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Dr Pamela Lyon
ARC Postdoctoral Fellow
708 Napier Building
North Terrace Campus

Email: Pamela Lyon
Phone: +61 8 8303 4920
Fax: +61 8 8303 4341


The following philosophers and scientists are currently contributing to the ARC cognitive biology project, either as named participants on the grant or as affiliate members.


Dr Jon Opie,
Chief Investigator

Discipline of Philosophy
University of Adelaide

A cognitive scientist with a physics background, Jon's PhD thesis explored a connectionist approach to consciousness, which formed the basis of a much-cited BBS target article with longtime collaborator Gerard O'Brien. A member of the now-completed McDonnell Project in Philosophy and the Neurosciences, he currently is using a biogenic approach to develop a new model of representation.

Dr Pamela Lyon
Australian Postdoctoral Fellow

Discipline of Philosophy
University of Adelaide

Her award-winning thesis, The Agent in the Organism: Toward a Biogenic Theory of Cognition (2006, Australian National University) led to collaborations with Fred Keijzer and Uli Mathesius, which inspired the cognitive biology project. The framework sketched in her thesis provides the theoretical basis that guides (and thus will be tested by) the project. Inquiries should be directed to Pamela.

Professor Ralph Adolphs
Participating Investigator

Bren Professor of Psychology
and Neuroscience
California Institute of Technology

Head of the Emotion and Social Cognition Laboratory at Caltech, Ralph holds a dual professorial appointment in biology. He is internationally known for his work in emotion (especially recognition of emotional facial expressions) and social cognition. Since his postdoctoral years at the University of Iowa, where he holds an adjunct appointment in neurology, Ralph has engaged in a highly productive collaboration with Antonio Damasio, whose Somatic Marker Hypothesis forms an important part of the theoretical framework used on the cognitive biology project.

Dr Carl F. Craver
Participating Investigator

Washington University of St Louis
A philosopher with a masters degree in neuroscience, Carl's research interests include the philosophy and history of neuroscience and psychology. His work in this area has focused on the nature of explanation, which includes the concepts used in these disciplines and their development over time. His recent book, Explaining the Brain: Mechanisms and the Mosaic Unity of Neuroscience  (Clarendon Press) was nominated for a Times Higher Education Supplement award for the best academic book by a young scholar. 

Dr Fred A. Keijzer
Participating Investigator

Theoretical Philosophy
University of Groningen

A cognitive scientist with a masters in experimental psychology and a PhD in philosophy, Fred heads a research program that already is using case studies of simple organisms (with and without nervous systems) to understand cognition in an embodied, situated and dynamical context. This work grew out of his Representation and Behavior (2001, MIT Press), which identified the neglect of 'basic behavior' by classical cognitive science and its potential importance to explaining cognition.  

Dr Ulrike Mathesius,
Associate Investigator

Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Australian National University

Active in numerous national and international research projects, Uli is a microbiologist whose laboratory investigates quorum sensing, the chemical signaling systems bacteria use to coordinate gene transcription leading to collective behaviour (i.e. virulence, nitrogen fixation, bioluminescence). Her research group specializes in QS-mediated interactions between bacteria and organisms from different kingdoms, such as economically important plants and the worm, Caenorhabditis elegans, a well-known model organism

Professor David O’Carroll,
Associate Investigator

Molecular and Biomedical Science
University of Adelaide

An experimental neurobiologist, David discovered that the fly brain includes ‘higher order’ neurons tuned to the motion of specific image features, such as oriented bars, edges or targets. This and subsequent work illuminated unsuspected sophistication in insect visual processing, more like that exemplified by mammalian visual cortex. Much research in his laboratory is aimed at understanding and modelling neurons involved in the detection of moving features and the 'optical flow' patterns induced by movement as an animal navigates its habitat. 
Affiliate members

Professor Colin Allen

Program in Cognitive Science
University of Indiana

Philosopher and prolific scholar, Colin has been arguing persuasively that cognitive scientists should pay closer attention to the behavior of nonhuman animals for over two decades. An adjunct professor in Indiana's Center for the Integrative Study of Animal Behavior, his research interests include the philosophical foundations of cognitive science, scientific debates between ethology and comparative psychology, and current issues arising in cognitive ethology. He is also a key participant in several major online philosophy initiatives, including the Stanford Encyclopedia.

Dr Rachel Ankeny

Discipline of History
University of Adelaide

Within the history and philosophy of science, in the organizational development of which she has been influential nationally and internationally, Rachel is best-known for her seminal work on the roles of models and case-based reasoning in science, model organisms (especially C. elegans), the philosophy of medicine, and the history of contemporary life sciences. Her current research interests also include the food habits in the Italian diaspora, food ethics, and the relationship of science to cuisine.

Professor Paul E. Griffiths

Department of Philosophy
University of Sydney

A philosopher of biology and psychology, Paul has made original conceptual contributions to several areas at the boundaries of the humanities and science, including evolutionary theory, genetics, affective science and scientific classification. His ground-breaking work on developmental systems theory led to a critique of the concept of innateness and now a major study of human nature. A former Federation Fellow, he holds a joint professional appointment at the ESRC for Genomics and Society at the University of Exeter (UK). 

Dr Karola Stotz

Department of Philosophy
University of Sydney

A biophilosopher undaunted by scientific complexity, Karola is engaged in empirically informed philosophical research at the foundations of cognitive science, genetics (importantly, the concept of the gene), and the nature-nurture debate. A former research fellow in the cognitive science program at Indiana University, Karola and longtime research partner Paul Griffiths introduced the concept of biohumanities, of which the cognitive biology project is an example.    

Professor Janet Wiles

Complex and Intelligent Systems
University of Queensland

Highly experienced in successful multidisciplinary research collaboration, Janet heads Thinking Systems, a major initiative of the leading Australian research funding organizations. The project brings together investigators from multiple disciplines and institutions to study fundamental issues in how information is transmitted, received, processed and understood in biological and artificial systems. At its core is how brains understand spatial systems, both physical and conceptual. She is also an affiliate professor in the Queensland Brain Institute.