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Faculty, staff and students are invited to hear candidates present for the Bloomberg Distinguised Professorship

Socioeconomic Status & Brain Development:
From Science to Policy

Martha Farah - Candidate


Martha Farah, PhD (CV)
Walter H. Annenberg Professor in Natural Sciences
Director, Center for Neuroscience & Society
University of Pennsylvania

Dr. Farah earned her Ph.D. from Harvard in Experimental Psychology in 1983. She has been a psychology professor at the University of Pennsylvania since 1992 and an Annenberg Professor since 2006.  Her many awards include the Science Educator Award from the Society for Neuroscience in 2013 and , in 2007, she received the William James Fellow Award from the Association for Psychological Science for a lifetime of significant  intellectual contributions to the  science of psychology. On her web page  she describes herself as cognitive neuroscientist who works on problems at  the interface of neuroscience and society including the effects of childhood poverty on brain development. Dr. Farah is the author of over 100 articles and authored or co-authored ten books and  has conducted research on a variety of topics in cognitive neuroscience.

The Complex Relationship Between Basic Science, Education, and Public Policy

Martha Farah - Candidate

Dan Willingham (CV)
Professor of Psychology at the University of Virginia




Dan Willingham earned his Ph.D. in cognitive psychology from Harvard University in 1990. He is a professor of psychology in the Department of Psychology at  the University of Virginia where  he has taught since 1992. His research is focused on the application of cognitive psychology to K-16 education. He writes the “Ask the Cognitive Scientist” column for the American Educator magazine and is the author of four books including When Can You Trust the Experts and Why Students Don’t like School? – which focuses on the biological and cognitive basis of learning. He has been critical of learning style theories as unsupported and is an advocate for teaching using scientifically proven methods.

The Social Brain: Understanding Typical and Atypical Development

Rebecca Saxe


Rebecca Saxe (CV)
Associate Professor, MIT, Brain and Cognitive Sciences



Rebecca Saxe is an associate professor of cognitive neuroscience in the Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences at MIT.  She earned her Ph.D. in Cognitive Science from MIT  in 2003.  In 2008, Popular Science Magazine named her as one of the “Brilliant 10” scientists under 40 and in 2012,  she was chosen as a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum.  She has extensively published including journal articles, peer-reviewed conference papers, and book reviews. Her 2009 TED Talk on “How we read each other’s minds” has had over 2 million views. The discussion shares the results of her lab work that uncovers how the brain thinks about other people’s thoughts and judges their actions. Link to TED talk:

Understanding the effects of early life stress on pubertal development, executive function, and risky adolescent behavior: An integrated, life history approach

Bruce Ellis

Bruce Ellis (CV)





Bruce Ellis is a professor of Family Studies and Human Development and the John & Doris Norton Endowed Chair in Fathers, Parenting, and Families at the University of Arizona. Ellis earned his Ph.D. in psychology from the University of Michigan. A prolific writer, he received the George A. Miller Award in 2010 from the American Psychological Association for an outstanding article in general psychology published in the journal – Human Nature. In 2005,Ellis co-authored a book titled Origins of the social mind: Evolutionary psychology and child development. His research interests include adaptive individual differences, developmental psychobiology, and evolutionary psychology. On his Website, Ellis says, “ As an overarching goal of my career, I seek to integrate evolutionary biology and developmental psychology—to create a new field of study, which David Bjorklund and I have called evolutionary developmental psychology.”

Executive Function as a Foundation for Academic and Social-Emotional Skills: Some Lessons from Developmental Neurogenetics

Kirby Deater

Kirby Deater-Deckard (CV)
Professor of Psychology, Professor of Health Sciences,
& Professor of Psychiatry
Carilion School of Medicine
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University


Kirby  Deater-Deckard is  a professor of Psychology and a professor of Health Services at Virginia Tech, and, also, a professor of Psychiatry at the Carilion School of Medicine.   His research work is focused on “The interface of biological and environmental influences on social-emotional and cognitive outcomes in children and adolescence, with an emphasis on inter-generational transmission and individual differences”.  Deater-Deckard earned his doctorate in psychology from the University of Virginia in 1992. His extensive writings can be found in  various journals, book chapters, editorials, and book reviews.  He has written or co-authored four books including Parenting Stress in  2004 and is the director of the developmental science Ph.D. program at Virginia Tech.

Bloomberg Distinguished Professorships

As part of a major gift from philanthropist Michael Bloomberg, the university will endow 50 Bloomberg Distinguished Professors (BDP) whose expertise crosses traditional academic disciplines; they will anchor collaborative, cross disciplinary work. These distinguished faculty members will be recruited from around the world and will serve as human bridges, among disciplines and schools spanning medicine, the humanities, public health, education, social science and engineering. They will carry their work into their teaching, ensuring that the university’s students are equipped to graduate from their classroom into the rea world to sole real problems.