Carnegie Mellon University

2016 News

Researchers Map How the Brain Processes Faces From Sight to Recognition

Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences
December 26, 2016

CMU researchers used highly sophisticated brain imaging tools and computational methods to measure the real-time brain processes that convert the appearance of a face into the recognition of an individual. They are hopeful that the findings might be used in the near future to locate the exact point at which the visual perception system breaks down in different disorders and injuries. Read more

J. David Creswell To Receive Prestigious Health Psychology Early Career Award

Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences
December 2, 2016

Creswell focuses on how the mind and brain influence stress resilience and physical health. Among his many discoveries, he was the first to determine the brain mechanisms that cause stress management strategies such as mindfulness meditation and self-affirmation to work. Read more

Event: The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat

Quantam Theater
November 29, 2016

Following the Sunday, Dec. 11 screening of neurologist Oliver Sacks' play about a man with visual agnosia, CMU's Marlene Behrmann and Wayne Wu will discuss the play, the science and how it relates to their research. Read More

Study Shows How Epilepsy Drugs Block Brain's Electrical Signals

Carnegie Mellon University
November 28, 2016

A research team including CMU's Maria Kurnikova has shown how one class of epilepsy drugs blocks the spread of out-of-control electrical signals in the brain during a seizure.  Read more

Researchers Develop Way To "Fingerprint" the Brain

Carnegie Mellon University
November 15, 2016

The CMU-led team used diffusion MRI to map the brain’s structural connections and found that each person’s connections are so unique that they could identify a person based on this brain "fingerprint" with nearly perfect accuracy. The results also show that the brain’s distinctiveness changes over time, which could help researchers determine how different factors impact the brain.  Read more

BrainHub Researchers Contribute to Over 50 Posters and Presentations at Neuroscience 2016

Carnegie Mellon University
November 11, 2016

Most of the research being presented is the result of collaborations across departments at Carnegie Mellon and between Carnegie Mellon and other universities, demonstrating BrainHub’s interdisciplinary approach to answering some of the most pressing questions in neuroscience. The meeting will be held Nov. 12-16 in San Diego.  Read more

Brain "Reads" Sentences the Same in English and Portuguese

Carnegie Mellon University
November 3, 2016

An international research team led by Carnegie Mellon University has found that when the brain "reads" or decodes a sentence in English or Portuguese, its neural activation patterns are the same. The study is the first to show that different languages have similar neural signatures for describing events and scenes, and the findings can be used to improve machine translation, brain decoding across languages and, potentially, second language instruction.  Read more

Neurons to Neighborhoods Tackles Early Brain Development Research, Policy Challenges

Carnegie Mellon University
October 28, 2016

If there was one critical takeaway from CMU's first Neurons to Neighborhoods event, it was the vital role that parents, teachers and caregivers play in healthy brain development in children. Read more

"BodyWorks" uses cutting edge technology to explore the workings of the human body

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
October 13, 2016

Research by CMU's Marcel Just and Tom Mitchell is the inspiration for two new exhibits at the Carnegie Science Center. Read more

Pittsburgh bears fruits of Obama's agenda on science, technology

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
October 12, 2016

A team of researchers at Carnegie Mellon University's BrainHub is using $12 million from the federal BRAIN Initiative to reverse-engineer the mind in hopes of making us and machines smarter.  Read more

Engineer Steven Chase Receives NSF CAREER Award to Discover Neural Mechanisms of Skill Learning

College of Engineering
September 26, 2016

The award will support Chase’s research aimed at discovering the link between neural reorganization and learning a skill. His findings could impact the clinical understanding of the progression of various motor control disorders, including Parkinson’s disease and stroke, and could be used to design targeted rehabilitation programs for patients with those conditions. Read more

CMU’s BrainHub To Host First Neurons to Neighborhoods Event

September 16, 2016

BrainHub will bring some of the nation’s leading early childhood development experts together with local and state policymakers and practitioners for its first Neurons to Neighborhoods community outreach event on Friday, Sept. 30. Read more

The science of why drivers slow down for Pittsburgh tunnels

The Incline
September 16, 2016

Psychology Professor Roberta Klatzky addresses why people tend to slow down for tunnels and what can be done about it.  Read more

What Your Brain Looks Like When It Solves a Math Problem

New York Times
July 28, 2016

Solving a hairy math problem might send a shudder of exultation along your spinal cord. But scientists have historically struggled to deconstruct the exact mental alchemy that occurs when the brain successfully leaps the gap from “Say what?” to “Aha!”

