Susan Magsamen is the founder and Executive Director of the International Arts + Mind Lab, a pioneering neuroaesthetics initiative from the Brain Science Institute at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Her body of work lies at the intersection of brain sciences and the arts—and how our unique response to aesthetic experiences can amplify human potential.
Magsamen is the author of the Impact Thinking model, an evidence-based research approach to accelerate how we use the arts to solve problems in health, well-being, and learning. In addition to her role at IAM Lab, she also serves as co-director of the NeuroArts Blueprint initiative in partnership with the Aspen Institute.
Prior to founding IAM Lab, Magsamen worked in both the private and public sector, developing social impact programs and products addressing all stages of life—from early childhood to aging adulthood. Magsamen created Curiosityville, an online personalized learning world, acquired by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt in 2014 and Curiosity Kits, a hands-on multi-sensory company, acquired by Torstar in 1995.
An award-winning author for children and families, Magsamen has published seven books including The Classic Treasury of Childhood Wonder, The 10 Best of Everything Families, and Family Stories, a five-part interactive series that included Nighty Night, Tooth Fairy Times, My Two Homes, Family Night, and Making Spirits Bright.
Magsamen is a Fellow at the Royal Society of the Arts and a strategic advisor to several innovative organizations and initiatives, including the Academy of Neuroscience for Architecture, the American Psychological Association, the National Association for the Education of Young Children, Brain Futures, Learning Landscapes, and Creating Healthy Communities: Arts + Public Health in America.
Marilyn S. Albert, Ph.D.
Professor of Neurology and Director of the Division of Cognitive Neuroscience, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine; Scientific Director, IAM Lab
Marilyn Albert received her Ph.D. in physiological psychology from McGill University in Montreal and completed a fellowship in neuropsychology at Boston University School of Medicine. She served on the faculty of the Harvard Medical School for over 22 years.
Now a professor of neurology at Johns Hopkins and Director of the Division of Cognitive Neuroscience, Dr. Albert focuses on the cognitive and brain changes associated with aging and Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Her work has delineated the cognitive changes associated with aging and early AD, along with potential methods of early identification of AD. She has also identified lifestyle factors that promote maintenance of mental abilities with advancing age.
Dr. Albert’s research currently focuses on the early identification of AD and potential ways of monitoring the progression of disease to permit early intervention.
Administrative Manager, Brain Science Institute, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine
Barbara Smith is the administrative manager of the Johns Hopkins Brain Science Institute (BSi). Smith has worked for Johns Hopkins University for 25 years and for the BSi since its inception. Her knowledge of the university and familiarity with faculty and staff, have made Smith effective in planning and organizing research programs and events for the BSi. She overseas finances, contracts and communications for the BSi.
Sarah Pitcock Lohnes manages strategic initiatives for the International Arts + Mind Lab, providing strategic planning, research, writing, communications and project management support to the organization across multiple projects.
Sarah is a policy and implementation expert with an interdisciplinary research background that keeps her fluent in many content areas. Her expertise includes K-12 education, informal learning, youth development and workforce development. She co-authored Impact Thinking and Child Art Magazine for the IAM Lab and is a regular contributor the IAM Lab’s blog.
Previously, Sarah held progressive leadership roles in a 10-year career at the National Summer Learning Association, culminating as its chief executive officer. She is a leading national expert on summer learning, authoring numerous white papers and practitioner guides, making regular presentations to state policymaking bodies and overseeing implementation of multiple state and federal initiatives. She has served as an expert source for NPR, NBC News, Education Week, Essence Magazine and the Baltimore Sun, among other media outlets. She is co-editor and co-author of the research anthology, “The Summer Slide: What We Know and Can Do About Summer Learning Loss” (Teachers College Press, 2016). She holds a master’s degree in public policy from Johns Hopkins University and bachelor’s degrees in public relations and political science from the University of Florida. She is principal consultant at Sarah Pitcock, LLC.
Megan Howard leads communications strategy and programming for the International Arts + Mind Lab.
Megan brings 15+ years of experience in product, marketing, content and community management as a strategic advisor to fast-growth startups, digital media businesses and nonprofits. She currently works with mission-based organizations and social enterprises focused on health and wellness, learning and diversity.
Previously, Megan served as a product and marketing executive at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, CafeMom (CafeMedia) and Gifts.com (IAC). She began her career in strategy consulting at Bain and Company and its non-profit spinoff, The Bridgespan Group.
Samuel Garrett is a composer and musicologist who is committed to advancing knowledge of how aesthetic experiences influence human well-being. At the International Arts + Mind Lab (IAM Lab), he oversees the development of the neuroaesthetics community database, helping to map stakeholders in the field.
He also serves as project manager for the NeuroArts Blueprint initiative, a partnership between IAM Lab and the Aspen Institute dedicated to advancing the science of the arts, health and well-being.
Samuel holds a Masters in Music in composition and musicology from The Peabody Institute at Johns Hopkins University.
Richard Sima edits, writes, and fact-checks for the International Arts + Mind Lab.
Richard is an experienced science communicator with over a decades-long research background in the brain sciences. As a freelance science writer, he’s published stories in Scientific American, Discover Magazine, New Scientist, and Eos on topics ranging from the neuroscience of touch to climate change to quirky animal behaviors.
He graduated cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in neurobiology from Harvard College and then spent a year performing research as a visiting scientist at the Max Planck Institute for Neurobiology in Germany with scholarship support from the German Academic Exchange Service. Richard received his Ph.D. in neuroscience at Johns Hopkins under the mentorship of Dr. Sascha du Lac. His thesis research explores how the cerebellum, a brain structure traditionally thought to be primarily important for movement-related functions, is connected to the auditory system. He won “Most Creative Talk” by audience vote at the Baltimore Science Slam for a public presentation on his research.
In college, Richard was Co-Director of the Harvard ExperiMentors, which teaches hands-on science experiments to local schoolchildren, and was Chair of the Harvard Society for Mind, Brain, and Behavior. As Web Managing Editor of the Harvard Brain, he developed and edited articles about interdisciplinary research in the brain sciences.
During graduate school, Richard volunteered with Project Bridge, where he organized science communication workshops, and contributed to the official medical campus blog at Johns Hopkins. Richard co-founded the Johns Hopkins Science Policy Group in 2016 and as the group’s President, he spearheaded science advocacy events, organized seminars with policy experts, and wrote funding grants; for his leadership and contributions to the graduate community, he was selected “Student Group Leader of the Year” by the Graduate Student Association in 2018.
Dr. Tasha Golden leads multiple research initiatives for the International Arts + Mind Lab. As a public health researcher and innovator, Dr. Golden’s work centers the impacts of arts, culture, and aesthetics on health, health research, communications, and clinical practice. She has authored or coauthored several publications related to arts and health, and is an advisor and lead author for the national “Creating Healthy Communities” Initiative (University of Florida, ArtPlace America). Dr. Golden presents and consults internationally at the intersections of arts and health—most recently for Grantmakers in Health, the Trust for Public Land, and POLITICO’s 2019 European Health Care Summit.
