Carnegie Mellon University

2013 News

Unreliable Responses

Carnegie Mellon University
August 5, 2013

Nathan Urban, the Dr. Frederick A. Schwertz Distinguished Professor of Life Sciences and head of the Department of Biological Sciences at CMU, is working to unlock a piece of the complex puzzle of autism. Urban has received a $250,000 grant from the Simons Foundation Autism Research Initiative to study the neuronal basis of unreliable sensory evoked responses in a model of autism. Read more

A Zombie's Brain

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
October 14, 2013

CMU's Timothy Verstynen, assistant professor of psychology at the Center for the Neural Basis of Cognition (CNBC), is engaged in science outreach that combines two of his favorite things — horror movies and brains. "My actual work looks at how the architecture of the brain gives rise to our actions and our decisions," he says. His undead "research" is all in good fun, but is also a teaching tool that capitalizes on the public's fascination with zombies. Read more

Absorbing Information

Carnegie Mellon University
September, 2013

Neuroscientists have long been striving to understand how the brain's microcircuitry makes learning easier for the young. CMU's Sandra Kuhlman and researchers from the University of California, Los Angeles and the University of California, Irvine have uncovered surprising behavior by key brain cells. Read more

Brain Gain

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
September 22, 2013

This past April, President Barack Obama announced a new research initiative "designed to revolutionize our understanding of the human brain." To that end, Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Pittsbugh have jointly fostered one of the premier neuroscience research and training programs in the world, the Center for the Neural Basis of Cognition (CNBC). The CNBC will celebrate its 20th anniversary in 2014. Read more

Brains on Trial

Carnegie Mellon University
September 6, 2013

Brain imaging has the growing ability to separate truth from lies — and may radically affect criminal justice proceedings in the future. Carnegie Mellon University's Marcel Just recently discussed how he sees brain research playing a role in courtrooms during part two of an innovative PBS series, "Brains on Trial with Alan Alda." Read more


Carnegie Mellon University

With a myriad of online video choices, which one will you click? Sophie Lebrecht thinks she knows — and with Carnegie Mellon University psychology professor Michael Tarr, she's co-founded Neon, a company built on her groundbreaking research. This research demonstrates that the brain's visual perception system guides our decisions unconsciously through the positive and negative information we automatically associate with images. Read more

Synaptic Development

Carnegie Mellon University
May 28, 2013

Students preparing for final exams might want to wait before pulling an all-night cram session — at least as far as their neurons are concerned. CMU neuroscientists have discovered a new intermediate phase in neuronal development during which repeated exposure to a stimulus shrinks synapses. The findings are published in the May 8 issue of the Journal of Neuroscience. Read more

Revolutionizing How We Learn

Carnegie Mellon University
March 11, 2013

John Anderson's research team created an intelligent computer tutor program that was so successful at teaching algebra to high school students, a spinoff company called Carnegie Learning developed the computer tutors as a commercial product. To date, more than half a million students in 2,600 schools around the U.S. have used the tutoring software. It's just one of the many ways the award-winning CMU professor is revolutionizing how we learn — and teaching his students to do the same. Read more

The Injured Brain

Carnegie Mellon University
January 14 2013

For the first time, scientists at CMU's Center for Cognitive Brain Imaging (CCBI) have used a new combination of neural imaging methods to discover exactly how the human brain adapts to injury. The research, published in Cerebral Cortex, shows that when one brain area loses functionality, a "back-up" team of secondary brain areas immediately activates, replacing not only the unavailable area but also its confederates. Read more

Troland Research Award

Carnegie Mellon University
January 7, 2013

CMU's Lori Holt has been named a 2013 winner of the National Academy of Sciences Troland Research Award for “studies advancing our understanding of the sensory and cognitive processes that are fundamental to the perception of speech.” The prestigious honor is given annually to two psychology researchers under the age of 40 to recognize extraordinary scientific achievement and to further promote empirical research on the relationship between consciousness and the physical world. Read more