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Transforming Education Through the Science of Learning Award Winners




Shawna Angelo, MEd Shawna Angelo, MEd, is a Science of Teaching and Learning Lead at the Delta County School District in Colorado where she works to put the science of learning into practice. She is also a Health and Wellness Coordinator at her school district and an occupational therapist.




David H Rose, PhD is a developmental neuropsychologist and educator whose primary focus is on the development of new technologies for learning. In 1984, he co-founded CAST, a not-for-profit research and development organization whose mission is to improve education, for all learners, by combining an inclusive perspective and findings from the cognitive neurosciences, technology, and design. That work has grown into a new field called Universal Design for Learning which now influences educational policy and practice throughout the United States and many other countries. Dr. Rose is a prolific author of academic articles as well as books for the general educational audience including Universal Design for Learning: Theory & Practice (2014) and Teaching Every Student in the Digital Age: Universal Design for Learning (2002). Dr. Rose has also taught at the Harvard Graduate School of Education for over three decades and continues to work with CAST in an emeritus roll.




Bruce D McCandliss, PhD is a Professor at the Stanford Graduate School of Education, Professor of Psychology at Stanford University, and the head of the Educational Cognitive Neuroscience Laboratory at Stanford University. His research uses the tools of developmental cognitive neuroscience to study individual differences and educational transformations in key cognitive skills such as attention, language, literacy, and mathematics. After earning his PhD at the University of Oregon in 1997 under the mentorship of Michael Posner, he pursued postdoctoral training at the Center for the Neural Basis of Cognition, an interdisciplinary center combining University of Pittsburg’s Learning Research and Development Center and Carnegie Mellon University. In 1999 he became one of the founding faculty members of the Sackler Institute for Developmental Psychobiology at Cornell University’s Medical College in New York City, where he was awarded the Presidential Early Career Award in Science and Engineering (PECASE) for his work in linking early literacy interventions to brain mechanisms. In 2009, he accepted the Patricia and Rodes Hart Chair at Vanderbilt University before departing for Stanford in 2014.




Daniel T. Willingham, PhD is Professor of Psychology at the University of Virginia, where he has taught since 1992. He is an expert on the brain basis of learning and memory. Currently, his research concerns the application of cognitive psychology to K-16 education. Daniel Willingham is one of the nation’s most responsible and effective translators of psychological science to educational practice. He is adept at synthesizing seemingly divergent literatures and working across multiple levels-of-analysis to construct evidence-based, usable knowledge for educational practices. He is the author of Why Don't Students Like School?, When Can You Trust the Experts?, Raising Kids Who Read, and The Reading Mind.




Kou Murayama, PhD is an Associate Professor of Psychology and Cognitive Neuroscience at the University of Reading in the United Kingdom where he runs the Motivation Lab. Dr. Murayama's research on motivation has potentially large implications for the field of education. His research focuses on a number of questions about the function and the architecture of human motivation from both theoretical (especially focusing on the theories of achievement goals, intrinsic motivation, and reinforcement learning) and practical (especially educational) perspectives. Some of these questions revolve on how motivation can enhance learning, the nature of intrinsic motivation, and metamotivation. His laboratory uses a multi-method approach by drawing upon a variety of methodologies such as behavioral experiments, large sample surveys, neuroimaging (i.e., fMRI), experience sampling, meta-analysis, behavioral genetics analysis, mathematical modeling, and intervention in order to understand motivation from different perspectives.




Fumiko Hoeft, MD, PhD is an Associate Professor of Child & Adolescent Psyschiatry and Director of the Hoeft Laboratory at the University of California, San Franscisco. Dr. Hoeft’s current research program focuses on brain development, and brain mechanisms underlying skill acquisition such as language and reading, and educationally relevant concepts such as motivation, mindset, grit and stereotype threat. Her group examines brain development in children using various neuroimaging techniques. She is particularly interested in identifying how biology (gene) and environment influence the development of language, social and executive brain networks and in developing practical (clinical and educational) applications of neuroimaging.




Joanna A. Christodoulou, EdD is an Assistant Professor Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders at the MGH Institute of Health Professions at Massachusetts General Hospital. At MGH, she leads the Brain, Education and Mind (BEAM) Team which is dedicated to conducting research to improve student outcomes by investigating factors contributing to the prevention of reading challenges, the identification of protective characteristics, and optimizing individualized interventions. Dr. Christodoulou's primary research focus has been the development of reading and related skills, and approaches to harnessing individual variability to improve educational outcomes.




David B. Daniel, PhD is a Professor in the Department of Psychology at James Madison University. He is the managing editor of Mind, Brain and Education, the journal of the International Mind, Brain and Education Society. Dr. Daniel is the recipient of the Robert S. Daniel Teaching Excellence Award from the American Psychological Association Division 2.  He was featured in Princeton Review’s 300 Best Professors and is author of  “Promising principles: Translating the science of learning to educational practice” (2012, Journal of Applied Research in Memory and Cognition).



Daniel Ansari, PhD is an Associate Professor at the University of Western Ontario in Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience. Formerly, he was an Assistant Professor in the Department of Education at Dartmouth College.  His research investigates the neural basis of numerical cognition in the adult brain using behavioral as well as functional and structural brain imaging methods. Dr. Ansari is interested in forging connections between Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience and Education as part of the new field of Mind, Brain and Education 




Helen J. Neville, PhD is currently the Robert and Beverly Lewis Endowed Chair and Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience, Director of the Brain Development Lab, and Director of the Center for Cognitive Neuroscience at the University of Oregon in Eugene. Her major research interests are the biological constraints and the role of experience in neurosensory and neurocognitive development in humans. She has received many honors including being elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, is a member of the Board of Governors of the Cognitive Neuroscience Society, the Academic Panel of Birth to Three and is active in many educational outreach programs.




Donna J. Coch, EdD is Associate Professor/Chair in the Department of Education at Dartmouth College. Her research interests range from the development of cognitive and linguistic processes to brain behavior and reading development.  The primary goal of Coch’s most recent research, through the Reading Brains Lab at Dartmouth College’s Department of Education is to make meaningful connections between the fields of developmental cognitive neuroscience and education. She is also a member of the Faculty at the Graduate Program, Department of Psychological & Brain Sciences, Dartmouth College.



Kurt S. Fischer, PhD is a pioneering researcher who studies cognitive and emotional development and learning from birth through adulthood.  He is a Harvard University Professor and the Director of the Harvard Graduate School of Education’s Mind, Brain and Education program.  Professor is the founding president of the International, Mind, Brain and Education Society and founding editor of Mind, Brain and Education. His research includes students’ learning and problem solving, brain development, concepts of self in relationships, cultural contributions to social-cognitive development,early reading skills, emotions, child abuse, and brain development.



Mary Helen Immordino-Yang, Ed.D. is an affective neuroscientist and human development psychologist who studies the neural, psychophysiological and psychological bases of social emotion, self-awareness and culture and their implications for development and schools. She is an Assistant Professor of Education at the Rossier School of Education, an Assistant Professor of Psychology at the Brain and Creativity Institute, and a member of the Neuroscience Graduate Program Faculty at the University of Southern California. A former junior high school teacher, she earned her doctorate at the Harvard University Graduate School of Education, where she was the recipient of grants from the Spencer Foundation and the American Association of University Women Educational Foundation. She is the Associate Editor for North America for the award-winning journal Mind, Brain and Education.

Note: Prior to 2018, the award was called "Transforming Education Through Neuroscience Award."