Dr. Golden’s visionary work is bolstered by her career as an artist and entrepreneur. As singer-songwriter for the critically acclaimed band Ellery, she toured full-time in the U.S. and abroad, and her songs have been in feature films and TV dramas. She is also a published poet, and has taught university courses in public health as well as in writing, rhetoric, and literature. Holding a PhD in Public Health Sciences, Dr. Golden draws on her transdisciplinary background to develop robust, innovative partnerships and practices that accelerate health and health equity.
Dr. Golden is also the founder of Project Uncaged: a trauma-informed, arts-based health intervention designed for incarcerated teen women, who are among her greatest teachers.
Karen has worked in program management, research, and communications across a wide range of education issues at local, state and federal levels. Her areas of expertise include PreK-12 education, social-emotional learning (SEL), and the intersections between neuroscience and mental health.
Prior to joining the International Arts + Mind Lab, Karen served as program director for BrainFutures, a national nonprofit formed to assess and advance the practical application of neuroscience research to improve human outcomes. She also launched and directed the Mid-Atlantic office of WE Charity, an international nonprofit that promotes service learning in schools.
Karen was selected as a fellow in the Children’s Defense Fund Emerging Leaders Project. She has worked with the Association of Baltimore Area Grantmakers (now Maryland Philanthropy Network), Baltimore Community Foundation, Communities in Schools of North Carolina, Urban Institute, and ZERO TO THREE State Policy Center.
Karen holds an M.P.A. (Master of Public Administration) from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and an Honors B.A. in Sociology from Brown University.
Evelyn Battle is IAM Lab’s senior administrative coordinator. Her career in business operations and facilities administration and management spans nearly 30 years. She has a cultivated a deep understanding of and hands-on experience with process management and optimization and customer and client support services for both large and small enterprises.
Evelyn facilitates the essential “behind the scenes” work of team operations, including relationship management, complex scheduling, expense control, budget oversight, and vendor and project management.
She partners with leadership professionals to promote teamwork, helping to improve team-based operations, decrease turnaround times, and remove administrative bottlenecks and silos.
With an unwavering passion for service excellence, Evelyn excels in creating new ways for her teams to succeed daily in their professional lives.
Alyssa is the Senior Research Project Coordinator for the International Arts + Mind Lab. She helps to coordinate and provide administrative and scientific oversight for several research projects.
Prior to joining the International Arts + Mind Lab, Alyssa worked as a psychology associate and research supervisor at the Center for Neurodevelopmental and Imaging Research within the Kennedy Krieger Institute. This role involved managing multiple studies investigating the underlying features and mechanisms of pediatric developmental disorders. Alyssa led the recruitment efforts for the lab as well as trained and supervised lab members in neuropsychological testing. She has also previously worked as a therapist within the Baltimore City school system.
Alyssa holds a Master of Science Degree in Clinical Psychology from Loyola University and a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology also from Loyola University.
Clara Sandu is a Research Assistant for the International Arts + Mind Lab specializing in data analysis and manuscript writing.
Prior to joining the IAM Lab, Clara interned at Stanford Medicine where she conducted and kept records of interviews, organized documents for cross-departmental collaboration and integrated these accounts with her research on intraoperative MRI (iMRI) and its incorporation into the clinical workflow.
Having double majored in neuroscience and studio art, Clara graduated with honors from Bucknell University in the spring of 2020. She developed exceptional interpretive and compositional skills throughout her analytical and creative coursework which she continues to exercise with every project she takes on. In her senior year, Clara lead-authored a systematic literature review consolidating the findings of the extant literature on Misophonia, an understudied condition marked by aversion and significant subjective distress in response to certain auditory stimuli. In continuing this research, Clara analyzed data from a nationally-representative cohort of over 3000 families, subsequently presenting the salient findings of these studies at the annual Kalman Research Symposium.
While her broader research interests lie in social and behavioral neuroscience, Clara draws upon her lifelong experience as an artist in her pursuit of a nuanced understanding of the arts’ impact on health and wellbeing. As an Arts Merit Scholar at Bucknell, Clara explored liminal states and the notion of growth through discomfort in her collection of hyperrealistic portraits that was set to be exhibited in at the Samek Art Museum in April 2020; however, the exhibition, Simulacra, was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Around the same time, Clara successfully animated and publicly promoted a narrative video characterizing the scientific nature of how the human production of and response to art influences health outcomes—this capstone project in Science Communications marked her academic entry into the world of Neuroaesthetics.
Grace Roebuck is a research assistant for the International Arts + Mind Lab, specializing in research application, review, and translation into accessible language.
As an artist, psychologist, and activist, Grace thrives in informal, intentional, and interdisciplinary spaces. Beyond IAM Lab, Grace is the Director of Operations and Cultural Innovation for the Centre for Conscious Design, an international think tank pioneering the Conscious Cities movement.
Previously, Grace worked with the Human Metrics Lab, the research branch of HUME, a science-informed design firm. Grace’s research focused on the application of neuroscience and psychology to create spaces that supported the needs of its users. As a dedicated activist, Grace is the founder of the anti-trafficking organization: “The Underground” and neurodiverse integration initiative “Breaking Barriers,” as well as the former Director of Education to the Vassar Haiti Project. During college, Grace interned with numerous cultural change and art-based organizations, including Epic Decade, the Art Effect, and the Rhode Island School of Design. Grace often engages with the community as a public speaker at diverse forums across New York, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island. Grace’s most recent art project is ‘Mail Order Toast‘ and her selected publications include Cities in the Pandemic, Family Friendly Cities, and The Pursuit of Pedagogy.
Janice Clements, Ph.D.
Professor of Molecular and Comparative Pathobiology and Mary Wallace Stanton Professor for Faculty Affairs, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine
Janice E. Clements, Ph.D., is a professor of molecular and comparative pathobiology, the Mary Wallace Stanton Professor for Faculty Affairs and has served as the Vice Dean for Faculty at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine since 2000, where she oversees all policies and programs related to faculty appointments and promotions as well as faculty development.
Her research focuses on lentiviruses and their role in chronic neurological disease. She developed the first molecular and biochemical tools to study lentivirus molecular biology and was the first to characterize the unusual genome of the lentiviruses. She was also the first scientist to report that HIV is a lentivirus.
As director of the Retrovirus Laboratory, she and her team focus on the molecular virology and pathogenesis of lentivirus infections with emphasis on animal models of AIDS dementia and central nervous system (CNS) disease. Recent discoveries include the use of minocycline, a common antibiotic often used against acne, to protect against viral HIV-related cognitive disease.
Dr. Clements received her Ph.D. in biochemistry from the University of Maryland. She completed two postdoctoral fellowships at Johns Hopkins—one in molecular biology and virology and the other in neurology. Dr. Clements joined the Johns Hopkins faculty as an assistant professor of neurology in 1979 and then the faculty of the Division of Comparative Medicine in 1988. She was promoted to professor in 1990.
Jeffrey D. Rothstein, M.D., Ph.D.
Director, Brain Science Institute, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine
Dr. Jeffrey Rothstein is the director of the Brain Science Institute at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. His research focuses on neuromuscular diseases, with a particular focus on Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). Other clinical areas relevant to his laboratory-based research include idiopathic stupor, epilepsy and motor neuron degeneration.
