Columbia University in the City of New York

Alan Kanzer Sponsors Unique, New Postdoctoral Program

Gift to support world-class postdoctoral scientists pursuing bold approaches to the study of mind, brain and behavior

NEW YORK – With new funding from Alan Kanzer, Columbia’s Zuckerman Institute has launched the Kanzer Postdoctoral Fellows program to recruit extraordinary, early-career scientists pursuing high-risk, high-reward research. The program stands out by tying the appointments to major topics in mind, brain and behavior, such as behavioral neuroscience and neurogenetics, and fellows are encouraged to carry out their research under the mentorship of more than one faculty member.

“Many of the most dramatic and important advances in science occur at the interfaces of disciplines and specialties,” said Daphna Shohamy, PhD, Director and CEO of Columbia’s Zuckerman Institute and Kavli Professor of Brain Science. “The new fellowships provide a rare flexibility that we hope will attract the kinds of interdisciplinary minds and researchers that we want to join us at the institute.”

The new fellowships provide a rare flexibility that we hope will attract the kinds of interdisciplinary minds and researchers that we want to join us at the institute.

Four inaugural Kanzer postdoctoral fellows will become part of the Zuckerman Institute research community this fall. Two of them, Qihong Lu and Jessica Zung, join Zuckerman from Princeton University. Qihong Lu’s PhD work has focused on computational models of human memory, while Jessica Zung’s graduate studies into animal behavior have combined ecology, evolutionary biology and neuroscience. Yuta Mabuchi joins the institute from Cornell University, where he has been investigating the neural bases for sexual dimorphism. The fourth 2023 Kanzer fellow, Chuyi Su from the University of Connecticut, has been uncovering how cortical processing of visual information differs between alert and non-alert brain states. All of the new fellows have expressed a commitment to building bridges across different areas of research and to supporting their communities inside and outside of the university. 

“We are thrilled to welcome our first Kanzer postdoctoral fellows,” said Daniel Wolpert, PhD, a principal investigator at the Zuckerman Institute and chair of the program’s selection committee. “This new program will strengthen the experiences of postdocs at the institute and help make us among the best places in the world for scientific training.”

Applications for the 2024 class of Alan Kanzer Postdoctoral Fellows are now open.

Alan Kanzer, a member of the Zuckerman Institute’s Brain Trust, has been a generous donor to the institute. He has endowed the Artist-in-Residence and Writer-In-Residence programs, which bring renowned authors, musicians and visual artists to the institute to forge and explore intersections between the arts and sciences. Mr. Kanzer also has provided support for the institute’s Innovation Scholar program for interdisciplinary thinkers in pursuit of discoveries about how minds and brains work. 

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