A Message from the Department Head Jim DiCarlo

  • Message from the Head

A Message from the Department Head Jim DiCarlo

At the heart of the department’s mission to reverse engineer the mind is a culture of interdisciplinary collaboration and innovation, thriving at the intersection of cognitive science, systems neuroscience, cellular and molecular neuroscience, and computation. We are stewards of an incredible legacy of academic excellence – one that understands the symbiotic relationship between brilliance in research and creating an environment that attracts talented individuals from a broad range of backgrounds.

As our department’s statement on diversity says well:

“It is through the experience of diverse interests, strengths, viewpoints and concerns of fellow students, staff and faculty, that our community members become open-minded intellectuals, leaders and innovators, primed to pursue the MIT mission of advancing and sharing knowledge to meet the great challenges of our time.”

In this newsletter, we share with you stories about members of our community that exemplify this philosophy. You will learn about Lorraine K. Wong, a BCS undergraduate student whose efforts to help those around them was recently honored by the Institute with the 2017 Collier Medal. Lorraine’s humble and quiet dedication to service provides a wonderful example for us all. You will also learn about the department’s new post-baccalaureate program, which brings talented students from underrepresented minority communities to campus and introduces them to our science. It is our hope that these students will join the scientific community, enriching us with their ideas and talent in the years to come.

We also honor those whose legacy built the foundation that the department stands upon. I am saddened to share with you the obituary of professor and department head emeritus Richard Held. His service to the department was not limited to the laboratory – he was also a mentor, and gave selflessly of his time after retirement to working closely with members of BCS Professor Pawan Sinha’s research group.

Creating this unique community and environment would not have been possible without the strong support of our donors over the years. They provide us with the financial resources to execute our mission, and we are incredibly thankful for their generosity. If you are compelled by the stories you read today, I hope that you might consider joining them. We have made great progress and are deeply excited about the future of our science – a future you can help us achieve through your support.

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