Wellesley College

106 Central Street
Wellesley, MA 02481

Research opportunities with faculty affiliated with CBMM: 

Research experience is especially valuable for students interested in pursuing graduate school, or work in a laboratory setting. The CBMM summer research program provides opportunities for undergraduates to conduct research in CBMM labs at MIT and Harvard. Other programs are described on the Wellesley Science Center summer research page. Students can also conduct academic year research with faculty affiliated with CBMM. For more information, contact the individual faculty listed below.

Academic training for graduate study in the science of intelligence: 

Students interested in pursuing graduate work in the science of intelligence should develop background in a range of disciplines that include computer science, neuroscience, cognitive science, and mathematics. There are three majors at Wellesley that incorporate relevant interdisciplinary training: Computer Science, Neuroscience  (especially the Systems and Computational Neuroscience concentration) and Cognitive and Linguistic Sciences (especially the Computer Science concentration). More information on particular courses that provide valuable training for graduate research in this field can be found here.

Faculty in the Wellesley Computer Science department and Neuroscience program provide research opportunities and offer courses for students interested in the interdisciplinary study of intelligence.


Ellen Hildreth
Coordinator for Education, Professor, Department of Computer Science

Ellen Hildreth explores human vision through the creation of computational models of visual processing and observations from perceptual experiments. Her work focuses on the analysis of three-dimensional structure and movement of objects through the integration of cues from image motion and stereo vision, and the use of this information for tasks such as visual recognition and navigation. Prof. Hildreth teaches an advanced course on vision that combines the study of computer vision systems with observations from psychology and neuroscience about the visual processing strategies used in biological systems. She also teaches an introductory course in which students learn the MATLAB programming language and develop valuable computer skills for the support of scientific work.

Mike Wiest
Associate Professor, Neuroscience Program

Mike Wiest’s research explores the physical basis of attention and perception using a neuroscientific approach that relates the activities of neurons to different mental states. His research focuses on sensory integration in rats, attempting to understand how neural activity in different parts of the brain is combined or coordinated to generate a single coherent perception, by recording electrical impulses from many neurons at once while the rats perform behavioral tasks that depend on correctly sensing particular stimuli. Understanding the neural mechanisms of perception could lead to insights into human disorders that disrupt normal perceptual integration, such as Alzheimer’s disease, dyslexia, or attention deficit disorder. In addition to core courses in the Neuroscience program, Prof. Wiest teaches an advanced course in Computational Neuroscience, in which students learn how mathematical modeling and computer simulation can provide insight into the brain’s impressive functions.

Student Spotlight

Heather Kosakowski
Neuroscience major

Heather Kosakowski participated in the 2014 CBMM Summer Research program, working with Lindsey Powell in the Laboratory for Developmental Studies directed by Prof. Elizabeth Spelke at Harvard. Her research explored the basis for the prosocial nature of imitation by exploring whether young infants show a preference for third-party imitators. Using observations of infants’ looking behavior when presented with visual displays of simple cartoon characters engaged in imitative actions, Heather examined whether third-party imitation preferences exist in preverbal 4-month and 7-month old infants, and tested hypotheses about the possible basis for the prosocial nature of imitation. Heather is continuing her research in the Spelke Lab this year.

Learn more about Heather’s research (PDF).