Carnegie Mellon University
November 17, 2021

Sheena Josselyn to Receive the Andrew Carnegie Prize in Mind and Brain Science

By Caroline Sheedy

Ryan Scarpino

Carnegie Mellon University will award the 2021 Andrew Carnegie Prize in Mind and Brain Science to neuroscientist Sheena Josselyn of the Hospital for Sick Children and the University of Toronto. The award recognizes trailblazers in the brain and behavioral sciences and will be presented at an in person and virtual ceremony at 4:00 p.m. on December 9, 2021.

Josselyn will also give a talk, “Making Memories in Mice,” in which she will describe her lab’s work in understanding how specific neurons relate to memory.

The Carnegie Prize is sponsored by the Carnegie Corporation of New York and is awarded by CMU’s Neuroscience Institute. Barbara Shinn-Cunningham, its director, will present the prize to Josselyn.

“It is an honor to add Dr. Josselyn to the group of outstanding scientists who have received the Carnegie Prize,” Shinn-Cunningham said.

Alison Barth, the Maxwell H. and Gloria C. Connan Professor in the Life Sciences, nominated Josselyn for the award.

“Sheena has been a leader in the study of cellular correlates of memory in the mammalian brain, identifying and manipulating engram neurons based upon gene expression,” Barth said. “She was the first to identify a causal link between specific neurons and a memory trace that could regulate behavior and has made critical contributions in understanding how neurons compete to participate in the cellular ensembles that underlie memory.”

The Neuroscience Institute will also award the Carnegie Student Fellowship to Ariel Feldman, a graduate student advised by Pulkit Grover and Doug Weber. In her research, Feldman is interested in exploring how we represent our environment and ourselves within it in the brain. She said she is excited to spend time with Josselyn, an opportunity that comes with the fellowship.

“I’ve followed Dr. Josselyn’s work for a long time, and even have a selfie with her from a conference a few years ago,” Feldman said. “I am most looking forward to working with a biologist because I am interested in every part of an experiment, from design to tool development to testing in vivo.”

Previous recipients of the Carnegie Prize in Mind and Brain Science include Marina R. Picciotto, Eve Marder and Krishna V. Shenoy. The Neuroscience Institute brings together faculty and students from across CMU to conduct multidisciplinary work to advance the state of brain science.


Ariel Feldman, Sheena Josselyn and Feldman’s mentor Shayok Dutta pose for a selfie at a Society for Neuroscience Conference in 2019.