Fellows 2020–2021

  • Columbia University (U.S.A.)

    The neurobiology of decision-making and the roots of conceptualization and abstraction

    2020-2021: Fall

    I trained as a physician at Bangalore Medical College, India and obtained my PhD from the University of Utah in the laboratory of Alessandra Angelucci. In my graduate work, I studied the neural mechanisms of how surrounding context influences the visual perception of objects and scenes. I am currently a research scientist in the laboratory of Michael Shadlen at Columbia University where I study how brains create abstract representations and use them to generate endlessly flexible behavior. I also study how such computations are affected in neurological and psychiatric disorders. 

    An important result of my research is that abstract representations in the brain are constrained by how we intend to act on them. In my tenure at the Academy, I plan to explore how the intentional architecture of our brain can influence and constrain our imagination.

    Web page: https://www.shushruth.net/

  • Columbia University (U.S.A.)

    Making and performing the Nativity scene in Italy

    2020-2021: Fall

    Rachel E. Boyd received her Ph.D. in art history from Columbia University in 2020. Her dissertation, “Invention, Collaboration, and Authorship in the Renaissance Workshop: The Della Robbia Family and Italian Glazed Terracotta Sculpture, ca. 1430–1566,” examined artistic techniques, modes of production, and transmission of craft knowledge within a four-generation workshop.

    Dr. Boyd is the 2017–2020 David E. Finley Fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts; previously, she was Samuel H. Kress Institutional Fellow at the Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florenz – Max-Planck-Institut. She also pursued a research exchange with the University of Glasgow’s Technical Art History Group, focusing on techniques for the examination of polychrome sculpture. Museum experience includes recent curatorial internships at the National Gallery of Art and the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. In Boston, she contributed research for the 2016–2017 exhibition “Della Robbia: Sculpting with Color in Renaissance Florence.”

    Dr. Boyd earned her B.A. in the history of art and Italian at Yale University. She received her M.Phil. in the history of art and architecture from the University of Cambridge, where she was a Gates Cambridge Scholar.

  • The Graduate Center, CUNY (U.S.A.)

    Claims for the return of cultural heritage objects: Latin America

    2020-2021: Fall

    Pierre Losson graduated in international relations from the Institut d’Etudes Politiques of Strasbourg (France). He holds an MA in Arts Administration from the University of Lyon (France), an MA in Latin American and Caribbean Studies from Florida International University, and a PhD in political science from The Graduate Center, CUNY. He held several positions in French cultural centers in Mexico City (Mexico) and Lima (Peru), where he lived for ten years in total. He currently lives in New York City and was an adjunct professor at Hunter College – CUNY, Lehman College – CUNY, and Yeshiva University. His research focuses on cultural policy in Latin America; he has published peer-reviewed articles in scholarly publications (in English and Spanish), among which the International Journal of Cultural Policy, the International Journal of Heritage Studies, and Studies in Conflict & Terrorism.

    Web page: https://pierrelosson.academia.edu/?prem_fnl_first=true

  • Post-doctoral Research Scholar

    Researcher for publications on neuroscience and culture supported by the NOMIS Foundation 


    Matthew Peebles holds a Ph.D. from Columbia University, where he studied both ancient Greek and ancient Near Eastern art and archaeology. His research, focusing on the codification and cross-cultural exchange of key gestural motifs in antiquity, has been complemented by several seasons of archaeological fieldwork at the Sanctuary of Poseidon in Onchestos, Greece. During the 2019–2020 academic year, he served as content manager for Mapping Mesopotamian Monuments, a survey of monuments and architecture in Iraqi Kurdistan, southeastern Anatolia (Turkey), and southern Iraq.

    Funding for his research at the Academy is provided by NOMIS, a private Swiss foundation; he is assisting David Freedberg in preparing two books on the topic of neuroscience and culture.

  • Princeton University (U.S.A)

    Trading empires: imperial state and capitalist merchants in Venice and Egypt, 1000–1350 CE

    2020-2021: Spring

    Lorenzo Bondioli is a social and economic historian specializing in the medieval Mediterranean and the Middle East. His research destabilizes Eurocentric narratives of capitalist origins by shedding light on the interplay of commercial capital and imperial state structures in the preindustrial world. His doctoral dissertation, “Peasants, Merchants, and Caliphs: Capital and Empire in Fatimid Egypt, 900-1200 CE,” reconstructs the political economy of Egypt at a time when the country was the pivot of the Afro-Eurasian world system. Using the unique evidence afforded by the Cairo Geniza in conjunction with Arabic documentary and literary sources, Bondioli’s work calls for a re-centering of Egypt in the global, longue durée history of capitalism.

    At the Italian Academy, Bondioli will work on his next project, investigating the rise of the Venetian merchant class as a development inscribed within the political economy of Mediterranean empires. Bondioli’s long-term ambition is to start an interdisciplinary conversation among scholars working on different extra-European contexts and jointly elaborate a new narrative of the history of capitalism, in order to better understand not only capitalism’s historical origins, but also its current transformations.

