Professor Churchland is an Associate Professor in the Department of Neuroscience. He is the co-director of the Grossman Center for the Statistics of Mind, and a member of the Kavli Institute for Brain Science at Columbia University. He received his BA in mathematics and psychology from Reed College in Portland Oregon. He received his PhD in neuroscience from the University of California San Francisco, working with Professor Steve Lisberger. His postdoctoral work was with Professor Krishna Shenoy at Stanford University. Professor Churchland’s research focuses on how the brain controls voluntary movement, and focuses on questions such as: how does the brain prepare and generate voluntary movement? What is the key event that triggers a movement, and in doing so turns thought into action? Can we reduce the problem of movement generation to a problem of characterizing the neural dynamics that are necessary to generate muscle activity? If so, how should we then think of upstream ‘cognitive’ processes that determine which movement to make and when to make it?
Professor Churchland is a recipient of the 2012 NIH Directors’ New Innovator Award. He received a 2015 Klingenstein-Simons Fellowship Award, a 2013 McKnight Scholar Award, a 2013 Sloan Research Fellowship, and a 2012 Searle Scholars Award. He was a 2006 recipient of the Burroughs Wellcome Fund Career Award and a 2003 recipient of the Helen Hay Whitney Research Fellowship.