Newsmaker: Marlene Behrmann
Noteworthy: Behrmann was named co-director of the Center for the Neural Basis of Cognition in Oakland, a partnership of Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Pittsburgh dedicated to investigating the neural mechanisms that give rise to human cognitive abilities.
Residence: Squirrel Hill
Family: Husband, David Plaut; sons, Benjamin, 18, Daniel, 14.
Occupation: CMU professor
Background: Behrmann's research combines behavioral investigations and brain imaging techniques with both normal and impaired individuals to identify the areas of the brain that are responsible for visual perception. For example, she explores how the brain quickly works to recognize people by their faces and how it differentiates between objects. She also uses brain imaging to uncover what is happening in the brains of people with developmental disorders, such as autism.
Education: Doctorate in cognitive neuroscience, University of Toronto; master's and bachelor's degrees in speech pathology from the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg.
Quote: “A really good understanding of brain function is going to lead us to think about new ways of treatment and diagnoses for things like Alzheimer's Disease, and a growing understanding of brain circuitry.”