Daphna Shohamy is Director and CEO of the Mortimer B. Zuckerman Mind Brain Behavior Institute. In this role, she works with Co-director Richard Axel, on the scientific, financial and administrative management of the Institute. She is also working to establish and direct a new cognitive neuroscience center. In 2021, Columbia University named Dr. Shohamy to lead its Kavli Institute for Brain Science and appointed her Kavli Professor of Brain Science. She is a principal investigator at the Institute, a valued teacher and mentor in the Department of Psychology and a member of the training faculty for the Columbia Doctoral Program in Neurobiology and Behavior. She is also an important contributor to undergraduate education at Columbia, teaching the science of the brain and mind to the entire incoming class of college students as part of Columbia’s Core Frontiers of Science course.
As Chief Operating Officer, Jennifer Farris directs the Zuckerman Institute’s administrative operation, working closely with the Institute's scientific leadership to reinforce strategic goals and long-term success. In this role, Farris is the senior administrative officer representing the Institute within Columbia’s administrative organization.
Farris has deep expertise in customer service, project management and operational effectiveness. She also has an abiding commitment to scientific discovery and research. Before joining Columbia’s Zuckerman Institute, Farris held multiple leadership roles at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI). After 15 years in the hospitality industry, Farris joined HHMI to launch the campus services operation at the Janelia Research Campus. Over the course of 12 years, Farris’ role continually expanded. Most recently, she served as HHMI’s Chief Administrative Officer where her role included administrative oversight of 15 remote science operations offices that supported activities for over 300 principal investigators and their research laboratories across the country.
Farris is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where she holds a BA in English and History.
Barbara Han is responsible for delivering a comprehensive facility service model to all faculty and staff at the Zuckerman Institute. She and her team serve as direct liaisons between researchers and departments across Columbia University to support a smooth and proficiently operated scientific research facility.
Prior to joining the Institute, Han spent 29 years as the laboratory manager at Columbia University Irving Medical Center. She has also spent nearly 20 years supervising the construction and renovation of lab spaces within Columbia University Medical Center. She received her bachelor’s in medical laboratory sciences from Hunter College School of Health Sciences and possesses two masters degrees; an MBA from Fordham University’s School of Business and an MPH from Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health.
Paige Lyne and her team are financially responsible for the Institute and associated faculty members and laboratories. This includes management of the Institute’s annual budget and review of accounts. Her team assists Institute researchers with all grant-related activities, including budget development and administrative requirements, as well as pre- and post-award activities.
Before joining the Zuckerman Institute, Paige served in the finance departments at Columbia University Irving Medical Center’s Mailman School for Public Health, Columbia’s Center for the Study of Science & Religion and the Earth Institute. Prior to Columbia, she was a volunteer teacher in South Africa and worked at America’s Promise, a youth & community development nonprofit in Washington, DC. Paige received her bachelor’s in History from Georgetown University and an MBA from the New York University Stern School of Business.
As Director of Team Science and Scientific Director of Cellular Imaging at Columbia's Zuckerman Institute, Darcy Peterka offers a combination of both commercial systems and creates collaborative, custom-designed advanced imaging platforms to spur innovative research.
Prior to joining the Zuckerman Institute, Dr. Peterka was Director of Technologies at Columbia’s NeuroTechnology Center, and a research scientist with Rafael Yuste. He spent many years at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, received a PhD in chemistry from the University of California at Berkeley, and holds a BA in Mathematics from Cornell University.
Lorraine Smith directs all Human Resources and Academic Appointments at the Zuckerman Institute.
In her role, Lorraine partners with University colleagues and Zuckerman Institute scientific and administrative leadership to implement strategies and streamline operations to meet the professional needs of the Institute’s research labs, scientists and administrative staff.
Lorraine has worked at Columbia University for 15 years, most recently serving as Senior Executive Director of Human Resources and Academic Affairs at Columbia Business School. Prior to her role at the Business School, she led human resources at the Neurological Institute, Columbia University Irving Medical Center, and before that, worked on marketing initiatives at New York Hospital. Lorraine holds a Master's degree in Social Work from NYU, a Bachelor's in Management from Pace University, and earned a Certificate in Business Excellence from Columbia Business School.
Tanya Tabachnik’s department creates new technologies that marry imagination and engineering in order to empower scientists to answer fundamental questions about living systems and how the brain works. Her hand-picked team designs and develops solutions that are elegant, efficient and cost-effective. She and her team have built everything from a device that maps the steps of a fruit fly to materials that function inside the brain without harming it. Bringing to life new tools that drive cutting-edge research requires more than clever engineering. Her team's innovations start with the close relationships being built with clients. They have experience translating the needs of researchers and shaping their dreams into workable plans for success.
Tanya comes to the Zuckerman Institute from Janelia Farm Research Campus of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, where she led and managed the Mechanical Engineering and Fabrication Department. In that capacity, she and her team designed and customized scientific instruments and tools for neuroscience research. She earned her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Engineering from Moscow State Technological University.
The Zuckerman Institute Communications team is dedicated to sharing the extraordinary research and discoveries at the Institute with broad audiences. Amy Weil manages the creation of tailored communications strategies that explore and explain the Institute’s groundbreaking science. Amy and her team work closely with Institute scientists and staff to create written content and multimedia, including videos and infographics, to convey the urgency and excitement of the brain science research at the Institute.
Amy joined Columbia’s Zuckerman Institute from George Soros’s global philanthropy, where she partnered with people and non-profits around the world to promote human rights and social justice. Prior to this, Amy worked at the national headquarters of the American Civil Liberties Union and helped implement national news campaigns to promote racial justice, LGBTQ rights, drug policy reform and other civil liberties issues.