Students & Researchers

Affiliated Postdoctoral Fellows and Researchers


Donna Bilak

Lecturer in Discipline

Donna Bilak’s research interests encompass early modern European history of science and alchemy, early modern emblem culture, as well as 19th-century jewelry history and technology. Dr. Bilak’s doctoral research reconstructed the life and times of a 17th-century Puritan alchemist who operated in England and America, and she was the 2013-14 Edelstein Postdoctoral Fellow at the Chemical Heritage Foundation in Philadelphia where her research focused on analysis of the Atalanta fugiens (1618), an alchemical emblem book that encodes laboratory technologies using music and images. Dr. Bilak has lectured extensively on the topics of early modern alchemy as well as jewelry history throughout North America and Europe, abstracts of past presentations can be found at her website.


Jenny Boulboullé

Lecturer in Discipline

Jenny Boulboullé studied Art History and Roman Languages in Heidelberg, Germany. She continued her studies in Art History and Philosophy in Amsterdam and Maastricht, The Netherlands. Her research focuses on hands-on experiences, practices, materiality, and aesthetics. At Columbia University, Jenny Boulboullé extends her research interests into the pre-modern period and the research field of embodied cognition. She set up an interdepartmental Embodied Cognition Reading group and co-organises Embodied Cognition Workshop events.  At Columbia’s Center for Science & Society, Jenny participates in Prof. Pamela Smith’s The Making and Knowing Project, a collaboration between Columbia University and the Chemistry Heritage Foundation with partnerships in Germany, the Netherlands and other European Countries that will result in the critical online edition of a late sixteenth-century manuscript. The project focuses on the intersections between craft and science and investigates the epistemological significance of artisanal practices for the rise modern of experimental sciences.


Joel A. Klein

Lecturer in Discipline

Dr. Klein specializes in the history of science and medicine in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, with a special emphasis on the interactions among chymistry, medicine and atomism in German universities. He has a particular interest in chymical and medical correspondence in the early Republic of Letters, and focuses on the development of experimental concepts and culture among a diverse group of physicians in Wittenberg and Breslau. Before coming to Columbia, he had several predoctoral research fellowships and also worked on the Chymistry of Isaac Newton Project, where he encoded Newton’s handwritten manuscripts and recreated several of his alchemical experiments in the laboratory. He is currently at work expanding his dissertation into a monograph and working on the Making and Knowing Initiative of the Center for Science and Society.

Presidential Scholars in Society and Neuroscience

2016 Scholars

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Matteo Farinella

Matteo Farinella is a neuroscientist, cartoonist and illustrator. After completing a PhD in neuroscience at University College London in 2013, Matteo has been creating comics and illustrations to make science accessible to a wider audience. He is the author of Neurocomic (Nobrow 2013) a scientific graphic novel published with the support of the Wellcome Trust, and he has collaborated with universities and educational institutions to visualize academic research. As a Presidential Scholar in Society and Neuroscience, Matteo will investigate the role of ‘visual narratives’ in science communication. Working with science journalists, educators and cognitive neuroscientists, his project aims to understand how these tools may affect the public perception of science and increase scientific literacy.

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Nori Jacoby

Nori Jacoby is a computational neuroscientist specializing in audition. His research examines auditory perception from a cross-cultural perspective using computational and experimental methods. Additional interests include studying rhythmic entrainment in ensemble synchronization and the application of machine-learning techniques to model aspects of musical syntax. He received his Ph.D. from the Edmond and Lily Safra Center for Brain Sciences at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and was a postdoc at Josh McDermott’s Computational Audition Lab in the Brain and Cognitive Sciences Department at MIT, and a visiting postdoctoral researcher at Tom Griffith’s Computational Cognitive Science Lab at UC Berkeley. Nori is also active as a composer/performer, and has written music for various ensembles including Mongolian overtone singers. In 2009, he released a CD with his band Tafillalt on John Zorn’s Radical Jewish Culture Label, Tzadik.