His laboratory includes more than 20-post doctoral fellows, neurology residents, neuromuscular and epilepsy fellows, undergraduate students, technicians and ALS clinic staff. He has been the principal and/or local investigator in eight national or international trials in ALS. He is the author of more than 100 articles on basic and clinical neuroscience. Dr. Rothstein’s laboratory research is funded through the National Institutes of Health, the Muscular Dystrophy Association, the ALS Association and Project A.L.S.
Dr. Rothstein received a master’s degree in neurochemistry from the University of Chicago and a Ph.D. in physiology and biophysics from the University of Illinois Health Sciences Center. He then obtained his medical degree from the University of Illinois College of Medicine. He went on to complete an internship at the University of North Carolina Memorial Hospital before joining The Johns Hopkins for his residency. While at Johns Hopkins, he became chief resident in neurology and completed his fellowship in neuromuscular disease.
Founder, Brain Science Institute, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine
Marilyn is a philanthropist and active fundraiser for organizations in the Washington, D.C., and Baltimore areas. She is a founding member of a high-impact philanthropic organization that unites corporate leaders, donors and volunteers to break the cycle of poverty by improving education and health care. The organization has raised more than $15 million, including $2 million to build a new Fisher House on the grounds of the Washington, D.C., Veterans Medical Center to help veterans and their families overcome bodily injuries and brain trauma, especially PTSD. This work inspired her to approach Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine 10 years ago to create an institutional home for the brain science community to collaborate and create innovative new discoveries and treatments for the brain.
As the founder of the Brain Science Institute (BSi), Marilyn encouraged researchers to explore the connection between aesthetics and the brain. This became a formal line of study in 2015 with the creation of the International Arts + Mind Lab. As a member of the executive advisory board and co-chair of the IAM Lab, Marilyn continues to pursue the connections and healing properties of the arts and the brain. Marilyn graduated magna cum laude from George Washington University with a degree in art history. Marilyn received an honorary degree of Doctor of Humane Letters, honoris causa, from Johns Hopkins University. She served on the Walters Art Museum board of trustees for 15 years. She and her husband have three daughters and live in McLean, Virginia.
Maggie has been an owner and standing Board Member of Innoviss Inc. since 2007. As the Executive Chair, Maggie supports strategic and financial operations and has more than 15 years of business, marketing and IT industry experience, previously holding positions with Johns Hopkins University and ManTech. Maggie has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Pennsylvania.
Richard Huganir, Ph.D.
Director, Solomon H. Snyder Department of Neuroscience, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine
Dr. Richard Huganir is a professor of neuroscience, biological chemistry and pharmacology and molecular science at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Dr. Huganir’s research focuses on molecular mechanisms that modulate the communication between neurons in the brain.
He serves as the director of the Solomon H. Snyder Department of Neuroscience at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.
Dr. Huganir and his team focus their efforts on researching the mechanisms that underlie the regulation of the glutamate receptors, the major excitatory neurotransmitter receptors in the brain. These receptors are neurotransmitter-dependent ion channels that allow ions to pass through the neuronal cell membrane, resulting in the excitation of neuronal activity.
He received his undergraduate degree in biochemistry from Vassar College and earned his Ph.D. in biochemistry, molecular and cell biology from Cornell University. He was a postdoctoral fellow with the Nobel Laureate, Dr. Paul Greengard, at Yale University School of Medicine. Dr. Huganir then moved to the Rockefeller University where he was an assistant professor of molecular and cellular neurobiology from 1984-1988. Dr. Huganir joined the Johns Hopkins faculty in 1988.
Dr. Huganir received the Young Investigator Award from the Society for Neuroscience and the Santiago Grisolia Award, among others. He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the National Academy of Sciences and a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Dr. Huganir has published over 200 papers in peer-reviewed journals.
Jenny Warren began her design career at Parsons School of Design in New York City where she interned with Clodagh, one of the first designers to successfully bring the art of Feng Shui to the mainstream. After graduating from Parsons, Jenny continued her career at David Howell Design, expanding her experience in both residential and commercial design and further influencing her underlying belief that your space, both work and home, can have a mind-altering impact on your life experience. Since interior design was her second career, she decided to combine her previous experience in marketing and business with her new love of design by opening up VEGA, a unique home furnishings store in Washington, D.C. Excited to bring her new understanding and love of design to her home town, she opened up a 3,500 square foot retail store front in the heart of the Penn Quarter.
Jenny graduated from Boston University with a bachelor’s in communications in 1988. She received an associate’s degree in Interior Design from Parson School of Design in 1994.
Amy J. Bastian, Ph.D., P.T.
Professor of Neuroscience, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine; Chief Science Officer, Kennedy Krieger Institute
Dr. Amy Bastian is the chief science officer at Kennedy Krieger Institute, a role in which she identifies and promotes new directions for breakthrough research into the developing brain, spinal cord and musculoskeletal system. She is also director of the Motion Analysis Laboratory that studies the neural control of human movement. Dr. Bastian is a professor of neuroscience and neurology at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.
After completing her undergraduate degree in physical therapy at the University of Oklahoma, Dr. Bastian completed her doctoral degree in movement science at Washington University in 1995 and a post-doctoral fellowship in neuroscience at Washington University under Dr. W.T. Thach.
Dr. Bastian’s research uses computerized movement tracking techniques, non-invasive brain stimulation, novel devices and robotics to control walking and reaching movements in people with and without neurological damage. She has coauthored over 100 scientific papers and numerous book chapters and served as chair of the Musculoskeletal Rehabilitation Study Section at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). She is currently the primary investigator on two R01 grants from the NIH, one of which recently received a prestigious Javits award.
Dr. Bastian’s work has been featured in the mass media, including:
The Wall Street Journal: After a Stroke, Therapy Gets Faster
National Public Radio (NPR): Does the Fight for a Cursive Comeback Miss the Point?
USA Today: Odd Treadmill May Help Stroke Survivors
Julio Bermudez, Ph.D.
Director, Sacred Space and Cultural Studies Graduate Program, Catholic University of America School of Architecture and Planning
Julio Bermudez has served as the director of the Sacred Space and Cultural Studies graduate program at the Catholic University of America School of Architecture and Planning since 2010. He has been teaching architectural design, theory and representation for nearly 30 years. Dr. Bermudez’s interests are focused in the relationship between architecture, culture and spirituality through the lens of phenomenology and neuroscience. He has widely lectured, led symposia and published in this area, including “Transcending Architecture: Contemporary Views on Sacred Space” (CUA Press, 2015) and “Architecture, Culture and Spirituality” (Routledge, 2015). His current research uses neuroscience to study contemplative built environments. Dr. Bermudez is the president of the Architecture, Culture and Spirituality Forum, an international organization that he co-founded in 2007.
Stephen J. Campbell, Ph.D.
