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Ken Paller Awarded National Science Foundation Grant

NSF initiative supports fundamental research in neuroengineering, brain-inspired design and individuality

  • Paller to study sleep’s role in determining the fate of individual memories
  • BRAIN Initiative brings together multidisciplinary teams to investigate brain-related mysteries
  • NSF funding to help researchers answer fundamental questions about how the brain works

EVANSTON, Ill. --- Northwestern University scientist Ken Paller, who researches the connections between memory and sleep, has received a National Science Foundation (NSF) award for potentially transformative research in neural and cognitive systems. He, along with colleague Kenneth Norman of Princeton University, will use the grant to study sleep’s role in determining the fate of individual memories. 

The program, which will fund multidisciplinary teams across the U.S., brings together scientists and engineers from diverse fields to investigate a brain-related mystery. Paller, professor of psychology at the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences, belongs to one of 16 partnerships receiving these grants. 

The NSF award provides up to $1 million over two to four years.

Paller’s research touches on consciousness, and more specifically, memory, and has been featured in several media outlets including The New York Times. A recent study by Paller showing that sleep-based intervention can at least temporarily reduce implicit social biases appeared in pieces by the Times and NPR. Paller also is director of the Cognitive Neuroscience Program at Northwestern.

The new awards contribute to the NSF’s significant investments in support of The BRAIN Initiative, a coordinated research effort that seeks to accelerate the development of new neurotechnologies to help researchers answer fundamental questions about how the brain works.

“These new projects will explore big, exciting ideas in neuroscience, to push hard against the boundaries of what we know,” said Betty Tuller, NSF program director in the Social, Behavioral and Economic Sciences Directorate, who will help oversee the awards. 

The awards stem from the cross-disciplinary NSF Integrative Strategies for Understanding Neural and Cognitive Systems program, which supports the innovative, integrative, boundary-crossing approaches necessary to advance brain science. 

Learn more about other award winners and NSF’s research initiatives.

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