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Lan A. Li

Lan A. Li is a historian of the body and filmmaker. She will receive her PhD in Science Technology and Society Studies from the HASTS program at MIT. There, she explored a comparative history of body mapping among practitioners in China and Britain throughout the 20th century. Her work centers on how representations of peripheral sensation through hand-drawn maps cohered and conflicted with different understandings of health and disease. As a documentary filmmaker, Lan has also collaborated with integrative practitioners in India, Brazil, and China. She seeks to expand these collaborations across disciplinary and geographic boundaries. Lan is an alumna of the Paul and Daisy Soros Fellowship for New Americans, and as a new Scholar in the Presidential Scholars in Society and Neuroscience program, will take on a comparative history of numbness.

2015 Scholars


David Barack

David Barack is a neuroscientist and philosopher. His neuroscientific investigations target the neural circuits of foraging decisions in humans and nonhuman primates. He is particularly interested in how primates search for information, how information is encoded in the brain independently of reward, and how information guides inferences about the world. His philosophical research regards the conceptual foundations of cognitive neuroscience, especially the underlying dynamical basis for cognition. He is also interested in how foraging models from biology might provide novel normative grounds for reasoning and whether foraging models can adequately describe how primates reason in complex environments. David completed his PhD in philosophy in 2014 while at Duke University and was a postdoctoral researcher in the departments of neuroscience and philosophy at the University of Pennsylvania.


Ann-Sophie Barwich

Ann-Sophie Barwich is a philosopher and historian of science with specialization in biology and chemistry. Her work is on current and past developments in olfactory research. She received her PhD at Exeter (Egenis/The Centre for the Study of the Life Sciences) under the supervision of John Dupré in 2013, before taking up a postdoctoral fellowship at the Konrad Lorenz Institute for Evolution and Cognition Research. Her thesis examined classification and modeling strategies through which scientists have linked odors to a material basis (botanical, chemical, molecular-biological, neurophysiological), and her postdoctoral project concerned the role of methodology in measurement and wet-lab discovery. As a new Scholar in the Presidential Scholars in Society and Neuroscience program, she will focus on the role of ‘research routines’ in scientific training and practice.


Andrew Goldman

Andrew Goldman is a pianist, composer, and cognitive scientist from San Diego, CA. Andrew completed his PhD in 2015 at the University of Cambridge with Prof. Ian Cross on the cognition of musical improvisation. He performs regularly as a classical pianist in solo and chamber music settings. His composition activities are currently focused on songwriting. Andrew’s original one-act musical entitled “Science! The Musical” was premiered in Cambridge, UK in 2014. Andrew joins the Presidential Scholars in Society and Neuroscience program to conduct research that incorporates neuroscientific methods and theories into research on the cognition of musical improvisation.

Graduate Students

George Aumoithe, PhD student; United States history

Kyoungjin Bae, PhD student; international/global history

Eunsong Cho, PhD student; East Asian history

Sau-yi Fong, PhD student; East Asian history

Angela Giordani, PhD student; Middle Eastern history

Charles Halvorson, PhD student; United States history

Shehab Ismail, PhD student; Middle Eastern history

Abram Kaplan, PhD student; Early Modern European history

Michael (Mookie) KideckelPhD student; environmental history

Ulug KuzuogluPhD student; international/global history

Lei Lei, PhD student; Chinese literature

Shing-ting LinPhD student; East Asian history

Melissa MorrisPhD student; United States history

Sean O’NeilPhD student; Early Modern European history

Tristan RevellsPhD student; Chinese history

Pierre-Etienne StocklandPhD student; Early Modern European history

Yijun WangPhD student; Chinese history

Lan WuPhD student; East Asian history

Yuan Yi, PhD student; Chinese history

Dongxin Zou, PhD student; Chinese history

Former Graduate Students

Roy Bar Sadeh, PhD student; Middle East history (2015)

Ian Bradley Perrin, PhD student; sociomedical sciences (2015)

Laura Foote, PhD student; sociomedical sciences (2015)

Yanjie Huang, PhD student; East Asian languages and cultures (2015)

Aaron Plasek, PhD student; history of science (2015)

Robin Reich, PhD student; medieval Europe (2015)

Peter Roady, PhD student; United States history (2015)

Nataly Shahaf, PhD student; East Asian languages and cultures (2015)

Divya Subramanian, PhD student; international and global history (2015)

Yoki Tomita, PhD student; sociomedical sciences (2015)

Wenrui Zhao, PhD student; early modern European history (2015)

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