Carnegie Mellon University

Barbara Shinn-Cunningham

Barbara Shinn-Cunningham

Director, Neuroscience Institute; George A. and Helen Dunham Cowan Professor of Auditory Neuroscience, Neuroscience Institute, Psychology, Biomedical Engineering and Electrical and Computer Engineering

Research Areas

Auditory Research, Behavioral Methods, Characterization of Neural Circuits, Cognitive Neuroscience, Computational Neuroscience, Computational, Mathematical & Statistical Methods, Executive Control & Memory, Non-Invasive Brain Monitoring, Sensation & Perception, Spatial Cognition & Attention


Biomedical Engineering, Electrical and Computer Engineering, Neuroscience Institute, Psychology


Barbara Shinn-Cunningham joined Carnegie Mellon University in 2018 as the director of the Neuroscience Institute. She also holds courtesy appointments in PsychologyBiomedical Engineering, and Electrical and Computer Engineering. Before joining CMU, she spent 21 years on the faculty of Boston University. Her research combines behavioral, neuroimaging, and computational methods to understand how the brain processes sound. She has received honors from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, the Whitaker Foundation and the Vannevar Bush Fellows program. In 2019, she accepted the Helmholtz-Rayleigh Interdisciplinary Silver Medal in Psychological and Physiological Acoustics, Speech Acoustics, and Architectural Acoustics. Shinn-Cunningham received the biennial Mentorship Award from the Acoustical Society of America (ASA) and is a Fellow of the ASA and a Fellow of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineers. She is an associate member of the National Research Council and has been elected vice president of the ASA and to the governing board of the Association for Research in Otolaryngology (ARO). She currently serves as a Senior Editor for eLife and as the Treasurer/Secretary of ARO. An author of more than 200 scientific articles, she is recognized for her expertise in spatial hearing, auditory attention and sensory deficits. She has degrees in electrical engineering from Brown University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Neuroscience Institute core faculty member.