Fellowships & Grants

KIBS offers a range of awards to help graduate students, post-grads, and early-career investigators extend their research and advance in the field.


Kavli Travel Scholarships

These awards provide promising graduate students with the opportunity to attend the annual Society for Neuroscience Meeting, where they present their original research. Graduate students in any department in Columbia University may be nominated by their advisor, provided the student has submitted a first-author abstract to the Society for Neuroscience. The nomination period is typically announced in May/June for that fall's meeting.


• 2019 – Marissa Applegate (Aronov Lab), Ben Hobson (Sims Lab), Dan Lowes (Harris Lab), Georgia Pierce (Bruno Lab), Naveen Sendhilnathan (Goldberg Lab), Leslie Sibener (Costa Lab), Nicholas Singletary (Gottlieb Lab)

• 2018 – Briana Chen (Denny Lab), Rachel Clary (Lumpkin Lab), Jung Park (Bruno Lab), Yuriy Shymkiv (Yuste Lab), Nicholas Singletary (Gottlieb Lab), Gabriel Stine (Shadlen Lab), Melina Tsitsiklis (Jacobs Lab)

• 2017 – Macayla Donegan (Seigelbaum Lab), Sharon Kim (Hillman Lab), Jessica Kohn (Behnia Lab), Jonathan Lovas (Yuste Lab), Eduardo Perez-Torres (Przedborski Lab), Naveen Sendhilnathan (Goldberg Lab), Melina Tsitsiklis (Jacobs Lab)

• 2016 – Christophe Dupre (Yuste Lab), Ori Lieberman (Sulzer Lab), Georgia Pierce (Bruno Lab), Sam (Cheng) Qian (Grueber Lab), Jennifer Scribner (Mason Lab), Mary Youssef (Dranovsky Lab), Andrew Zimnik (Churchland Lab)

• 2015 – Anita Burgos (Grueber Lab), Christophe Dupre (Yuste Lab), Gamaleldin Elsayed (Cunningham Lab), Abigail Russo (Churchland Lab), Ju Yang (Sahin Lab)

• 2014 – Jeff Seely (Churchland Lab), Austen Sikto (Mason Lab), Lindsay Tannenhoz (Hen Lab), Wujie Zhang (Ken Miller Lab)

• 2013 – Mariel Kozberg (Hillman Lab), Tim Machado (Jessell Lab), Alejandro Ramirez (Bruno Lab), Joe Schumacher (Woolley Lab), Joseph Stujenske (Gordon/Siegelbaum Lab), Jeff Zeremba (Losonczy Lab)

• 2012 – Charlotte Barkan (Kelley Lab), Yushu Chen (Chalfie Lab), Kara Marshall (Lumpkin Lab), Dave Jangraw (Sajda Lab), Krista Spiller (Henderson Lab), Kim Robinson (Di Paolo Lab)

• 2011 – Hideaki Yano (Javitch Lab), Linda Lee (Arancio Lab), Mike Lovett-Barron (Losonczy Lab), David Schneider (Wooley Lab), Kiyohito Iigaya (Fusi Lab), Carl Schoonover (Bruno Lab)

• 2010 – Avidshek Adhikari (Gordon Lab), Christopher Peck (Salzman Lab), Christine Constantinople (Bruno Lab), Juliet Davidow (Shohamy Lab), Greg Wayne (Abbott Lab)


Kavli Award for Distinguished Research in Neuroscience

Established to recognize the best doctoral dissertation in the neural sciences each year: we seek to reward work that is original, raises provocative questions about the field, and/or provides exceptional conceptual advances. Nominations are sought from all of the basic and physical sciences departments across the University. Graduate students who have completed their pre-doctoral work (successful thesis defense and deposit) in a given calendar year (from January 1 through the following February Columbia conferral deadline) are eligible for nomination (typically announced in January/February and due in April, awarded in May).

2018 Recipients: Blair Jenkins (Advisor: Ellen Lumpkin): "Elucidated molecular and cellular mechanisms that mediate touch receptor development in mammalian skin" AND Raphael Gerraty (Advisor: Dapha Shohamy): "Brain network mechanisms in learning behavior."

Past Recipients:

• 2017 – Jessica Jimenez (Advisor: René Hen): "The role of the ventral hippocampus in anxiety-related behavior."

• 2016 – Sze Yen ‘John’ Kerk (Advisor: Oliver Hobert); "Diversification of Caenorhabditis elegans motor neuron identity via selective effector gene repression" AND Alana Mendelsohn (Advisor: Tom Jessell); "Specifying neurons and circuits for limb motor control."

• 2015 – Timothy Machado (Advisors: Tom Jessell and Liam Paninski); "Probing circuits for spinal motor control" AND Chaogu Zheng (Advisor: Martin Chalfie); "Genetic basis of neuronal subtype differentiation in Caenorhabditis elegans."

• 2014 – Ann Kennedy (Advisor: Larry Abbott); "Representation and learning in cerebellum-like structures."

