The Simons Foundation is honoring the memory of neuroscientist Krishna Shenoy by renaming its undergraduate research fellowship the Shenoy Undergraduate Research Fellowship in Neuroscience, or SURFiN.
“Given Krishna’s commitment to mentorship, naming the SURFiN program after him was a great way to honor his legacy,” says Alyssa Picchini Schaffer, vice president and senior scientist for the Simons Foundation’s neuroscience collaborations. “It’s appropriate that the next generation of neuroscientists will be trained and supported through a program that honors him.”
The SURFiN program sparks and sustains interest in neuroscience among undergraduate students from diverse backgrounds underrepresented in neuroscience research. SURFiN Fellows gain hands-on in-person research experience in neuroscience labs supported by the Simons Foundation under the mentorship of doctoral students, postdoctoral researchers and early-career scientists.
SURFiN is a joint initiative from the Simons Collaboration on the Global Brain (SCGB), the Simons Collaboration on Plasticity and the Aging Brain (SCPAB) and the Simons Foundation Autism Research Initiative (SFARI). Shenoy was an SCGB Investigator and a seminal figure in developing the dynamical systems approach now widely used to understand and model the nervous system and its functions. Shenoy’s work on the dynamical systems approach was central to the 2014 launch of the SCGB, Picchini Schaffer says.
Shenoy died in January 2023 at 54, after a years-long battle with pancreatic cancer. He had directed Stanford University’s Neural Prosthetic Systems Lab. His group researched how the brain controls movement, and designed medical systems to better assist people with limited mobility.
In addition to his research prowess, those who knew Shenoy remember him as a profoundly kind, devoted friend and mentor. He nurtured collaboration at his lab and launched the careers of dozens of neuroscientists and engineers. That legacy of collaboration and mentorship of early-career researchers will live on in SURFiN, Picchini Schaffer says.