Henry and Elizabeth Wiesenfeld Professor, Department of the History of Art, Johns Hopkins University
Stephen Campbell is the Henry and Elizabeth Wiesenfeld Professor of the History of Art at Johns Hopkins University. Dr. Campbell is a specialist in Italian art of the 15th and 16th centuries. His work has focused on the artistic culture of North Italian cities, court artists such as Ferrarese painter Cosmè Tura, the representation of Judaism in Christian art, the rise of mythological painting and the history of collecting. He has also published articles on aspects of Giorgione, the Carracci, Agnolo Bronzino, Michelangelo and Rosso Fiorentino. His most recent book is “Art in Italy 1400-1600,” co-authored with Michael Cole (Fall 2011).
Dr. Campbell was educated at Trinity College, Dublin (B.A. 1985), the University of North Carolina (M.A. 1987) and Johns Hopkins University (Ph.D., 1993). Before joining the faculty of Johns Hopkins in 2002, he taught at Case Western Reserve University, the University of Michigan and the University of Pennsylvania. In 1993, he published a book for a general audience on the Great Irish Famine of 1847-1851, with a preface by President of Ireland Mary Robinson. In 2002 he was guest curator at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Boston, for the exhibition Cosmè Tura: Painting and Design in Renaissance Ferrara.
Dr. Campbell has held post-doctoral fellowships at The Metropolitan Museum of Art; the Harvard University Center for Italian Renaissance Studies at Villa I Tatti in Florence and the Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts, National Gallery, Washington.
Anjan Chatterjee, M.D., FAAN
Frank A. and Gwladys H. Elliott Professor and Chair of Neurology, Pennsylvania Hospital
Anjan Chatterjee is the Frank A. and Gwladys H. Elliott Professor and chair of neurology at Pennsylvania Hospital. He is a member of the Center for Cognitive Neuroscience and the Center for Neuroscience and Society at the University of Pennsylvania. He received his B.A. in Philosophy from Haverford College and his M.D. from the University of Pennsylvania and completed his neurology residency at the University of Chicago. Dr. Chatterjee’s clinical practice focuses on patients with cognitive disorders, and his research addresses questions about spatial cognition and language, attention, neuroethics and neuroaesthetics.
He wrote “The Aesthetic Brain: How we Evolved to Desire Beauty and Enjoy Art” and co-edited “Neuroethics in Practice: Mind, Medicine, and Society” and “The Roots of Cognitive Neuroscience: Behavioral Neurology and Neuropsychology.” He has served on the editorial boards of many journals, including American Journal of Bioethics: Neuroscience; Behavioural Neurology; Cognitive and Behavioral Neurology and Neuropsychology. He was awarded the Geschwind Prize in Behavioral and Cognitive Neurology by the American Academy of Neurology and the Arnheim Prize for contribution to Psychology and the Arts by the American Psychological Association. He is a founding member of the Board of Governors of the Neuroethics Society, the past President of the International Association of Empirical Aesthetics, and the past President of the Behavioral and Cognitive Neurology Society. He serves on the Boards of Haverford College, the Associated Services for the Blind and Visually Impaired and The College of Physicians of Philadelphia.
Ed Connor, Ph.D.
Professor of Neuroscience and Director of The Zanvyl Krieger Mind/Brain Institute, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine
Dr. Ed Connor is a professor of neuroscience at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. He has served as director of the Zanvyl Krieger Mind/Brain Institute since 2007. His research examines object synthesis in the higher-level visual cortex.
Dr. Connor earned his Ph.D. in neuroscience from Johns Hopkins in 1989. After postdoctoral studies at the California Institute of Technology and Washington University, he joined the Johns Hopkins Neuroscience Department in 1996.
His work has shown how object structure is represented by populations of neurons in higher-level visual regions of the brain. In new studies funded by the Brain Science Institute, his laboratory has begun to investigate the neural basis of shape aesthetics.
Gül Dölen, M.D., Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Neuroscience; Affiliated with the Wendy Klag Center for Autism and Developmental Disabilities and the Kavli Neuroscience Discovery Institute, Johns Hopkins University, School of Medicine
Dr. Dölen’s lab focuses on studying the molecular, circuit, developmental, and evolutionary mechanisms of social behaviors using a number of evolving and established techniques including electrophysiology, optogenetics, viral-mediated gene transfer, RNA and DNA sequencing, anatomy, and behavior. In addition, her work seeks to harness mechanistic insights for treating neurodevelopmental disorders like autism and schizophrenia, which are characterized by impairments in social behaviors, as well as disorders like addiction and post-traumatic stress disorder that respond to social influence or are the result of social injury. Dr. Dölen joined the faculty at Johns Hopkins in 2014, and has been the recipient of numerous awards including the Searle Scholars Award and the Society for Social Neuroscience Early Career Award.
After graduating from the University of Illinois in Architecture and serving two years in the Marine Corps, John Paul returned to Champaign-Urbana and formed Creative Buildings, Inc. to design and build. Having completed more than 100 chapels, he returned to school as a Sloan Fellow in the Management School of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He then managed research programs for the Sheraton Hotel Corporation and later the American Institute of Architects. He has served as Dean of Architecture at the State University of New York at Buffalo and Carnegie Mellon University. He was founding President of the Academy of Neuroscience for Architecture in 2003.
James C. Harris, M.D.
Professor, Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine
Dr. James C. Harris is a professor in the Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at Johns Hopkins University. Dr. Harris received his medical degree in 1966 from George Washington University. He trained in pediatrics at the University of Southern California Children’s Hospital and the University of Rochester before joining Johns Hopkins for his psychiatry residency and fellowship in child psychiatry from 1972-1974. The author of the textbook “Development Neuropsychiatry,” Harris’ research focuses on behavioral phenotypes in neurogenetic disorders and psychopharmacology in neurodevelopmental disorders. Today he directs the developmental neuropsychiatry clinic at Johns Hopkins.
Co-Director, Center for Music and Medicine, Johns Hopkins Peabody Institute
Sarah Hoover is the co-director of the new Johns Hopkins Center for Music and Medicine. In this role, she leads a variety of interconnected efforts to meet the center’s mission: harnessing the healing power of music and ensuring the health of musicians. Hoover works with colleagues across the university to conduct research, develop therapies, bring music into clinical settings and bring multi-disciplinary clinical care to Peabody students and other musicians. Since her 2015 appointment, Hoover has re-invigorated Peabody’s historic engagement with a diverse array of agencies and organizations across Johns Hopkins and throughout Baltimore.
Hoover has led the development of unique community engagement opportunities which bring music to new audiences and help students hone important audience development skills. She has also taken a leadership role in the development of Peabody’s new Breakthrough Curriculum, which incorporates community engagement experiences into the core training of the 21st-century citizen artist.
Prior to her appointment at Peabody, Hoover was an assistant professor of music at Hofstra University. She has had a career as a performer, teacher and music journalist and co-founded the Oyster Bay Music festival in New York. She is an active member of the National Association of Teachers of Singing and has served as the Eastern region president.
Hoover is a graduate of Yale University and earned a Doctor of Musical Arts in Vocal Performance from Peabody
Steven Holochwost, Ph.D.
Research Scientist, Science of Learning Institute, Johns Hopkins University
Dr. Steven Holochwost is advisor on research and program evaluation at the Science of Learning Institute, where he counsels senior staff on issues of evaluation design, measurement development and data analysis. He is also senior research scientist and associate principal at WolfBrown, where he directs evaluations of programs designed to improve the lives of under-served children and youth.
