Awards & Honors Featured People

Hayoung Song to join WashU as CTCN Fellow

Song, who is completing her PhD at the University of Chicago, will focus on developing a computational understanding of high-level cognition.

The Center for Theoretical & Computational Neuroscience at Washington University has awarded a CTCN Postdoctoral Fellowship to Hayoung Song, who will be joining WashU later this year. Song is completing her PhD at the University of Chicago in the Cognition, Attention, and Brain Lab led by Monica Rosenberg, PhD. In line with the Fellowship’s aim to develop collaborative, interdisciplinary approaches to neuroscience, Song will join the labs of Jeffrey Zacks, PhD, Chair and Professor of Psychological & Brain Sciences, and ShiNung Ching, PhD, Associate Professor of Electrical & Systems Engineering, to build theories that explain complex behaviors in humans.

Hayoung Song
Hayoung Song

“One of the reasons I chose WashU is it has a wide range of neuroscience research, from animal model experiments to computational/theory labs,” said Song. “I don’t want to be a scientist that has a narrow perspective. I want to approach the same question in a multitude of ways. I appreciate the approach of having diverse perspectives, and WashU is a great place because there are so many labs to learn from.”

The CTCN Fellowship supports postdoctoral researchers who seek to forge new collaborations among theoretical and empirical labs at WashU in pursuit of answering some of the most pressing questions in neuroscience and artificial intelligence. Song’s initial project will stem from a model the Zacks Lab generated of event cognition that can perceive continuous events and segment them into meaningful units. Song will bridge expertise from both labs by applying techniques from the Ching Lab to probe deeper into the Zacks Lab’s model and expand it to neural and behavioral data collected from participants.

Applications are open through April 30, 2024 for CTCN Postdoctoral Fellowships.

Learn more and apply »

“We are very excited to have Hayoung join us. She brings a wealth of experience in cognitive dynamics using fMRI, which will be invaluable for her postdoctoral research,” said Zacks.

Song received her bachelor’s degree in Psychology and master’s degree in Biomedical Engineering, both from Sungkyunkwan University in Korea. Her graduate research has largely focused on characterizing large-scale neural dynamics supporting cognitive experiences in humans using data from fMRI in naturalistic contexts, such as listening to stories or watching movies. “I wanted to understand how the brain gives rise to a variety of cognitive processes that we actually experience in the real world. I’ve been focusing on whole brain dynamics because the brain never works in isolation, particularly when it comes to high-level cognition,” explained Song.

Song said her research has investigated cognition through empirical data, and her postdoctoral work will complement this training with computational approaches.

Song was among the presenters at the Computational Neuroscience Next Generation Symposium (CNNG) hosted by the CTCN last year. At this event, senior graduate students were invited to present their thesis research in computational and theoretical neuroscience at WashU. They also networked with the WashU CTCN community, met one-on-one with faculty, and explored St. Louis. “When I visited I was taken aback by the wide range of science and how genuinely nice people were,” Song said. “I appreciated how attentive everyone was to my work and I had great discussions during those two days.” A similar event in Fall 2024 will be announced shortly.