The 2022-2023 Amelia Peabody Scholarship has been awarded jointly to Ian Griffith and Wisam Reid. Additionally, Daniel low and Leo Zekelman, were awarded the Amelia Peabody Professional Development Award.
Ian Griffith is beginning his doctoral research under the supervision of Josh McDermott in the MIT Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences. Computational models capable of human-like speech recognition have the potential to clarify the principles underlying human auditory abilities, unveil sources of difficulty in speech perception, and help adapt assistive devices to improve speech intelligibility for the hearing impaired. Ian seeks to exploit technology used for machine speech recognition (deep neural networks) to build working models of human speech perception that operate from biologically realistic input representations. For this project, Ian will take advantage of the computing resources available at BCS and MIT, and will leverage large-scale online human experiments to develop new behavioral benchmarks for model evaluation. Ian is described as incredibly resourceful and a problem solver with a bright future.
Wisam Reid is conducting his doctoral research under the supervision of Anne Takesian at MEE. He is interested in exploring the structure and activity of circuits within the auditory cortex and testing theoretical predictions for cortical processing and plasticity. His work specifically aims to build quantitative descriptions of how learning engages calcium signaling across subcellular compartments of cortical pyramidal neurons projecting to the striatum. For these studies, he is leveraging biophysical models with novel two-photon dendritic imaging experiments. The goal of this research is to provide insight into novel strategies to facilitate sensory learning and recover auditory function following peripheral hearing loss. Over the past two years, Wisam has extended his toolbox of neuroscience techniques to include optogenetics, two-photon imaging in awake mice, in vitro electrophysiology, and mouse behavior. Moreover, he is expanding his knowledge of single cell biophysics and cortical circuitry. Wisam’s unique combination of a scholarly approach to computational analysis with a courageous willingness to take on challenging experiments will propel his study forward. Mr. Reid is a fellow of the Howard Brain Sciences Foundation, a prestigious neuroscience community.
Daniel low is doing his dissertation under the supervision of Satra Ghosh at MIT, validating speech and language biomarkers for mental health using explainable machine learning and causal inference.
Leo Zekelman, mentored by Alex Golby at BWH, investigates how behavioral metrics of semantic memory and emotion control relate to microstructural measures of a cerebellar fiber pathway in a large dataset of healthy young adult studies.