• 2013 – Fred Hitti (Advisor: Steve Siegelbaum); "Gentically targeted anatomical and behavioral characterization of the cornu ammonis 2 (CA2) subfield of the mouse hippocampus."

• 2012 – Xiaoyin (Robert) Chen (Advisor: Martin Chalfie); "Modulation of touch sensitivity in Caenorhabditis elegans."

• 2011 – Priya Rajasethupathy (Advisor: Eric Kandel); “Novel small RNA mediated gene-regulatory mechanisms for long-term memory.”

• 2010 – Ben Matthews (Advisor: Wes Grueber); “Dendrite self-avoidance is controlled by Dscam and counterbalances attractive guidance signaling in Drosophila.”

• 2009 – J. Nicholas Betley (Advisor: Tom Jessell); “Stringent specificity in the construction of a presynaptic inhibitory circuit.”

• 2008 – Yevgeniy Sirotin (Advisor: Aniruddha Das); “Multi-wavelength imaging of cortical activity patterns in V1 of alert monkeys.”


Kavli Postdoctoral Fellowships

KIBS encourages investigators to take their research in novel directions by incorporating the collaborative expertise other Institute labs: one-year Postdoctoral Fellowships provide salary support to a fellow working on such joint projects. Request for applications typically announced in March and due in May for awards starting July 1st.


• 2019 – Anne Loffler (Shadlen Lab and Wolpert Lab); Sam Benezra (Bruno Lab, in collaboration with Hillman Lab)
• 2018 – Fabian Muñoz Silva (Ferrera Lab
• 2017 – Fabio Stefanini (Hen Lab and Fusi Lab)
• 2016 – Krishna Jayant (Yuste Lab and Shepard Lab)
• 2015 – Antonio Lara (Churchland Lab and Cunningham Lab)
• 2014 – Chris Rodgers (Bruno Lab, in collaboration with Fusi Lab)
• 2013 – Visiting Professor: Misha Tsodyks (Neurotheory)
• 2012 – David Tsai (Shepard Lab, in collaboration with Yuste Lab); Liam Drew (Hen Lab, in collaboration with Siegelbaum Lab)
• 2011 – Yashar Ahmadian (Miller Lab, in collaboration with Paninski Lab); Alex Saez (Salzman Lab, in collaboration with Fusi, Siegelbaum, and Axel Labs); Himanshu Mhatre (Gottlieb Lab)
• 2010 – Ana Ipata (Goldberg Lab, in collaboration with Salzman Lab)



Kavli Grants

These small, competitive awards provide an opportunity for KIBS investigators to fund pilot projects that may be too unorthodox to receive funding through traditional avenues, enabling them to generate the preliminary data to go on to apply for NIH funding. Priority is given to projects that involve inter-lab collaboration (at least one of the collaborating investigators must be a member of KIBS). Request for applications typically announced in March and due in May for awards starting July 1st.

Kavli funding enabled KIBS Investigator Vince Ferrera, in the Department of Neuroscience, to pair up with Elisa Konofagou in the Department of Biomedical Engineering to develop a potentially revolutionary method for intravenous drug delivery. They are refining a novel minimally invasive technique developed by Dr. Konofagou (Focused Ultrasound) to carry pharmacological agents across the blood-brain barrier and deliver them to targeted brain regions in primates. This could have the potential to revolutionize therapies for neurological disorders, and in basic science research replace more invasive techniques such as intracranial microinjection. This work has already resulted in two peer-reviewed publications:
1. Tung YS, Marquet F, Teichert T, Ferrera V, Konofagou EE (2011) Feasibility of Noninvasive Cavitation-Guided Blood-Brain Barrier Opening Using FUS and Microbubbles in Non-Human Primates. Applied Physics Letters 98:163704.
2. Marquet F, Tung Y-S, Teichert T, Ferrera VP, Konofagou EE (2011) Noninvasive, transient and selective blood-brain barrier opening in non-human primates in vivo. PLoS One 6(7):e22598.

Above: localized, ultrasound-induced blood-brain barrier opening (red region)in the primate hippocampus (white dashed contour) through the intact skull in vitro


Kavli Scholars

The Kavli Scholars program is an opportunity to support faculty members through a shared naming opportunity at the University between the Kavli Foundation and other partners. Two matching donors have been been established so far to establish one Simons-Kavli Scholar (through the generosity of Marilyn and Jim Simons), and two Grossman-Kavli Scholars (through partnership with the Sanford Grossman Charitable Trust). Each Kavli Scholar will be selected from among the entire Columbia faculty community, on a competitive basis, by the director and co-directors of KIBS at Columbia, in consultation with an external advisory group. Faculty recipients will be appointed for a 3-year period, on a rotating basis, to ensure flexibility in funding support across the range of relevant faculty at critical stages in their research programs.

Randy Bruno: Grossman-Kavli Scholar, 2013-2015

Rudy Behnia: Grossman-Kavli Scholar, 2018-2020

Attila Losonczy: Simons-Kavli Scholar, 2019-2021