Urban Named a Top 50 Innovator by Scientific American Magazine-Mellon College of Science - Carnegie Mellon University

Tuesday, November 8, 2005

Urban Named a Top 50 Innovator by Scientific American Magazine

Nathan N. Urban, assistant professor of biological sciences in the Mellon College of Science and a member of the Center for the Neural Basis of Cognition, has been recognized as a 2005 Scientific American 50 (SA 50).

Recognized as the nation's top science magazine, Scientific American annually acknowledges people and organizations working on society's science and technology mysteries. The SA 50, a prestigious honor for those doing forward-thinking research, recognizes scientists and business and policy leaders whose innovations in science and technology set them apart from their peers.

Urban, a neuroscientist whose research involves the olfactory region of the brain, is being honored along with his lab members and outside collaborators for their research achievements in neuronal activity.

"Because synchronized activity is the basis for coding and storing information in the brain, their work has broad implications for sorting out how the brain makes the remarkable thing we call the mind," said Michael Szpir in his report in the December issue of Scientific American.

"It is a tremendous honor to be selected for the Scientific American 50," said Urban. "This work is a true interdisciplinary collaboration that indicates how the total can be more than the sum of the parts. Working with Roberto Galán, my postdoctoral research associate, and with Bard Ermentrout from the Department of Mathematics at the University of Pittsburgh has allowed us to learn a great deal while we make progress in understanding the essential features of neuronal excitability."

"We chose Nathan Urban from a large pool of neuroscience applicants with the expectation that he would do outstanding research in neuroscience," said Dr. Elizabeth Jones, department head for biological sciences. "We are very pleased that Nathan is being honored as a top 50 innovator by Scientific American."

Urban's long-term research goals center around understanding the physiological mechanisms underlying the brain's neuronal networks. These mechanisms are best understood by studying the properties of synapses, cells and circuits that are exposed to outside stimuli, such as a new scent.

More information on Nathan Urban's research can be found at http://www.cmu.edu/bio/faculty/urban.html.

By: Erin Kratt