Michael Platt Appointed Penn Integrates Knowledge Professor

Michael Platt has been named the University of Pennsylvania’s 16th Penn Integrates Knowledge Professor, effective July 1.  

The announcement was made today by Penn President Amy Gutmann and Provost Vincent Price.

Platt is a world-renowned neuroscientist whose research focuses on how the brain makes decisions. He will be the James S. Riepe University Professor, with appointments in the Department of Neuroscience in the Perelman School of Medicine, the Department of Psychology in the School of Arts & Sciences and the Department of Marketing in the Wharton School

“Michael’s research,” Gutmann said, “creatively examines some of the most complex, fascinating and fundamental questions regarding individual decision-making and behavior, including why different people make different decisions and how individuals adapt their decision-making under uncertainty and in social situations. He has brought together innovative scholars and researchers from a multitude of relevant disciplines, and his presence at Penn will productively bridge our Perelman School of Medicine, School of Arts & Sciences and Wharton School in pathbreaking areas of neuroscience. Best known for his studies of decision-making, social cognition and attention, Michael exemplifies Penn’s commitment to integrating knowledge in order to address both timely and timeless questions of great societal impact.”

Platt is currently professor of neurobiology, director of the Duke Institute for Brain Sciences and director of the Center for Cognitive Neuroscience at Duke University, where he has taught since 2000. His research has been supported by the National Institutes of Health, Sloan Foundation, Klingenstein Foundation, McDonnell Foundation and Department of Defense, among many others, and featured in such prominent media as The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, National Public Radio, ABC, BBC and PBS. 

He is a former president of the Society for Neuroeconomics and a pioneer of neuroeconomics, the innovative field that fuses economics, psychology and neuroscience to better understand human decision-making. He began his career with a postdoctoral fellowship in neuroscience at New York University, after earning a Ph.D. in biological anthropology from Penn in 1994 and a B.A. cum laude in 1989 in biological anthropology from Yale University. 

“A Penn graduate,” Price said, “Michael returns to campus as not only a brilliant, pathbreaking researcher but also a formidable collaborator. He has a striking track record of building productive partnerships at Duke and with scholars around the world. I am confident that he will quickly galvanize alliances both across and beyond our campus, significantly advancing Penn’s global leadership in neuroscience as well as its connections to some of the most exciting and innovative work being done in psychology and economics.”

The Penn Integrates Knowledge program was launched by Gutmann in 2005 as a University-wide initiative to recruit exceptional faculty members whose research and teaching exemplify the integration of knowledge across disciplines and who are appointed in at least two schools at Penn.

The James S. Riepe University Professorship honors alumnus James S. Riepe, senior advisor and retired vice chairman of the T. Rowe Price Group, who chaired Penn’s Board of Trustees from 1999 to 2009 and the Penn Medicine Board from 2009 to 2011. Before his retirement in 2006, he served as chair of the T. Rowe Price Mutual Funds, oversaw the firm's global mutual fund and institutional investment activities and played an active leadership role in the investment management and mutual fund industries for more than 35 years. 

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