Michael Platt, a Duke University professor of
neurobiology, evolutionary anthropology, and psychology and neuroscience, has
been named director of the Duke Institute
for Brain Sciences (DIBS), Provost Peter Lange and School of Medicine Dean
Nancy Andrews announced this week.
The institute, one of seven interdisciplinary
university institutes at Duke, was created in 2007 following a faculty-led
planning process that grew out of the university's strategic plan. David
Fitzpatrick, the institute's first director, left Duke in January 2011 to
become CEO and scientific director of the Max Planck Florida Institute. Platt
was chosen following an international search for Fitzpatrick's successor.
"The brain sciences are represented at Duke through nearly a dozen
departments, centers, and facilities, many within the School of Medicine,"
Andrews said. "Having an institute like DIBS, with a leader like Michael,
is vital to coordinating efforts across the university."
who has directed the DIBS Center for Cognitive Neuroscience since 2009,
investigates the brain mechanisms responsible for decision-making and social
cognition, using a variety of behavioral, neurophysiological, neuroimaging,
pharmacological and genetic techniques.
"DIBS has been a real catalyst for collaborations across the schools,
departments and other units that work on brain-related research and teaching
across the university," Platt said. "I'm looking forward to expanding
upon the initial successes and deepening the interdisciplinary infrastructure
that is integral to DIBS."
The Institute hosts a suite of research projects centered around four themes:
neurotechnology, circuits and behavior, neurological and neuropsychiatric
disorders, and brain and society. The institute also sponsors three
research working groups, on neurohumanities, addiction, and cognitive and
affective control. In addition to the Center for Cognitive Neuroscience,
DIBS also houses the Duke Center for Interdisciplinary Decision Science
In its first few years, DIBS developed an undergraduate neuroscience major and
helped to jointly appoint a half-dozen new interdisciplinary faculty in
collaboration with several schools and departments.
"Michael has been instrumental in helping to build a collective energy
around the brain sciences at Duke like there has not been in the past,"
Lange said. "His extensive record of collaboration and broad,
multidisciplinary, interests in research, teaching and service make him an
excellent choice to lead DIBS in its next phase of growth."
Platt holds a Ph.D. in biological anthropology from the University of
Pennsylvania. He came to Duke in 2000 after completing a post-doctoral
fellowship in neuroscience at New York University. He is married to Elizabeth
Brannon, an associate professor of psychology and neuroscience at Duke who is
also a member of the Center for Cognitive Neuroscience and DIBS.