Now, using an innovative combination of brain-imaging analyses, researchers have captured four fleeting stages of creative thinking in math.  Read more

Researchers Target Brain-Scanning Technology to Improve Ed. Software

Education Week
July 22, 2016

"What if we could read students' brains and see what they're thinking?” That was the question posed to a group of education reporters last week by John Anderson, a professor of psychology and computer science at Carnegie Mellon University, where a cross-disciplinary team of researchers is seeking to push the boundaries of adaptive educational software. Read more

Watching the Brain Do Math

Carnegie Mellon University
July 21, 2016

A new neuroimaging study reveals the mental stages people go through as they are solving challenging math problems. Insights from this new work may eventually be applied to the design of more effective classroom instruction – particularly in the form of improving cognitive tutors by creating models that match the brain activation and thinking patterns used to solve these problems. Read more

How Your Brain Learns Physics

Scientific American
July 19, 2016

A new study shows the brain repurposes everyday neural networks to learn high-level scientific concepts. Read more

A Marathon for the Brain

Carnegie Mellon Today
July 18, 2016

In the first NeuroHackathon at Carnegie Mellon University, graduate students uncovered an approach that could speed up the pace of brain imaging techniques, such as MRI.  Read more

Artist Captures Beauty of the Brain

Carnegie Mellon University
July 5, 2016

Greg Dunn, a trained neuroscientist, has spent hours examining nerve cells under the microscope. Within the complex networks of neuron branches, he discovered unexpected beauty. CMU’s John Pyles collaborated with Dunn on his latest project, “Self Reflected,” which will join the permanent collection at the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia. The artwork features images and data from Pyles’ own brain.  Read more

Q&A: A Scientist Explains Why Your Brain Forms False Memories

World Economic Forum
June 20, 2016

When you walk into a room, your eyes process your surroundings immediately. Refrigerator, sink, table, chairs: right, this is the kitchen. Your brain has taken data and come to a clear conclusion about the world around you, in an instant. But how does this actually happen? CMU’s Elissa Aminoff shares her insights on what computer modeling can tell us about human vision and memory.  Read more

UPMC, Pitt, CMU Collaborate on Brain Disorder Study

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
June 3, 2016

The team is putting together a study of degenerative brain disorders that have been linked to head injuries, the first project of its kind among the institutions and among the first in the country to use a novel tool in the search for treatments.  Read more

With Big Data And Little Sleep, CMU Students Work To Accelerate Pace Of Brain Mapping

May 27, 2016

Graduate students at Carnegie Mellon University have discovered a method for classifying nerve fibers that could accelerate the pace of brain-mapping projects.  Read more

Qualcomm Neurohackathon Teams Develop Solutions To Analyze Neuroscience Data

May 25, 2016

Five Carnegie Mellon University graduate student teams competed in the Qualcomm Neurohackathon to develop solutions to analyze specific neuroscience data. Team "Coin Toss" won first place for their approaches to identify the brain’s axonal connection trajectories. MRI fiber tracking has been widely used to map these trajectories, but identifying or classifying them is difficult due to the high complexity of neuroanatomy.  Read more

CMU Students Will Forgo Sleep To Hack The Brain At First Ever Neurohackathon

May 23, 2016

Graduate students at Carnegie Mellon University will spend 24 hours this week trying to “hack” the brain using big data. Alison Barth, professor of biological sciences and interim director of BrainHub, and Jay Hennig, a Ph.D. student in the Center for the Neural Basis of Cognition, discuss the upcoming event.  Read more

What’s Not Exciting About Neuroscience?

Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences
May 19, 2016

Kevin Jarbo, a Ph.D. student in the Psychology Department, explores how both risk and uncertainty interact to influence decisions, and whether people can learn to accommodate both in a way that leads to improved decision-making.  Read more

BrainHub To Host First Neurohackathon

May 16, 2016

The event is one of the first hackathons to engage computer, data and neuroscientists in using one of the hardest systems to crack: the structure of neural data and the brain. Read more

BrainHub Announces Recipients of ProSEED Funding

Carnegie Mellon University
May 1, 2016

Psychology Professor Michael J. Tarr is part of a team that will develop active machine learning algorithms to identify how the brain visually processes natural scenes.  Read more

How Our Ancient Brains Learn New Things

World Economic Forum
April 19, 2016

Research has shown our brains repurpose neural structures used in day-to-day tasks to understand much more complex concepts.  Read more

Biologist Receives Curci Foundation Grant To Investigate New Strategy for Treating Pain

Carnegie Mellon University
April 18, 2016

Fundamental Research Could Lead to Creation of Non-Addictive Alternatives to Opioids.  Read more

Where Statistics & Big Data & Your Brain Meet

93.9 The River
April 13, 2016

CMU Professor Rob Kass is the go to expert on these 3 seemingly disparate sciences.  Read more

Scientists Discover How the Brain Repurposes Itself To Learn Scientific Concepts

Carnegie Mellon University
April 12, 2016

CMU researchers have uncovered how the brain is able to acquire brand new types of ideas, and the findings could be used to improve science instruction.  Read more

Meet New BrainHub Faculty

April 11, 2016

The next BrainHub Exchange will feature recently hired faculty who will present a brief update on their research. Read more

