From the Department Head

  • Message from the Head

From the Department Head

by 

Jim DiCarlo
James J. DiCarlo MD, PhD Peter de Florez Professor of Neuroscience Head, Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences

Dear Friends,

Six months ago, the arrival of Covid-19 upended normal daily life. Since then, we have made unprecedented adjustments in how we learn, teach, and conduct research. Amid these circumstances, our community continues to be both remarkably productive and resilient.

Following the sudden halt to most on-campus work in March, MIT has gradually ramped up lab-based research and other essential on-campus work. Through the downs and ups we have been able to maintain the vital collaborative and collegial relationships that make the Building 46 community unique in scope and impact. This issue of BCS News highlights some of those collaborations (page 7) and the way they arise organically.

On the academic front, this fall the department welcomed nearly double the number of undergraduate majors than last year, thanks to the rapid growth in Course 6-9 (Computation and Cognition), a partnership with the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. Our new class of graduate students is exceptionally strong, bolstered by an increase in women and traditionally underrepresented communities.

Our community has also come together with renewed energy on addressing anti-Black racism. Urged on by graduate students and others in our community, building leadership has committed to identify and understand the impact of systemic racism and to make measurable progress on building a more equitable and inclusive community.

I am continually impressed by our community’s dedication, resourcefulness, and creativity. I believe we will come through these experiences stronger, more resilient, and more supportive. I hope you and your loved ones are safe and healthy, and that this challenging time has set the stage for a better year to come.