His applied work in program evaluation focuses on the use of mixed quantitative and qualitative methods in program evaluation and the application of advanced analytics to longitudinal data. His research in early child development examines the effects of environment, and particularly poverty and parenting, on voluntary forms of self-regulation (e.g., executive functions) and the involuntary activity of neurophysiological systems that support self-regulatory abilities. The common thread running through both these lines of work is the need to understand how risk impacts child development and how programs that expand opportunities for children can mitigate those effects.
Before joining WolfBrown, Dr. Holochwost was Associate Director of Research at the Early Learning Center and, prior to that, Senior Assistant Child Advocate with the Office of the Child Advocate for the State of New Jersey. He earned his Ph.D. in developmental psychology from the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill as a National Science Foundation Fellow and a master’s degree in public affairs from the Fels Institute at the University of Pennsylvania.
Natasha Hussain, Ph.D.
Scientific Director, Kavli Neuroscience Discovery Institute, Johns Hopkins University
Natasha Hussain is the scientific director of the Kavli Neuroscience Discovery Institute. In this leadership role, Hussain facilitates interactions among neuroscientists, engineers and data scientists with the goal of advancing neuroscience discovery by fostering transdisciplinary research.
Prior to joining the Kavli NDI, Natasha was a research associate in the Department of Neuroscience at Johns Hopkins University where she studied molecular components of synaptic plasticity. Synaptic plasticity of neurons denotes the ability to dynamically modulate the pre-existing connections between neurons. It is widely held that long-term plasticity of the brain is mediated in major part by morphological reorganization of neuronal circuits and specifically by the selective strengthening and weakening of synapses. This plasticity of neurons plays a fundamental role in learning, memory and in the manifestation of neurological diseases and disorders. Accumulating evidence suggests early cognitive deficits in Alzheimer’s disease, as well as disorders associated with intellectual disability, may be caused by disrupted excitatory synaptic transmission mediated by AMPA (a-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methyl-4-isoxazolepropionic acid) type glutamate receptors. Hussain conducted foundational research on how specific protein complexes affect AMPA receptor function to regulate neuronal plasticity.
John W. Krakauer, M.D
John C. Malone Professor of Neurology, Neuroscience, and Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation; Director, Brain, Learning, and Animation Lab, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine
Dr. Krakauer is the John C. Malone Professor of Neurology, Neuroscience, and Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, and director of the Brain, Learning, Animation and Movement Lab at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. His areas of research interest are: experimental and computational studies of motor control and motor learning in humans; tracking long-term motor skill learning and its relation to higher cognitive processes such as decision-making; prediction of motor recovery after stroke; mechanisms of spontaneous motor recovery after stroke in humans and in mouse models; and new neuro-rehabilitation approaches for patients in the first 3 months after stroke.
Dr. Krakauer is co-founder of the video gaming company Max and Haley and the creative engineering project KATA at Johns Hopkins. KATA and Max and Haley are both predicated on the idea that animal movement is highly pleasurable and that pleasure is heightened when a human can simulate and control such movements on their own. With Dr. Krakauer, KATA has developed a therapeutic game that uses an FDA-approved 3D exoskeletal robot to simulate a dolphin’s movement. The game is being used in an ongoing multi-site rehabilitation trial for early stroke recovery. Dr. Krakauer ‘s recent book is “Broken Movement: The Neurobiology of Motor Recovery after Stroke” (MIT Press, 2017).
Barbara Landau, Ph.D.
Director, Science of Learning Institute; Dick and Lydia Todd Professor of Cognitive Science, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine
Barbara Landau has been the Dick and Lydia Todd Professor of Cognitive Science since 2001 and the Director of the Science of Learning Institute since 2013. Landau is interested in human knowledge of language and space, and the relationships between these two foundational systems of knowledge. Landau’s research draws on a variety of approaches, including traditional experimental and linguistic methods adapted for young children. Although much of her work concerns the mechanisms of normal development, she is also interested in unusual cases of development, which can shed light on normal development and cognition.
Landau is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Cognitive Science Society, and several other organizations. She was named a Guggenheim Fellow in 2009, and is currently the Retiring Chair of the Psychology Section of the AAAS.
Rong Li, Ph.D.
Bloomberg Distinguished Professor of Cell Biology and Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and Whiting School of Engineering
Rong Li is a Bloomberg Distinguished Professor of Cell Biology and Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and Whiting School of Engineering. She is also the director of the Center for Cell Dynamics in the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine’s Institute for Basic Biomedical Sciences. She is a leader in understanding cellular asymmetry, division and evolution, and specifically, in how eukaryotic cells establish their distinct morphology and organization in order to carry out their specialized functions.
David Linden, Ph.D.
Professor, Department of Neuroscience, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine
Dr. David J. Linden is a professor of neuroscience at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. His research examines the cellular substrates of memory storage, the molecular basis of addiction, and recovery of function following brain injury among other topics.
Dr. Linden has authored or co-authored more than 100 peer-reviewed publications and has written two neuroscience books for general audiences. In 2010, Dr. Linden was recognized as a fellow in the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
Frederick Marks has been a licensed architect for more than 25 years with a planning and design specialty in healthcare and laboratory science facilities. He holds degrees in architecture and business administration with a major in real estate and urban land economics. Frederick currently serves as a board advisor to The American Institute of Architects in Washington, D.C., as well as a member of its research committee and knowledge communities committee. He is an advisor to the Mayo Clinic Center for Innovation-Delos Well Living Laboratory in Rochester, Minn., and the building systems organization ASHRAE. He is a founding Board member of the Academy of Neuroscience for Architects, its former Chief Operating Officer and now president-elect. At Salk Institute, Frederick is working with a principal investigator to acquire data about the relationship between the human circadian system and exposure to natural and electric indoor lighting.
Justin C. McArthur, MBBS, MPH
Director, Department of Neurology; Johns Hopkins School of Medicine
Dr. Justin McArthur is nationally and internationally recognized for his work in studying the natural history, development and treatment of HIV infection, multiple sclerosis and other neurological infections and immune-mediated neurological disorders. Dr. McArthur has also developed a technique to use cutaneous nerves to study sensory neuropathies, including those associated with chemotherapy, HIV and diabetes.
Dr. McArthur is the director the of the Johns Hopkins/National Institute of Mental Health Research Center for Novel Therapeutics of HIV-associated Cognitive Disorders. The Center is comprised of an experienced interdisciplinary research team who have pooled their talents to study the nature of HIV-associated cognitive disorders. Their aim is to translate discoveries of the pathophysiological mechanisms into novel therapeutics for HIV-associated dementia (HIV-D).
Dr. McArthur received his medical degree from Guys Hospital Medical School in London, UK. He then completed an internship and residency in internal medicine at Johns Hopkins Hospital and stayed with Johns Hopkins to complete a residency in neurology and achieve his master’s in public health. He is the Director of the Johns Hopkins Department of Neurology and holds the John W. Griffin Professorship in Neurology established in 2015 by Jeffrey and Harriet Legum. In April 2017 Dr. McArthur was elected to the Association of American Physicians.
