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About the YIA Awards

The purpose of the awards is to recognize outstanding contributions by scientists early in their careers. Two awardees, one male and one female, are named by the Awards Committee, and are honored at the CNS annual meeting. Each award includes $500 US to be used by the winners toward travel costs to the meeting, or for any other purpose.

Congratulations to Dr. Daphna Shohamy, Ph.D., Columbia University and Dr. David Badre, Ph.D., Brown University!

YIA special lectures take place on Monday, April 7, 5:00 –6:00 pm, in the Grand Ballroom Salon A-F.


How different forms of learning guide decisions.

Dr. Daphna Shohamy, Ph.D.Columbia University


Learning is central to adaptive behavior. From robots to humans, the ability to learn from experience turns a rigid response system into a flexible, adaptive one. How are decisions shaped by past experience? What are the neurobiological and cognitive mechanisms that allow everyday experiences to change the way we perceive and act in the world? Work in my lab aims to address these questions. We take as a starting point a longstanding idea in cognitive and systems neuroscience: that the brain learns in different ways by using multiple specialized learning systems. Implicit learning of habits is thought to depend on the striatum and its dopaminergic inputs, while explicit memory for specific episodes depends on the hippocampus. Surprisingly, however, despite progress in mapping these different forms of learning to different areas in the brain, the separation of learning into distinct systems has left open crucial questions about the nature of the interactions between them, the kinds of representations they build, and their role in guiding decisions. Work in my lab has made progress on these questions by adopting an integrative approach that draw on neuroscience to make predictions about how different forms of learning guide behavior. These predictions are tested with behavioral, imaging, patient, and pharmacological studies. Together, results emerging from this work challenge the traditional view of learning systems and advance understanding of the mechanisms by which multiple forms of learning interact to guide decisions and actions.

About Daphna Shohamy, Ph.D.

Daphna Shohamy is an associate professor in the department of Psychology at Columbia University and a member of the Kavli Center for Brain Science. Work in Shohamy’s lab investigates the neural mechanisms of learning, memory and decision making in humans with an emphasis on how these processes interact. She received her PhD in Neuroscience from Rutgers followed by a postdoctoral fellowship at Stanford University. Dr. Shohamy is the recipient of a National Science Foundation Career Development Award (2010), the Association for Psychological Science Janet Spence Award (2011), Columbia’s Distinguished Faculty Award (2012), and a Young Investigator Award from the Society for Neuroeconomics (2013).


Hierarchical organization of the lateral prefrontal cortex

 Dr. David Badre, Ph.D., Brown University


The prefrontal cortex (PFC) is known to be necessary for flexible and adaptive behavior. However, the functional organization of the PFC, if any, remains controversial. In this talk I will describe a line of research testing the hypothesis that lateral frontal cortex may be organized hierarchically along its rostro-caudal axis. Evidence from human fMRI and lesion studies of rule following and learning will be presented that support functional differences between rostral and caudal frontal cortex. I will then discuss recent work suggesting that this apparent hierarchical functional organization may emerge from overlapping loops between lateral frontal cortex and the striatum.

About David Badre

David Badre received his B.S. from the University of Michigan in 2000, and his Ph.D. from the Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences at MIT in 2005. Following a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of California, Berkeley, he joined Brown’s Department of Cognitive, Linguistic, and Psychological Sciences as Assistant Professor in 2008. He is also an affiliate of the Brown Institute for Brain Science and a trainer in the Neuroscience Graduate Program. His lab at Brown focuses on the cognitive neuroscience of memory and cognitive control with an emphasis on frontal lobe function and organization.


Previous Winners


Uta Noppeney, Ph.D., University of Birmingham, UK
Tor Wager, Ph.D., University of Colorado


Adam Aron, Ph.D., University of California San Diego Roshan Cools, Ph.D., Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behaviour


Michael J. Frank, Ph.D., Brown University
Elizabeth Kensinger, Ph.D., Boston College


Kara Federmeier, University of Illinois
Adam Anderson, University of Toronto


Lila Davachi, New York University
Clayton Curtis, New York University


Charan Ranganath, University of California Davis
Kevin Ochsner, Columbia University
Rebecca Saxe, Massachusetts Institute of Technology


Silvia A. Bunge, University of California
Steven Laureys, MD, University of Liège


Frank Tong, Vanderbilt University
Alumit Ishai, University of Zurich


Sabine Kastner, Princeton University
Kevin LaBar, Duke University


Anthony Wagner, Stanford University
Eleanor Maguire, University College London


Roberto Cabeza, Duke University
Sharon Thompson-Schill, University of Pennsylvania


Isabel Gauthier, Vanderbilt University
Randy Buckner, Washington University Saint Louis