Alison Barth (left) and Robert Kass (right) were recently named to interim director and interim co-director positions, respectively. Barth, professor of biological sciences in the Mellon College of Science, has been named interim director of BrainHub. Barth is a leader in the field of synaptic plasticity who has helped to shape the global field of neuroscience through innovations created in her lab. As the interim director, Barth will lead the initiative and its search for a permanent director. Kass, professor of statistics and machine learning, has been appointed interim co-director of the Center for the Neural Basis of Cognition (CNBC), succeeding Marlene Behrmann who has stepped down to focus on her research. Kass is one of the world’s foremost experts on using statistics in neuroscience, a key component of CMU’s approach to brain research. An academic unit within CMU’s Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences and a joint program with the University of Pittsburgh, the CNBC integrates Pitt’s strengths in neuroscience with CMU’s strengths in psychology, cognitive science, computer science, biological sciences, engineering and statistics. Find out more.
Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering Koushil Sreenath was recently invited to speak about small, unmanned aircraft systems to JASON, the independent scientific advisory group for the U.S. government. His talk was titled “Aerial Load Transportation in the 2020s — A Glimpse into the Future.” Sreenath's research interest lies at the intersection of highly dynamic robotics and applied nonlinear control. He employs feedback control to ascribe high-performance features seen in biological systems to robots. Sreenath, who holds courtesy appointments in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering and the Robotics Institute, runs the Hybrid Dynamic Robotics Lab. He won a Google Faculty Research Award last winter.
Mellon College of Science Chemistry Professor Stefan Bernhard is investigating methods for creating solar fuels, and his findings have influenced hundreds of scientists worldwide. One of his papers has been named among the top 20 most cited concepts of the past 20 years by Chemistry—A European Journal. Find out more in Carnegie Mellon Today.
Patricia Maurides, adjunct professor of art, has received the 2015 Center for the Neural Basis of Cognition (CNBC) Friend of the Year Award. Maurides frequently integrates her interests in molecular genetics and psychology by probing issues of identity and origins in her art practice. She also develops and teaches classes such as “Art and Biology,” a studio laboratory art course, “Neurophoto” and “Art and the Brain.” The award recognizes Maurides’ contributions to the Pittsburgh neuroscience community through both scientific and artistic literacy. Learn more.
Danielle Wenner, assistant professor of philosophy, contributed a piece to Daily Nous on the practice of unfair prescription drug prices by pharmaceutical companies. Wenner wrote about how fairness demands more than the absence of coercion. “The liberal political tradition lauds the principle of respect for individual autonomy and the rights of persons to engage in free transactions,” she wrote. “But absent social structures that function to ensure a sufficient baseline of well-being to all and to prevent the leveraging of monopolies over needed goods, individual autonomy and the right to freely transact are valuable only to those bargaining from the position of power.” Daily Nous is a news site for philosophers. Read more.