Mary Ann Mears is a sculptor who has been commissioned to create site-specific art for public sites across a number of states including Florida, North Carolina, Michigan, Illinois, Connecticut, New York, Virginia, and Washington, D.C. Within her home state of Maryland, her commissioned works are located in Bethesda, Rockville, Cheverly, Belair, Glen Burnie, Silver Spring, Columbia, and at several locations in Baltimore. She is also a volunteer arts advocate. Her achievements include being a founder of Maryland Art Place and helping to craft and successfully lobby for Maryland’s Public Art Bill. She is a trustee of Maryland Citizens for the Arts. Mary Ann is the founder of Arts Education in Maryland Schools (AEMS) Alliance. She serves on the Maryland State Department of Education’s Fine Arts Education Advisory Panel and recently Co-chaired the Governor’s P-20 Leadership Council’s Task Force on Arts Education in Maryland schools. She is the recipient of an Honorary Doctorate in the Fine Arts from University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC). In 2009, she received the Distinguished Service to the Arts Award from the National Governors Association.
Michael Miller, Ph.D.
Director, Department of Biomedical Engineering; Director, Center for Imaging Science; Co-Director, Kavli Neuroscience Discovery Institute, Johns Hopkins University
Michael Miller is the Herschel and Ruth Seder Professor of Biomedical Engineering and the director of the Department of Biomedical Engineering at Johns Hopkins University.
Dr. Miller received his master’s and doctorate degrees in biomedical engineering from Johns Hopkins. He joined the faculty at Washington University in St. Louis, where he rose to be a chaired professor while developing an international reputation in computational science and imaging.
Miller is the director of the Center for Imaging Science in the Whiting School of Engineering. The center is focused on establishing worldwide analytical models for image and pattern understanding. Most prominently, this has been manifested through the creation of a cloud-based library of brain MRIs.
The author of more than 300 manuscripts and two textbooks, Miller is an international leader in medical imaging and brain mapping, having pioneered the field of computational anatomy as a modern theory of human anatomical shape and form. He is a Gilman Scholar within Johns Hopkins University and co-directs the Kavli Neuroscience Discovery Institute.
Itai is a practicing architect and researcher focusing on designing with the human experience in mind.
He is Director of Hume, a science informed architecture and urban design practice backed by research at its Human Metrics Lab.
In 2015, Itai founded the Conscious Cities movement; a new field of research and practice for building people-centric environments that are aware and responsive using data analysis, AI, tech, and cognitive science in design. A fellow at The Centre for Urban Design and Mental Health, he has edited its inaugural journal, and also contributed to a number of international publications such as The Guardian.
Itai is an alumnus of The Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL and has worked alongside the late visionary architect Jan Kaplicky at Future System on projects such as the Ferrari Museum in Modena. Working internationally on architecture and urbanism projects, Itai carries out design and thought leadership roles in bodies such as Harvard, Brookings Institution, and Urban Thinkscape.
Hume is a science informed architecture and urban design practice backed by research at its Human Metrics Lab. Hume provides a full design service from concept to post-occupancy using a unique methodology centred around the human outputs of the built environment.
Alexander Pantelyat, M.D.
Co-Director, Center for Music and Medicine; Director, Atypical Parkinsonism Center; Assistant Professor of Neurology, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine
Alexander Pantelyat, M.D. is an assistant professor in the Department of Neurology at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Dr. Pantelyat completed medical school at Temple University School of Medicine. He completed his neurology residency and movement disorder fellowship at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania and is board certified in neurology.
Dr. Pantelyat is the director of the Johns Hopkins Atypical Parkinsonism Center. He is a co-investigator at the Udall Parkinson’s Disease Research Center, specifically for the longitudinal and brain donation studies, which seek to improve our understanding of disease progression, and the psychiatric and cognitive aspects of Parkinson’s disease and atypical parkinsonian disorders. He is also co-investigator on an NIH-funded study to identify biomarkers for Parkinson’s disease and Parkinson’s disease-related cognitive impairment.
Amy L. Shelton, Ph.D.
Professor and Associate Dean for Research, Johns Hopkins School of Education
Amy Shelton is the director of research for the Center for Talented Youth and a professor and associate dean for research in the School of Education. She holds a joint appointment in the School of Medicine and serves on the steering committees for the university-wide Science of Learning Initiative. She was on the faculty in psychological and brain sciences at JHU from 2002 to 2013 before assuming the joint position with the Center for Talented Youth and the School of Education. She also serves as an associate editor for the Journal of Experimental Psychology: General and on the editorial board for Spatial Cognition and Computation. She is affiliated with a number of different professional organizations in psychology, neuroscience and education. Her research in cognitive psychology/cognitive neuroscience focuses on spatial skills, individual differences and mechanisms of learning, couched in the broad context of understanding the characterization and needs of the individual learner. She has a track record of publications in major academic journals and grant support, and her professional orientation takes a strong basic science approach that is informed by the problems and questions of practice and application.
Marshall G. Hussain Shuler, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Neuroscience, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine
Dr. Marshall G. Hussain Shuler is an assistant professor of neuroscience at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. His research examines the neural mechanisms of reward-dependent learning.
He received a B.A. with distinction in neuroscience from the University of Virginia, where he was a Howard Hughes Undergraduate Research Apprentice. He completed his Ph.D. in Neurobiology at Duke University and received a National Research Service fellowship there. He joined the faculty of Johns Hopkins as an associate professor in 2008 after completing his post-doctoral research at MIT as a Howard Hughes fellow.
Dr. Hussain Shuler has received several awards and distinctions, and has presented his work at several national and international conferences and seminars. He has authored or co-authored numerous peer-reviewed publications and one book chapter. He is a member of the Society of Neuroscience.
Since 2004, Mr. Terkowitz has served as a general partner at ABS Capital Partners L.P., a venture capital firm. Prior to ABS Capital, Mr. Terkowitz was an officer of The Washington Post Company (now Graham Holdings Company), a diversified media and education company, and the founder and CEO of, among others, DigitalInk Co. (now Washingtonpost.com) and Kenexa BrassRing, Inc. From 1998 to 2004, Mr. Terkowitz served on the board of directors of MicroStrategy Incorporated, a publicly traded business intelligence software company. Mr. Terkowitz currently serves on the board of directors of several privately held companies. Mr. Terkowitz is also on the board of Cornell’s for-profit online education business, e-Cornell. Mr. Terkowitz serves on the not-for-profit Board of Governors of the Johns Hopkins Packard Center and Johns Hopkins Brain Science Institute. Mr. Terkowitz holds an A.B. in Chemistry from Cornell University and an M.S. in Chemical Physics from the University of California, Berkeley.
Elizabeth Tolbert, Ph.D.
Faculty, Musicology Department, Johns Hopkins Peabody Institute
Elizabeth Tolbert is on the faculty of the Musicology Department at the Johns Hopkins Peabody Institute. Dr. Tolbert earned a bachelor’s in music from Florida State University, a master’s in music from University of Colorado, Boulder, and a Ph.D. from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). Tolbert’s awards include Mellon Fellowship, Fulbright grant for study in Finland, NEH fellowship and ACLS grant. Her recent publications have appeared in “Embodied Voices” (Cambridge University Press), World of Music, Notes, Ethnomusicology, and Yearbook for Traditional Music. Tolbert has formerly served as faculty at New York University, UCLA, and Northwestern University. Tolbert’s research interests in ethnomusicology include intercultural approaches to aesthetics, music theory, gender, ritual and music cognition.
