A Letter from Barbara Shinn-Cunningham

Dear Prospective Student,

The study of the neural basis of cognition is a major growth area at the interface of several established disciplines. As Co-Director of the Center for the Neural Basis of Cognition, I want to share with you my excitement about the training opportunities available in our Center. The CNBC connects many of the strongest graduate programs at both Carnegie Mellon and the University of Pittsburgh. All CNBC faculty are affiliated with one or more programs, and all of our students pursue their PhD degree through one of these, while also taking four core CNBC courses. This structure, combining disciplinary depth with cross-disciplinary breadth, provides students with the knowledge they need to make important contributions to the brain sciences.

CNBC students have access to some of the best resources in the world for research in the brain sciences, including access to well-characterized clinical populations with a range of different types of cognitive disorders; state-of-the-art functional neuroimaging technology; modern facilities for research on non-human primates and other animals, including laboratories for single and multi-neuronal recording in awake, behaving animals; and a unique resource for using viruses as tracers to unravel the brain’s wiring diagram. In addition, students can take advantage of advanced software tools and advice or mentorship from leading groups for data analysis and computational modeling. Furthermore, our computational facilities are enhanced continually to meet the heavy demands imposed by contemporary methodologies, and CNBC students also have access to the Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center.

A spirit of collaboration is another important resource you will find at the CNBC. We emphasize interdisciplinary research and work on many large-scale collaborative projects. In addition, our current student group has established a strong sense of community. Students run the outside speaker series, hosting talks by well-known researchers in all areas of cognitive neuroscience. Also, a weekly student research seminar is held where students gather to share food for mind and body.

Individuals with the kind of training we offer are in great demand, and we have had tremendous success both recruiting excellent students and placing our graduates in outstanding positions when they have completed the program. The program currently has 160 faculty and over 180 graduate students. More than 200 PhD graduates have completed the CNBC program, with many now working in some of the best laboratories and universities across the United States and around the world. Some have already become recognized leaders in their fields. I hope you will consider joining us.


Barbara Shinn-Cunningham Signature
Barbara Shinn-Cunningham, Co-Director
Carnegie Mellon University