Sigma Xi to Welcome Animal Behaviorist Cynthia F. Moss, Ph.D., as Keynote Speaker
Monday, March 5, 2018
by Gordon Kender
The Saint Joseph’s University Chapter of Sigma Xi, the scientific research society, will host the 29th annual research symposium on Friday, April 20. Guest speaker Cynthia F. Moss, Ph.D., professor in psychological and brain sciences and in neuroscience at Johns Hopkins University, will deliver a keynote address from 5 – 6p.m. in the Wolfington Teletorium in Mandeville Hall.
The symposium is open to both undergraduate and graduate students who perform research in the areas of engineering, mathematics, computer science, and the natural and social sciences. Abstract guidelines are available for any interested students.
Moss’s keynote address is free and open to the public. Registration is required and is open until March 26.
Sigma Xi prioritizes bringing speakers who are excellent orators, as well those with a prestigious reputation in their fields of study. “My goal was to select someone who works with animal behavior in an interesting and novel way,” says Alexander Skolnick, Ph.D., assistant professor of psychology and president of Saint Joseph’s University’s Sigma Xi chapter.
Moss’s research group studies the processes of spatial perception, attention, learning and memory — systems used by humans and other animals to direct their actions and navigate the natural environment. Moss and her lab members employ methods to collect multi-channel wireless recordings from free-flying bats, which allows for the study of brain systems in animals engaged in natural behaviors.
“Dr. Moss has designed a room for testing that uses multiple high-speed cameras and microphones to capture the specific direction the bat directs its calls,” Skolnick explains. “Her set-up is very sensitive, and she can even detect which way the bat is facing and directing its calls.”
Moss received a bachelor’s from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst and a Ph.D. from Brown University. She was a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Tübingen, supported by NATO and AAUW postdoctoral fellowships, and a research fellow at Brown University before accepting a faculty appointment at Harvard University. Moss was a professor in the psychology and ISR departments at the University of Maryland from 1995 to 2014, before joining Johns Hopkins.
A fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, Moss was recognized with the University of Maryland Regents Faculty Award for Research and Creativity. She has edited two books and published over 100 chapters and research articles.