HHMI announced a new slate of professors to be inducted into their Professors program. This program is specifically for faculty who are both excellent researchers and teachers; it’s nice to see the latter actually rewarded.
Here are the Professors who are most relevant to the theme of the blog; they’re all doing good stuff. Mark Goldman gave a talk at Cosyne a couple of years ago where he was making connections between neurons and ants, so you know he’s got my respect just for that.
Mathematics and computer modeling are important tools in Mark Goldman’s neuroscience research, allowing him to dissect the cellular and circuit mechanisms that enable the brain to store memories, control motor function, and carry out other complex functions. He wants to prepare future scientists to take the same quantitative approach to biology. The educational initiatives he has launched are creating new opportunities for students to develop skills that span the mathematical, computational, and biological sciences.
For Joseph Jez, science is a multidisciplinary endeavor. In his lab at Washington University in St. Louis, he combines structural biology, protein chemistry, and molecular and cellular biology to understand biochemical networks in plants and microbes. His aim is to engineer those systems to address agricultural and environmental problems. He shares that approach with his students, encouraging them to explore all available tools to find solutions to real-world problems.
Tracy Johnson is a biologist and educator who studies how cells synthesize, splice, and process RNA to regulate gene expression. Studies from her lab lay the groundwork for explaining why the splicing of genes is tightly coupled to transcription, as well as how the chromatin state of a cell influences splicing. Her findings have important implications for understanding how changes in chromatin caused by development or environmental perturbations alter gene expression via splicing changes.
In her lab at Stanford, McConnell is working to understand how neural circuits are constructed in the mammalian brain. She explores several key steps in that developmental process: how neurons are produced as the brain’s cerebral cortex develops, how new neurons are assigned their identities, and how those cells are wired together into information-processing circuits.
In his lab at Harvard University, Andrew Murray asks how organisms evolve under selective pressure and control the transmission of genetic information from generation to generation. Outside the lab, he is working to offer undergraduate students a more integrated, engaging, and accessible science education.
Aydogan Ozcan is an engineer and science educator who is passionate about interdisciplinary research—both in his own work and in the work of his students. His scientific achievements have reached across traditional outlets for engineering and into the realm of telemedicine and global health applications. Specifically, he focuses on the use of computation to create new optical microscopy, sensing, and diagnostic techniques, significantly improving existing tools for probing micro- and nano-objects while also simplifying the designs of these analysis tools.