    Web page: https://history.princeton.edu/people/lorenzo-bondioli

  • Columbia University (U.S.A.)

    Pathogenic role of tubulin tyrosine ligase and delta-2 tubulin in Alzheimer’s disease

    2020-2021: Fall and Spring

    Dr. Julie Parato is a postdoctoral scientist at Columbia University Irving Medical Center. Dr. Parato’s research focuses on changes in microtubule dynamics and tubulin post-translational modifications in Alzheimer's disease. Her work centers on how these alterations contribute to the hyperphosphorylation of tau, synaptic loss and neurodegeneration.

    Dr. Parato received her PhD in Neural and Behavioral Sciences from the Department of Physiology and Pharmacology at SUNY Downstate in New York. Prior to that, she received her MS in Molecular Biology from Long Island University. She has also served as a mentor for the New York Academy of Sciences and as an adjunct assistant professor for CUNY in Biology and Psychology.

  • Columbia University (U.S.A.)

    Preservation in practice: U.S. Southern architecture for fire prevention

    2020-2021: Fall

    Weinberg Fellow in Architectural History and Preservation

    Jonah Rowen is an architectural historian and educator whose work focuses on the intersections between architectural technics and construction, economics, environments, materials and commodities, and labor. He received his Ph.D. from the Columbia University Graduate School of Planning and Preservation, with a Certificate from the Institute for Comparative Literature and Society. There, he wrote a dissertation on buildings' design and production, figured as technologies of risk management and security, in the setting of nineteenth-century Anglo-Caribbean colonialism and exchanges. His research for that project was based on documents from archives in the Caribbean and the U.K., including business records, architects' drawings and other forms of accounting, and their written correspondence with other building professionals, from engineers, fabricators, and builders to insurance agents. Close analysis of drawings constitutes an especially significant mode of evidentiary study in his scholarly work. He holds a Master of Architecture from Yale University, and has taught at Rice University, the Parsons School of Design, the Cooper Union School of Architecture, Columbia University and Barnard College, and the Southern California Institute of Architecture. Among his publications are essays in Grey Room, Log, and Pidgin, and he was a founding editor of Project: A Journal for Architecture.

  • University of Cambridge (U.K.)

    Consulting Director for the NOMIS Project on Prehistoric Mobility and the Spread of Agriculture in Eurasia. 

    2020-2021: Fall and Spring

    NOMIS Foundation Fellow

    Dušan Borić received his Ph.D. from the University of Cambridge and was a Senior Lecturer at Cardiff University in the United Kingdom before joining Columbia's Italian Academy to work with the NOMIS Foundation Project on migrations and mobility. He is an anthropological archaeologist interested in dynamics of culture change and cultural transmission processes. His primary foci have been foraging and the first farming societies in the Balkans and in the eastern Mediterranean. He has written about various aspects of mortuary and corporeal symbolism, including the study of personal adornments and representational imagery, mortuary practices, social memory, and household archaeology in prehistoric periods. He is also interested in the integration of science-based methodologies and archaeological interpretation, primarily in relation to bioarchaeology, archaethanatology, palaeodietary studies, and radiocarbon dating in conjunction with Bayesian statistical modeling.

    His published volumes include Archaeology and Memory (2010) and Past Bodies: Body-Centred Research in Archaeology (2008), the latter co-edited with John Robb. His most recent monograph, Deathways at Lepenski Vir: Patterns in Mortuary Practice (2016), explores the role of mortuary data in reconstructing diverse practice-based rituals and perceptions of the living and dead body throughout the Mesolithic and Neolithic use of this iconic site of European Prehistory. Methodologically, the book provides a comprehensive case for the necessity of integrating archaeological and bioarchaeological data. He has conducted archaeological field work at a number of Palaeolithic, Mesolithic, and Neolithic sites in Serbia and Montenegro, and participated in research projects in Italy, Hungary, Romania, Turkey, and Brazil.

    See more about "On the Move": Prehistoric Mobility and the Spread of Agriculture in Eurasia (the NOMIS Foundation project)

  • Columbia University (U.S.A.)

    Cognitive economics of the habitus

    2020-2021: Spring

    Dr. Arthur Prat-Carrabin is a Postdoctoral Research Scholar in the Cognition and Decision Lab of the Economics department at Columbia University. Dr. Prat-Carrabin is interested in the cognitive mechanisms by which the human brain constructs internal representations of external variables, and in how these mechanisms impact behavior and decision-making. A first axis of his work focuses on inference and the formation of beliefs about uncertain information, while a second axis relates to problems of perception and encoding of external stimuli. Dr. Prat-Carrabin aims at providing theoretical accounts of behavior that are both biologically plausible and grounded in healthy computational principles. His work complements theoretical investigations with behavioral experiments.

    Dr. Prat-Carrabin studied at École Polytechnique, in Paris, France, and obtained his PhD at the École Normale Supérieure de la rue d'Ulm, also in Paris. He joined the Cognition and Decision Lab in early 2018.