Faculty Steering Committee

The DIBS Faculty Steering Committee is charged with setting the strategic direction and priorities for DIBS to facilitate the most exciting interdisciplinary research in the Brain Sciences at Duke. They achieve this goal by collaborating with faculty, departments, donors, and staff to facilitate research, graduate education, and cross-disciplinary collaboration. Members of the FSC are: 

Geraldine Dawson

Geraldine Dawson, Chair

Dr. Dawson directs the Duke Center for Autism and Brain Development and is Professor in the departments of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences, Pediatrics, and Psychology & Neuroscience at Duke. Her research focuses on early detection and treatment of autism spectrum disorder, and the impact of intervention on the developing brain. She is a licensed practicing clinical psychologist and scientist.

Rachel Alison Adcock

Rachel Alison Adcock

Dr. Adcock, DIBS Associate Director, is Associate Professor of Psychiatry & Neurosciences and Neurobiology in the Duke School of Medicine and Associate Professor Psychology & Neuroscience in Trinity College of Arts & Sciences. She directs the Center for Cognitive Neuroscience and is Associate Director in DIBS. Her research focuses on understanding how brain systems for motivation support learning and how behavior changes biology.

Nicole Calakos

Nicole Calakos

Dr. Calakos is Professor of Neurology, Neurobiology and Cell Biology in the Duke School of Medicine. She studies human learning, adaptation, and memory. The cellular process by which neuronal connections change in response to experience is known as “synaptic plasticity.” Dr. Calakos and her colleagues seek to understand molecular mechanisms for synaptic plasticity, identify when they have gone awry in neurological diseases, and target them for therapeutic interventions.

Kafui Dzirasa

Kafui Dzirasa

Dr. Dzirasa is Associate Professor of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences in the Duke School of Medicine. He is the first African-American to complete a PhD in Neurobiology at Duke, from which he received his MD. His research focuses on rethinking how we diagnose, view, and treat mental illness. He hopes to reveal links between brain circuit malfunction and symptoms of mental illness, with the ultimate goal of producing neuroelectrical stimulation remedies.

Tobias Egner

Tobias Egner

Dr. Egner is Associate Professor of Psychology & Neuroscience in the Trinity College of Arts & Sciences. He and his colleagues seek to understand the cognitive and neural mechanisms of adaptive behavior, the ability to flexibly match thoughts and actions to changing circumstances. We pursue this endeavor via an integrative cognitive neuroscience approach that bridges the domains of perception, memory, attention, action, control, and decision-making.

Warren M. Grill

Warren M. Grill

Dr. Grill is Edmund T. Pratt Jr. Professor of Biomedical Engineering in Duke’s Pratt School of Engineering, as well as Professor of Neurobiology and Neurosurgery in the Duke School of Medicine. His research employs engineering approaches to understand and control neural function. We work on fundamental questions and applied development in electrical stimulation of the nervous system to restore function to individuals with neurological impairment or injury.

Scott Huettel

Scott Huettel

Dr. Huettel is Professor and Chair of the Department of Psychology & Neuroscience. He researches the brain mechanisms underlying economic and social decision making; collectively, this research falls into the field of “decision neuroscience” or "neuroeconomics." His laboratory uses fMRI to probe brain function, behavioral assays to characterize individual differences, and other physiological methods (e.g., eye tracking, pharmacological manipulation, genetics) to link brain and behavior.

Stephen Lisberger

Stephen Lisberger

Dr. Lisberger is Professor and Chair of the Department of Neurobiology in the School of Medicine. He is also George Barth Geller Professor for Research in Neurobiology. He and his research team investigate how the brain learns motor skills, and how we use what we see to guide how we move. Their approaches involve studies of eye movements using behavior, neural recordings, and computational analysis, and their work is done on behaving non-human primates. 

Nicole Lewellyn Schramm-Sapyta

Nicole Lewellyn Schramm-Sapyta

Dr. Schramm-Sapyta, DIBS Associate Director, studies many aspects of addiction, a complex disease with genetic, psychological, and societal causes and consequences. Much of her research has focused on adolescents, and she has shown that  is one factor in determining vulnerability:  adolescent drug takers are less susceptible to the negative (use-limiting) effects of drugs of abuse, such as hangover. More recently, she has become interested in the goal of eliminating the stigma attached to addiction and the addicts themselves. 

Walter Sinnott-Armstrong

Walter Sinnott-Armstrong

Dr. Sinnott-Armstrong is Chauncey Stillman Professor Practical Ethics, with appointments in the Department of Philosophy in Trinity College of Arts & Sciences, Kenan Institute for Ethics, and the Center for Cognitive Neuroscience. His current work is on moral psychology and brain science, as well as uses of neuroscience in legal systems. He also has interests in artificial intelligence.

Leonard Edward White

Leonard Edward White

Dr. White, DIBS Associate Director, is Associate Professor in Neurology in the Duke School of Medicine. He is a recognized expert in the structure of the human brain, the organization of the visual parts of the brain, and the influence of experience on brain development in early life. He is a co-author and co-editor of a major textbook of neuroscience and has created free open online courses for the Coursera MOOC platform followed by more than 100,000 people in 190 nations. He also co-directs the Brain and Society theme of Duke’s Bass Connections initiative and directs neuroscience courses for medical students and undergraduates at Duke.