Shea Trahan is a licensed architect and holds a leadership position in the New Orleans based firm of Trapolin-Peer Architects. Shea has authored a body of research into Resonant Form, an investigation into the intersection of architecture, sound, and the search for enlightenment. Building from an initial conception as a meditation chamber specifically designed for chanting, the project incorporates investigations into form, acoustics, physics, neurology, material systems, physiology, and mysticism. He holds degrees in architecture from Tulane University and the University of Louisiana at Lafayette and has a certification in the field of Neuroscience for Architecture from the NewSchool of Architecture and Design. Shea’s work has been featured internationally and has been included in publications and conferences including TEDx Vermilion Street, Architect Magazine, ArchDaily, the New Orleans Museum of Art, The Academy of Neuroscience for Architecture, and Creating Sensory Spaces: The Architecture of the Invisible. He currently serves on the Board of Directors for the U.S. Green Building Council Louisiana Chapter, and leads evidence-based design and sustainability efforts for his firm. Shea’s professional work focuses on theater and museum projects along with adaptive reuse of historic buildings.
Gary Vikan, Ph.D.
Author; Benedict Distinguished Visiting Professor, Carleton College
Gary Vikan served as director of the Walters Art Museum in Baltimore from 1994 to 2013 after serving as its assistant director for curatorial affairs and curator of medieval art since 1985. Previously, Vikan was senior associate at Harvard’s Center for Byzantine Studies. A native of Minnesota, he received his B.A. from Carleton College and his Ph.D. from Princeton University. Vikan is a graduate of the Harvard Program for Art Museum Directors and the National Arts Strategies Chief Executive Program.
At the Walters, Vikan led the contextual installation of the museum’s collections, eliminated its general admission fee and provided open access to all of its digital assets. He led efforts to endow nearly two dozen museum positions as well as an exhibition fund. Vikan has taught at Johns Hopkins University, Goucher College and the Salzburg Global Seminar. He is currently the Benedict Distinguished Visiting Professor at Carleton College.
Vikan serves on numerous boards internationally and in the Baltimore region. He was appointed by President Clinton in 1999 to the Cultural Property Advisory Committee and was knighted by the French Minister of Culture in the Order of Arts and Letters in 2002.
Vikan’s most recent books include “From the Holy Land to Graceland” (2012) and “Sacred and Stolen: Confessions of a Museum Director” (SelectBooks, 2016). Vikan lectures extensively on topics as varied as Byzantine art, Elvis Presley, the Shroud of Turin, looted art and cultural property policy, neuroaesthetics and art forgeries.
Xiaoqin Wang is a professor of biomedical engineering, neuroscience, and otolaryngology at Johns Hopkins University. He directs the Laboratory of Auditory Neurophysiology.
Dr. Wang’s research aims to understand brain mechanisms responsible for auditory perception and vocal communication in a naturalistic environment.
Dr. Wang received his B.S. in electrical engineering at Sichuan University in Sichuan, China, and his M.S. in electrical engineering and computer science at the University of Michigan. He completed his Ph.D. in biomedical engineering at Johns Hopkins, and subsequently conducted a postdoctoral fellowship in neurophysiology at the University of California in San Francisco.
He joined the Johns Hopkins faculty in 1995 as an associate professor, became an assistant professor in 2002 and accepted the title of full professor in 2002.
Dr. Wang has won several awards and NIH grants for his research and currently serves as principal investigator of the Laboratory of Auditory Neurophysiology in the Department of Otolaryngology. He has served on the editorial review boards for more than 20 academic journals in the field, has authored or co-authored several dozen peer-reviewed publications and has presented his work nationally and internationally.
Susan Forscher Weiss, Ph.D.
Professor of Musicology, Johns Hopkins Peabody Institute
Susan Forscher Weiss is the past chair of musicology at the Peabody Institute and holds a joint appointment in the Department of German and Romance Languages at Johns Hopkins University. Dr. Weiss’s interests range from medieval and Renaissance music, music theory and musical instruments to music cognition and musical theatre. She has published widely with monographs, edited books, articles and reviews in a number of national and international journals. Awards include several from the National Endowment for the Humanities (including the most recent: NEH Digital Humanities Start-Up Grant, Level II (2013-14). Dr. Weiss was the Robert Lehman Visiting Professor at the Harvard Center for Italian Renaissance Studies, Villa I Tatti, 2014.
Andy Cunningham is the founder and president of Cunningham Collective, a marketing, brand and communication strategy firm dedicated to bringing innovation to market. She is also the author of “Get to Aha!: Discover Your Positioning DNA and Dominate Your Competition” (McGraw-Hill), and the host of the popular podcast Marketing Over Ice.
An entrepreneur at the forefront of marketing, branding and positioning, Andy Cunningham has played a key role in the launch of a number of new categories including video games; personal computers; desktop publishing; digital imaging; RISC microprocessors; software as a service; very light jets and clean tech investing. She is an expert in creating and executing marketing, branding and communication strategies that accelerate growth, increase shareholder value and advance corporate reputation.
Andy serves on the corporate boards of Specialized Bicycle Components, Inc. (bicycles and gear) and Finelite, Inc. (LED lighting systems). In addition, Andy sits on the nonprofit boards of The Aspen Institute; Menlo College; Northwestern University Medill School of Journalism, Media, Integrated Marketing Communications and ZERO1: The Art & Technology Network, an organization she founded in 2000 with the mission to shape the future at the intersection of art and technology.
Lama Surya Das is one of the foremost Western Buddhist meditation teachers and scholars. The Dalai Lama affectionately calls him “the American Lama.” Lama Surya has spent more than 45 years studying Zen, Vipassana, Yoga and Tibetan Buddhism with many of the great old masters of Asia, including some the Dalai Lama’s own teachers. He is an authorized lama in the Tibetan Buddhist order, a leading spokesperson for Buddhism and contemporary spirituality, a translator, poet, meditation master, chant master and social-spiritual activist.
Lama Surya Das is the author of the international bestselling Awakening trilogy: “Awakening the Buddha Within, “Awakening to the Sacred” and “Awakening the Buddhist Heart,” as well as his latest book “Make Me One with Everything: Buddhist Meditations to Awaken from the Illusion of Separation,” and 10 other books. In 1991 he established the Dzogchen Centers and Dzogchen Retreats and in 1993, with the Dalai Lama, he founded the Western Buddhist Teachers Network and regularly organizes its International Buddhist Teachers’ Conferences.
Lama Surya Das is a regular contributor at The Huffington Post and Elephant Journal, as well as writing his own blog Ask The Lama. Lama Surya can be followed on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram; his own podcast Awakening Now can be found on the Be Here Now Network. For more information on Surya, as well as his lecture and retreat schedule, visit www.surya.org.
