CNBC logo


Center for the Neural Basis of Cognition

The CNBC is a joint venture of the University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon University. Our center leverages the strengths of the University of Pittsburgh in basic and clinical neuroscience and those of Carnegie Mellon in cognitive and computational neuroscience to support a coordinated cross-university research and educational program of international stature. In addition to our Ph.D. program in Neural Computation, we sponsor a graduate certificate program in cooperation with a wide variety of affiliated Ph.D. programs.

Within the CNBC, our over 200 world-class faculty and trainees are investigating the cognitive and neural mechanisms that give rise to biological intelligence and behavior. Research topics include affective, cognitive, linguistic, perceptual, motor and social systems in both normal and disordered populations, as well as computational neuroscience. The CNBC also promotes the translation of findings from basic research into applications for medicine, education, robotics and artificial intelligence.

Rob Kass Co-Authors 10 Simple Rules To Use Statistics Effectively

10simplerules 400x225-minUnder growing pressure to report accurate findings as they interpret increasingly larger amounts of data, researchers are finding it more important than ever to follow sound statistical practices.

For that reason, a team of statisticians including Carnegie Mellon University’s Robert E. Kass, wrote “Ten Simple Rules for Effective Statistical Practice.” Published in PLOS Computational Biology for the journal’s popular “Ten Simple Rules” series, the guidelines are designed to help the research community — particularly scientists who aren’t statistical experts or without a dedicated statistician as part of their team — understand how to avoid the pitfalls of well-intended, but inaccurate statistical reasoning.

The rules, which were made available online June 9, have received an extraordinary amount of attention so far with more than 50,000 page views within the first two weeks. Read More...

Carnegie Mellon University’s BrainHub will host its first Neurohackathon

Carnegie Mellon University’s BrainHub will host its first Neurohackathon, sponsored by Qualcomm, May 24-25. The event is one of the first hackathons to engage computer and data scientists in using one of the hardest systems to crack: the structure of neural data and the brain. More

Aryn Gittis awarded The Eberly Family Career Development Professorship in Biological Sciences

gittis.jpgAryn Gittis, assistant professor of Biological Sciences at Carnegie Mellon University and a member of the CNBC faculty, will receive the Eberly Family Career Development Professorship in Biological Sciences on May 5, 2016. The Eberly family's philanthropy has supported Carnegie Mellon and other colleges and universities through scholarships, professorships and other educational initiatives.

Established in 1993, the Eberly Family Career Development Professorship in Biological Sciences was divided into two chairs in 1997. These professorships help to recruit, retain and recognize exceptional biological sciences faculty in the Mellon College of Science.

Aryn is a neuroscientist who studies the neural circuitry of the basal ganglia, a brain system involved in movement, learning, motivation and reward.

Dysfunction of neural circuits in the basal ganglia is thought to play a role in neurological disorders such as Parkinson's disease, Huntington's disease and dystonia. Gittis' lab uses a variety of techniques including electrophysiology, optogenetics, histology and behavior to understand how these circuits affect motor control.

Fourth Andrew Carnegie Prize in Brain Sciences to be awarded to Alex Pouget.

pouget_200x250-min.jpgAlexander Pouget, a professor of neuroscience at the University of Geneva, will receive the fourth Carnegie Prize. Previous winners are Leslie Ungerleider (NIH), Ricardo Dolmetsch (Novartis Institute), and Ed Boyden (MIT). Pouget, whose work on computational neuroscience and probabilistic inference have been highly influential, will present a talk: The Probabilistic Brain. More information can be found here.

Neuronal Feedback Could Change What We "See"

Study from Carnegie Mellon Neuroscientists Could Explain Mechanism Behind Optical Illusions

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 study published in The Journal of Neuroscience by Carnegie Mellon University Assistant Professor of Biological Sciences Sandra J. Kuhlman and colleagues.

Understanding this feedback system could provide new insight into the visual system's neuronal circuitry and could have further implications for understanding how the brain interprets and understands sensory stimuli.

Many optical illusions make you see something that's not there. Take the Kanizsa triangle: when you place three Pac-Man-like wedges in the right spot, you see a triangle, even though the edges of the triangle aren't drawn. The full CMU press release is here.