Mapping the Brain to Build Better Machines

Quanta Magazine
April 6, 2016

Visual identification is one of many arenas where humans beat computers. We’re also better at finding relevant information in a flood of data; at solving unstructured problems; and at learning without supervision, as a baby learns about gravity when she plays with blocks. “Humans are much, much better generalists,” said Tai Sing Lee, a computer scientist and neuroscientist at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh. “We are still more flexible in thinking and can anticipate, imagine and create future events.”  Read more

Neuronal Feedback Could Change What We “See"

Carnegie Mellon University
March 29, 2016

Ever see something that isn't really there? Could your mind be playing tricks on you? The "tricks" might be your brain reacting to feedback between neurons in different parts of the visual system, according to a new study. Read more

Serenity Now: Finding Mindfulness Through Meditation

The Today Show
March 29, 2016

NBC Correspondent Jenna Bush Hager visits Carnegie Mellon University to learn how mindfulness meditation changes the brain and body to improve health.  Read more

Understanding Autism

Carnegie Mellon University
March 23, 2016

Millions of people in the United States alone have been diagnosed with some degree of autism. There is no elixir. But CMU scientists are unraveling the mystery of the condition, which could lead to significant breakthroughs in treatments. Read more

"Fastball" To Premiere in Pittsburgh

Carnegie Mellon University
March 23, 2016

The baseball documentary that celebrates the sport’s signature pitch and aims to answer the question of who threw the fastest fastball of all-time, will premiere in Pittsburgh with several screenings scheduled.

Narrated by Kevin Costner and directed by nine-time Emmy-Award winner Jonathan Hock, the film includes interviews with more than 20 Hall of Fame players, including Hank Aaron, Johnny Bench, Goose Gossage and Bob Gibson, and three CMU scientists.  Read more

Risky Thinking

Carnegie Mellon Today
March 14, 2016

There is nothing dramatic about playing it safe. Yet, too often, that’s exactly what most of us do, including Kayt Sukel, an author with a cognitive psychology background at Carnegie Mellon University. Rather than accept her ho-hum existence, she has written a book that explains the psychology and benefits of risk-taking. And, several CMU BrainHub experts weigh in.  Read more

CMU Study Explores Why We Make Mistakes

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
February 23, 2016

As advanced as the brain is, it makes its share of mistakes in how it directs our muscles to work. We drop things. We miss the waste basket. We drive the car over the curb.

One cause is brain and neural circuitry, with a delay occurring from the point of sensory perception to the muscular response, much like the pause between turning on the television and the picture appearing.  Read more

How Meditation Changes the Brain and Body

New York Times
February 18, 2016

A study published in Biological Psychiatry brings scientific thoroughness to mindfulness meditation and for the first time shows that, unlike a placebo, it can change the brains of ordinary people and potentially improve their health. Read more

CMU’s Shawn Kelly works to restore vision for those with macular degeneration

February 8, 2016

An estimated 15 million Americans are affected by macular degeneration, an irreversible condition and the leading cause of blindness in people over the age of 60.  Read more

Better Brain Imaging Could Show Computers a Smarter Way to Learn

MIT Technology Review
February 4, 2016

A new $12 million dollar project at Carnegie Mellon University could make machine learning even more powerful by uncovering ways to teach computers more efficiently while using much less data.  Read more

Neurobiological Changes Explain How Mindfulness Meditation Improves Health

Carnegie Mellon University
February 4, 2016

New CMU research provides a window into the brain changes that link mindfulness meditation with health in stressed adults. Published in Biological Psychiatry, the study shows that mindfulness meditation training, compared to relaxation training, reduces Interleukin-6, an inflammatory health biomarker, in high-stress, unemployed adults.  Read more

Carnegie Mellon Joins IARPA Project To Reverse-Engineer Brain Algorithms

Carnegie Mellon University
February 3, 2016

CMU is embarking on a five-year, $12 million research effort to make computers think more like humans.  Read more

National Academy of Sciences To Honor John R. Anderson For Revolutionizing How We Learn

Carnegie Mellon University
January 21, 2016

If the field of cognitive science is to truly understand how the mind works, researchers need to integrate the many theories about memory, language, problem-solving and other mental functions. Carnegie Mellon University’s John R. Anderson has spent decades doing this — developing a unified theory of cognition and using it to create successful cognitive-based tutors that have revolutionized education.  Read more

Call for Applications: BrainHub Postdoctoral Fellowships

Carnegie Mellon University
January 4, 2016

Call for applications for 1-year BrainHub Post-doctoral fellowship to support interdisciplinary research in brain-related science and engineering at Carnegie Mellon University. Applicants should have at least one identified advisor at Carnegie Mellon and be within 5 years of obtaining their PhD. Applications should consist of a cover letter, a 1-page description of the proposed research that indicates how the project takes advantage of faculty and resources at CMU, and a current CV. Applications must be received by February 25, 2016 for full consideration; awards will be made by late March 2016. Submit your application to Gerry Balbier.