigator Award, the Javits Neuroscience Investigator Award and a Faculty Award for Women Scientists and Engineers from the National Science Foundation. Dr. Hatten is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Amishi Jha

Associate Professor of Psychology and Director of Contemplative Neuroscience, Mindfulness Research & Practice Initiative, at University of Miami.

She has a Ph.D. from the University of California-Davis, post-doctoral training in brain imaging at Duke University, and was a faculty member at the Center for Cognitive Neuroscience at the University of Pennsylvania prior to her current post. Her research focuses on the brain basis of attention, working memory, and mindfulness-based training. With grants from the US Department of Defense and several private foundations, her current projects investigate how to best promote resilience in high stress cohorts using contemplative/mind training techniques that strengthen the brain’s attention networks. She works with active duty soldiers and their spouses before they are deployed, working on the prevention on PTSD, anxiety, and depression using mindfulness training. More information can be found at She was selected as a Science and Public Leadership Fellow by PopTech, and serves on editorial review boards of Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, Frontiers in Cognitive Science, and Frontiers in Psychology. She was recently a featured speaker at The World Economic Forum in Davos.

Sabine Kastner

Professor in the Department of Psychology at the Princeton Neuroscience Institute.

She studies the neural basis of visual perception, attention, and awareness using a translational approach that combines neuroimaging in humans and monkeys, monkey physiology and studies in patients with brain lesions. A major long-term goal is to provide a neural basis for human visual attention in the framework of biased competition theory. Dr. Kastner earned an M.D. degree from the Heinrich-Heine University of Duesseldorf (Germany) and received a Ph.D degree in neurophysiology from the Georg-August University, Goettingen (Germany) after studying neural correlates of color vision with the late Otto Creutzfeldt at the Max-Planck-Institute of Biophysical Chemistry. In a series of influential studies that provided a foundation for the neural basis of human visual attention, she identified mechanisms of selective attention using functional magnetic resonance imaging operating in the human brain similar to those known from monkey physiology. She continued this line of research after joining the faculty at Princeton in 2000. Dr. Kastner serves on several editorial boards and is a Reviewing Editor for the Journal of Neuroscience and a Section Editor for Neuropsychologia. She is currently working on a book on the neural basis of human visual attention.

Helen Mayberg

Professor of Psychiatry, Neurology, and Radiology at Emory University School of Medicine, and a Dorothy C. Fuqua Chair in Psychiatric Neuroimaging and Therapeutics.

She received a B.A. in psychobiology from University of California, Los Angeles and an M.D. from University of Southern California. She is a Board Certified Neurologist, trained at the Neurological Institute of NY at Columbia University and a post-doctoral fellowship in Nuclear Medicine at the Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions. Dr. Mayberg heads a multidisciplinary depression research program dedicated to the study of brain circuits in depression and the effects of various antidepressant treatments measured using a variety of functional and structural imaging tools. The primary focus of the lab is to develop imaging and physiological based algorithms that will discriminate depressed patient subgroups and optimize treatment selection at all stages of the illness. Imaging findings provided the foundation for development and testing of deep brain stimulation (DBS) of the subcallosal cingulate region (Area 25), a novel intervention for patients with treatment resistant depression. She was recently named as one of Emory University’s “Game Changers” in recognition of her pioneering DBS research which has been heralded as a one of the first hypothesis-driven treatment strategies for a major mental illness. Clinical trials are now ongoing in both North America and Europe.

Valerie Montgomery Rice

First Female President of Morehouse School of Medicine, Renowned Infertility Specialist and Researcher.

Prior to joining MSM, she was the Director of the Center for Women’s Health Research and Professor in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Division Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility, at Meharry Medical College, Nashville TN. A prolific speaker and advocate of women’s health, Dr. Montgomery Rice has given more than 500 talks and participated in workshops and conferences throughout the world. Her acumen and the many contributions she has made as a professional in women’s health and research have earned her national and international recognition, particularly, through her unwavering commitment to eliminating disparities in women’s healthcare.

Carla Shatz

Professor of Biology and Neurobiology and Director of Bio-X at Stanford University, President of Society for Neuroscience.

She received her B.A. in Chemistry from Radcliffe College in 1969, an M.Phil. in Physiology in 1971 from University College London as a Marshall Scholar, and a Ph.D. in Neurobiology from Harvard Medical School in 1976. Dr. Shatz is a neuroscientist who has devoted her research career to understanding the dynamic interplay between genes and environment that shapes brain circuits -the very essence of our being. Her research on cellular and molecular mechanisms of how the early developing brain is transformed into adult circuitry during critical periods of development has relevance not only for treating disorders such as autism and schizophrenia, but also for understanding how the nervous and immune systems interact. Prior to Stanford, she was Chairwoman of the Department of Neurobiology at Harvard Medical School. She has received many awards and honors including election to the the National Academy of Sciences, the American Philosophical Society, the Institute of Medicine. In 2011 she was elected as a Foreign Member of the Royal Society of London. Most recently (2013), she received the Sackler Prize for Distinguished Achievement in Developmental Psychobiology and she shared the Robert J. and Claire Pasarow Foundation Award in Neuropsychiatry Research with Karl Deisseroth and Helen Mayberg.

An Zhou

Associate Professor of Neuroscience in the Department of Neurobiology at Morehouse School of Medicine.

She received her Ph.D. in physiology and biochemistry from the University of Copenhagen, followed by a postdoctoral fellowship in the Department of Neuroscience at the School of Medicine of the Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore. Dr. Zhou has devoted her career to the understanding of protein biosynthesis in live cells, especially in neuronal cells. She is interested in how neurons produce proteins with proper function, at the right time and in the right location, and how protein biosynthesis may modulate the neuronal response to various stresses. At Morehouse School of Medicine, Dr. Zhou’s research programs are dedicated to finding protein actuators of acute ischemic brain injury, i.e. in stroke – one of the most devastating neuronal disorders in humans, with very limited treatment options to date. She also investigates proteins that are neuroprotective against ischemic injury, with a goal to identify novel therapeutic targets for treating stroke and other brain disorders. Dr. Zhou directs the NeuroProteomic Laboratory at Morehouse, in which her research team uses the latest Proteomic and Bioinformatic tools to study brain proteomes under different disorder conditions.