Danielle Bassett

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Danielle Bassett
Bornc. 1981
Alma materPennsylvania State University;
University of Cambridge
Spouse(s)Lee Bassett [1]
ChildrenTwo Sons [1]
AwardsSloan Research Fellowship
MacArthur fellowship
Erdős–Rényi Prize
ONR Young Investigator
Scientific career
Fieldsphysics, neuroscience
InstitutionsUniversity of Pennsylvania
Doctoral advisorThomas Duke, Edward T. Bullmore, Andreas Meyer-Lindenberg

Danielle Smith Bassett (born c. 1981[2]) is an American physicist and systems neuroscientist who was the youngest individual to be awarded a 2014 MacArthur fellowship.[3][4] She was also awarded a 2014 Sloan fellowship.[5] Bassett is the Skirkanich Associate Professor of Innovation at the University of Pennsylvania,[2][6] where she applies network science to the study of learning in the human brain[2] in addition to the study of other complex physical and biological systems. She received a B.S. in physics from Pennsylvania State University in 2004, and her CPGS and Ph.D in physics from the University of Cambridge in 2005 and 2009 respectively.[6] She is a primary researcher in the ongoing DARPA funded Restoring Active Memory (RAM) [7] project being run by the University of Pennsylvania's Litt Laboratory in Philadelphia.

Early life and education[edit]

Danielle Bassett (born Danielle Perry) was born in 1981 and was raised in Lock Haven and Reading, Pennsylvania.[8] Pursuing a passion for medicine, and following the path of her father, she began in the nursing school at the Reading Hospital School of Nursing. After recognizing her passion for mathematics, she sought to combine the concepts of physics and mathematics to neuroscience. She graduated from Pennsylvania State University with a B.S. in physics in 2004.[3] She received the NIH-Cambridge Scholarship and the Winston Churchill Scholarship which allowed her to continue her studies at the University of Cambridge. In 2005 she received her Certificate in Postgraduate Studies from the Churchill College at the University of Cambridge, and in 2009 she received her Ph.D. from King's College, Cambridge.[9]


Danielle Bassett became a postdoctoral associate from 2009–2011 at the University of California, Santa Barbara and a Sage Junior Research Fellow from 2011–2013. She is currently on the faculty of the University of Pennsylvania as the Skirkanich Associate Professor of Innovation in the Department of Bioengineering.[3]

Bassett began her research by applying the concepts of network science and complex systems in order to understand the organization of the brain.[3] She focused on the “small-world” topology of the brain, which refers to networks and the way in which they express dense local clustering and how the presence of connections leads to a short path of communication between distant nodes. Her research team applied mathematical concepts in graph theory to small-world analysis to quantify cortical connectivity. The small-world models she produced introduced a means to understanding the brain's structure and function.[10]

These topological measures developed early in her career were used to examine the cortex and its divisions and wiring to determine the properties that the cortex has. She found that of the various cortical regions, the multimodal portion of the cortex has hierarchical organizations with low clustering, and the transmodal portion was more assortative. Bassett applied these concepts to schizophrenic individuals and noticed that the organization of these portions were abnormal with increasing connection distances. Bassett continues to research the implications of network behaviors on mental disorders, particularly schizophrenia.[11]

She also has worked with Fabio Pasqualetti (currently at University of California, Riverside) to attempt to apply control theory to her studies of the brain;[12] their initial study on the subject was published in 2015.[13]

Bassett and her team have also been conducting research regarding brain flexibility. Brain flexibility is how often a region of the brain switches communication patterns. The more often the brain switches patterns, the more flexible the brain is. They have also found correlations between the ability for the brain to learn and the flexibility of the brain. Her research may have implications in rehabilitation, particularly in patients who have had a stroke.[14]

Awards and honors[edit]

