James Haxby ’73 has revolutionized neuroimaging. He was among the first to mine neural data using tools from machine learning, and his analysis proved that information about object categories is distributed across the cortex; or, as a colleague puts it, thanks to Haxby, cognitive neuroscientists went from “searching for blobs of activity” in the brain to “decoding patterns of activity.” Haxby’s influence can be seen in the more than 70,000 citations of his publications in journals such as Nature and Science.
Haxby worked in the intramural research programs for the National Institute of Aging and the National Institute of Mental Health as a research scientist. He then moved to Princeton University, where he was a professor, and Dartmouth College, where he was the Evans Family Distinguished Professor and Director of the Center for Cognitive Neuroscience at Dartmouth College and the Dartmouth Brain Imaging Center. He currently is on sabbatical as a visiting professor at the University of Bologna. Among other accolades, he received the Distinguished Career Contributions Award from the Cognitive Neuroscience Society.
A Carleton psychology major who earned his PhD in psychology from the University of Minnesota, Haxby lives in Hanover, New Hampshire. His son Andrew is also a Carl, from the Class of 2003.