Daphna Shohamy Appointed Director of Mortimer B. Zuckerman Mind Brain Behavior Institute

April 24, 2023

Dear fellow members of the Columbia community:

I am delighted to announce my appointment of Daphna Shohamy as the next Director of the Mortimer B. Zuckerman Mind Brain Behavior Institute.

Daphna is the Kavli Professor of Brain Science, Codirector of the Kavli Institute for Brain Science, and for the past year has served as Associate Director of the Zuckerman Mind Brain Behavior Institute. She brings to this new role a strong record of leadership in her field and across the University, and worked closely with visionary founding Codirectors of the Institute, Richard Axel, Tom Jessell, and Eric Kandel, since its founding. Committed to connecting scientists to each other, to our neighbors, and to society more broadly, Daphna also has a long history of extensive collaboration with colleagues across Columbia’s Morningside and Irving Medical Center campuses.

A remarkable scholar whose work has been recognized with numerous awards, Daphna is one of the world’s leading experts in the neuroscience of learning, memory, and decision-making whose work has far-reaching implications, opening up new avenues for studying human behavior. Specifically, her research has led to breakthroughs that have changed our understanding of how memories shape the way we think, act, and decide, and has explored the implications of discoveries in neuroscience for understanding cognitive disruption in neurological and psychiatric disorders, as well as for advancing understanding of human development, economic decision-making, judgments under uncertainty, and education.

Daphna takes on the Directorship as the Zuckerman Mind Brain Behavior Institute celebrates its 10th anniversary. The Institute was established with the purpose of bringing together the very best scientists and researchers from across the University to work collaboratively on one of the greatest unknown frontiers facing humanity—namely, the inner workings of the brain and how it governs behavior. In its home at the Jerome L. Greene Science Center on our Manhattanville campus, the Zuckerman Institute is now home to over 800 researchers, staff, students, and affiliates from 18 academic departments working in 51 different labs. In addition to producing groundbreaking research on learning and memory, movement, the senses, neural computation, and more, the Zuckerman Institute engages directly and often with our local community, offering educational programs for children and learners of all ages. This is a monumental effort that has placed Columbia at the forefront of brain science. The idea for a world-class center devoted to the study of the human mind is one I elucidated in my 2002 inauguration speech, and has been a vital cornerstone of the now thriving Manhattanville campus.

The entire University community should take pride in the Institute’s remarkable success, which will undoubtedly continue with Daphna serving as Director. Please join me in congratulating her on this appointment.


Lee C. Bollinger