During her undergraduate studies, Danielle Bassett was the sole recipient of the Paul Axt Prize, which is given to a student who demonstrates commitment to inquiry and fosters intellectual curiosity. She was also a Schreyer Honors Scholar and was named the Most Achieving Undergraduate Woman of the Year in 2004. She received the Winston Churchill Scholarship and the National Institute of Health- Cambridge Health Science Scholarship to fund her graduate education. Bassett received the Alumni Achievement Award from the Schreyer Honors College at Pennsylvania State University for extraordinary accomplishment under 35 years of age. She was named American Psychological Society “Rising Star” in December 2012. In January 2014, Bassett won the Sloan Research Fellowship.[9] Most notably, she was one of the 21 winners of the MacArthur Research Fellowship in September 2014.[3] In 2016, she was named one of the ten most brilliant scientists of the year by Popular Science magazine.[15] In 2018, she received the Erdős–Rényi Prize for her “fundamental contributions to our understanding of the network architecture of the human brain".[16]

Personal life[edit]

Danielle Bassett is married to Lee C. Bassett, physics professor at the University of Pennsylvania. They have two children. During her earlier years she enjoyed being a member of the rowing team of King's College, Cambridge.[1] Her twin is Perry Zurn, professor at the Department of Philosophy at American University.[17]

Selected publications[edit]

External links[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "Personal". Complex Systems Group. Archived from the original on 2017-12-31. Retrieved 2015-11-21.
  2. ^ a b c Avril, Tom (September 16, 2014). "Penn researcher Danielle Bassett wins a 'genius grant'". Philadelphia Media Network. Retrieved 17 September 2014.
  3. ^ a b c d e "Danielle Bassett". MacArthur Foundation. Retrieved 17 September 2014.
  4. ^ Lee, Felicia R. (September 17, 2014). "MacArthur Awards Go to 21 Diverse Fellows". The New York Times. Retrieved 17 September 2014.
  5. ^ "2014 Sloan Research Fellows". Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. Archived from the original on 6 October 2014. Retrieved 17 September 2014.
  6. ^ a b "Penn Engineering – Research Directory Profile". University of Pennsylvania. Retrieved 17 September 2014.
  7. ^ "Restoring Active Memory (RAM)". Retrieved September 21, 2019.
  8. ^ Hagan, Molly (June 2015). "Danielle Bassett". Current Biography. 76 (6): 7–11.
  9. ^ a b "Danielle Bassett" (PDF). Retrieved 19 November 2015.
  10. ^ Bassett, D. S.; Bullmore, E. (1 December 2006). "Small-World Brain Networks". The Neuroscientist. 12 (6): 512–523. CiteSeerX doi:10.1177/1073858406293182. PMID 17079517. S2CID 4305469.
  11. ^ Bassett, D. S.; Bullmore, E.; Verchinski, B. A.; Mattay, V. S.; Weinberger, D. R.; Meyer-Lindenberg, A. (10 September 2008). "Hierarchical Organization of Human Cortical Networks in Health and Schizophrenia". Journal of Neuroscience. 28 (37): 9239–9248. doi:10.1523/JNEUROSCI.1929-08.2008. PMC 2878961. PMID 18784304.
  12. ^ Servick, Kelly (2019-04-12). "The trespasser". Science. 364 (6436): 118–121. Bibcode:2019Sci...364..118S. doi:10.1126/science.364.6436.118 (inactive 31 May 2021). ISSN 0036-8075. PMID 30975871.CS1 maint: DOI inactive as of May 2021 (link)
  13. ^ Bassett, Danielle S.; Grafton, Scott T.; Miller, Michael B.; Vettel, Jean M.; Medaglia, John D.; Kahn, Ari E.; Yu, Alfred B.; Telesford, Qawi K.; Cieslak, Matthew (2015-10-01). "Controllability of structural brain networks". Nature Communications. 6: 8414. arXiv:1406.5197. Bibcode:2015NatCo...6.8414G. doi:10.1038/ncomms9414. ISSN 2041-1723. PMC 4600713. PMID 26423222.
  14. ^ "Danielle Bassett: The Flexible Brain". BrainFacts.
  15. ^ Greenwood, Veronique; Willyard, Cassandra (September 13, 2016). "The Woman Who Reimagines How The Brain Works Danielle Bassett is one of the 10 most brilliant people of 2016". Popular Science. Retrieved 28 April 2017.
  16. ^ "Erdős-Rényi Prize for Danielle Bassett". 2018-06-14.
  17. ^ "Danielle Bassett / Personal". Retrieved 27 November 2018.