Helene Ellison is Global Chair of Healthcare Practice at Burson-Marsteller, LLC. Helene is a 30-year veteran of the healthcare communications industry with expertise in corporate and product positioning, media relations, advocacy and issues management. She was appointed in 2010 to serve as chair of the agency’s global healthcare practice, comprising more than 200 executives worldwide including MDs, public health experts, former government officials, academics and former journalists.
She has led disease and treatment education programs in autoimmune diseases, dermatology, diabetes, gastroenterology, hepatitis, heart disease, hematology, infectious disease, neurology, obesity, oncology and women’s health. She has served on boards or worked pro bono for organizations including The American Liver Foundation, The American Stroke Association/Heritage Affiliate, The Foundation for Art and Healing and The Obesity Society. She currently serves on the Board of Governors for the Robert Packard Center for ALS research at Johns Hopkins University.
During her career, Helene has also led healthcare divisions within Edelman and Omnicom Networks. She was most recently founder, president and CEO of HealthStar Public Relations.
Helene holds a B.A. in Journalism from George Washington University. She lives in New York City.
Guy McKhann, M.D.
Professor of Neurology and Neuroscience, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine
Dr. Guy McKhann is Professor of Neurology at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. He has a joint appointment in the Department of Neuroscience at the School of Medicine. Dr. McKhann was the founding chairman of the Department of Neurology at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and was also the founding director of The Zanvyl Krieger Mind/Brain Institute at Johns Hopkins University.
Dr. McKhann has authored over 200 publications. His clinical research has included studies of the Guillain-Barre Syndrome, which included research programs in the United States as well as in China. His most recent research has focused on the role of vascular factors in cognitive decline.
He was co-editor for many years of a successful neurology textbook, Diseases of the Nervous System: Clinical Neurobiology. He and his colleague (and wife) Dr. Marilyn Albert published a book about aging and the brain for the general public entitled Keep Your Brain Young.
Dr. McKhann has been involved with a number of scientific organizations, including as president of the American Neurological Association. He was formerly the Chairman of the Scientific Advisory Group for United Cerebral Palsy. He has also been an advisor to the Vatican on issues relating to the end of life care, particularly for patients with ‘brain death’. He is currently the Scientific Advisor to the Charles A. Dana Foundation.
Dr. McKhann attended Harvard University and received his MD degree from the Yale University School of Medicine.
Benj Pasek is an Oscar-winning lyricist and Tony-winning composer/lyricist, best known for his songwriting partnership with Justin Paul. Alongside Paul, Pasek won his first Tony Award in 2017 for the score of the Broadway musical, Dear Evan Hansen. This came only shortly after winning an Academy Award for the lyrics to “City of Stars” from the film La La Land.
Pasek holds a BFA in musical theater from the University of Michigan, where he first met fellow theater student Justin Paul during his first year. After discovering a shared interest, they quickly began working together. After graduating, Pasek found continued success. He worked for the Disney Channel along with his creative partner, and was later hired to write for the stage musical version of James and the Giant Peach.
Pasek debuted on Broadway in 2012, when he and Paul rewrote the score of A Christmas Story: The Musical. In 2013, the duo contributed multiple songs to the Broadway-themed ABC series Smash. Dear Evan Hansen opened on Broadway in December 2016. At the same time, La La Land’s soundtrack – which featured lyrics by Pasek & Paul – reached number two on the Billboard 200. The film won six Academy Awards, including Best Original Song for “City of Stars,” which Pasek co-wrote. In the meantime, Dear Even Hansen was a wild success. It received nine Tony nominations and won six, including Best Score and Best Musical.
In 2017, their music could be heard in the musical biopic The Greatest Showman, about P.T. Barnum.
Kathy Hirsh Pasek, Ph.D.
Director, Infant Language Laboratory and Stanley and Debra Lefkowitz Faculty Fellow, Department of Psychology, Temple University
Kathryn Hirsh-Pasek is the Stanley and Debra Lefkowitz Faculty Fellow in the Department of Psychology at Temple University and is a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution. Director of Temple University’s Infant Language Laboratory, Kathy is the recipient of the American Psychological Association’s Bronfenbrenner Award for Lifetime Contribution to Developmental Psychology in the Service of Science and Society as well as numerous other awards.
Kathy received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Pittsburgh and her Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania. Her research in the areas of early language development and infant cognition has been funded by the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health and Human Development, and the Institute of Education Sciences resulting in 14 books and over 200 publications. She is a Fellow of the American Psychological Association and the American Psychological Society and served as the Associate Editor of Child Development. She is the President and also served as treasurer of the International Association for Infant Studies. Her book, “Einstein Never used Flashcards: How children really learn and why they need to play more and memorize less,” (Rodale Books) won the prestigious Books for Better Life Award as the best psychology book in 2003. Her newest book, “Becoming Brilliant: What Science tells us about raising successful children” (Becoming-Brilliant.com) released in 2016, was on the NYTimes Best Seller List in both Education and Parenting.
Ivy Ross is the Vice President of Design for Hardware Products at Google. She and her team created the design language for Google’s hardware products that launched in 2017 that included phones, laptops, home and wearable products. Previously, she held executive positions ranging from head of product design and development to Chief Marketing Officer and presidencies with several companies, including Calvin Klein, Swatch, Coach, Mattel, Bausch & Lomb and Gap.
A renowned artist, her innovative metal work in jewelry is in the permanent collections of 12 international museums. A winner of the prestigious National Endowment for the Arts grant, Ivy has also received the Women in Design Award and Diamond International Award for her creative designs.
In addition to design, Ivy’s other passions are human potential and health. She has studied sound and vibration for 30 years and recently completed a master program in energy medicine. She believes in the combination of art and science to make magic happen and bring great ideas and brands to life.
Rudy Tanzi, Ph.D.
Vice-Chair of Neurology and Director of the Genetics and Aging Research Unit, Massachusetts General Hospital; Joseph P. and Rose F. Kennedy Professor of Neurology, Harvard Medical School
Dr. Rudolph Tanzi is the vice-chair of neurology and director of the Genetics and Aging Research Unit at Massachusetts General Hospital and serves as the Joseph P. and Rose F. Kennedy Professor of Neurology at Harvard Medical School.
Dr. Tanzi co-discovered three of the first Alzheimer’s disease genes and has identified several others in the Alzheimer’s Genome Project, which he directs. He also discovered the Wilson’s disease gene and participated in the discovery of several other neurological disease genes. Most recently, he has used AD genes to create a three-dimensional human stem cell-derived neural culture system that recapitulates AD plaque and tangle pathology. Using this system, Dr. Tanzi is also developing therapeutics for AD including gamma secretase modulators and metal chaperones to lower beta-amyloid and tangle burden in the brain.
Dr. Tanzi has published nearly 500 research papers and has received the highest awards in his field, including the Metropolitan Life Foundation Award and Potamkin Prize. Most recently, he received the 2015 Smithsonian American Ingenuity Award and was named to the 2015 list of TIME100 Most Influential People in the World.
He co-authored the popular trade books “Decoding Darkness”, New York Times Bestseller, “Super Brain”, and “Super Genes” He was named by GQ magazine as a Rock Star of Science, and in his spare time, has played keyboards with the band Aerosmith, guitarist, Joe Perry, and singer, Chris Mann.