The New York Academy of Sciences and the Leon Levy Foundation Announce the 2024 Leon Levy Scholars in Neuroscience

New York — The New York Academy of Sciences and the Leon Levy Foundation announced today the 2024 cohort of Leon Levy Scholars in Neuroscience, continuing a program initiated by the Foundation in 2009 that has supported 170 fellows in neuroscience.

This highly regarded postdoctoral program supports exceptional young researchers across the five boroughs of New York City as they pursue innovative neuroscience research and advance their careers toward becoming independent principal investigators. Nine scholars were competitively selected for a three-year term from a broad pool of applications from more than a dozen institutions across New York City that offer postdoctoral positions in neuroscience.

Shelby White, founding trustee of the Leon Levy Foundation, said, “For two decades, the Foundation has supported over 170 of the best young neuroscience researchers in their risk-taking research and clinical work. We are proud to partner with The New York Academy of Sciences to continue to encourage these gifted young scientists, helping them not only to advance their careers but also to advance the cause of breakthrough research in the field of neuroscience.”

Nicholas Dirks, the Academy’s President and CEO said “Our distinguished jury selected nine outstanding neuroscientists across the five boroughs of New York City involved with cutting-edge research ranging from the study of neural circuitry of memory and decision-making, to psychedelic-based treatment of alcohol and substance abuse disorders, to the chemical communication of insects, to the use of organoids to study Alzheimer’s, to vocal learning research in mammals. We are excited to be working with the Leon Levy Foundation to welcome this new group of young neuroscientists to the Academy and the Leon Levy Scholar community.”

The Scholars program includes professional development opportunities such as structured mentorship by distinguished senior scientists, and workshops on grant writing, leadership development, communications, and management skills. The program facilitates networking among cohorts and alumni, data sharing, cross-institutional collaboration, and the annual Leon Levy Scholars symposium held in the Spring of 2025.

The 2024 Leon Levy Scholars


  • Tiphaine Bailly, PhD, The Rockefeller University

Recognized for: Genetically engineering the pheromone glands of ants to study chemical communication in insect societies.

  • Ernesto Griego, PhD, Albert Einstein College of Medicine

Recognized for: Mechanisms by which experience and brain disease modify inhibitory circuits in the dentate gyrus, a region of the brain that contributes to memory and learning.


  • Deepak Kaji, MD, PhD, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai

Recognized for: Using 3D organoids and assembloids to model abnormal protein accumulations and aggregations in the brain, a characteristic of Alzheimer’s Disease.


  • Jack Major, PhD, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai

Recognized for: Understanding the long-term effects of inflammation on somatosensory neurons, cells that perceive and communicate information about external stimuli and internal states such as touch, temperature and pain.


  • Brigid Maloney, PhD, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai

Recognized for: Identifying the transcriptomic (RNA transcript) specializations unique to advanced vocal learning mammals.

  • Amin Nejatbakhsh, PhD, Flatiron Institute

Recognized for: Statistical modeling of neural data to causally understand biological and artificial neural networks and the mechanisms therein.


  • Broc Pagni, PhD, NYU Langone Health

Recognized for: Identifying the psychological and neurobiological mechanisms of psychedelic-based treatments for alcohol and substance use disorders.


  • Adithya Rajagopalan, PhD, New York University

Recognized for:  Examining how neurons within the brain’s orbitofrontal cortex, combine input from other brain regions to encode complex properties of the world that guide decision-making.


  • Genelle Rankin, PhD, The Rockefeller University

Recognized for: Identifying and characterizing how thalamic nuclei, specialized areas of the thalamus responsible for relaying sensory and motor signals and regulating consciousness, supports working memory maintenance.