IAM Lab Founder and Executive Director
Co-Director of the NeuroArts Blueprint
Susan Magsamen is the Founder and Executive Director of the International Arts + Mind Lab (IAM Lab) Center for Allied Neuroaesthetics, a pioneering initiative from the Pedersen Brain Science Institute at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Her body of work lies at the intersection of brain sciences and the arts – and how our unique response to aesthetic experiences can amplify human potential. Magsamen is the author of the Impact Thinking model, an evidence-based research approach to accelerate how we use the arts to solve problems in health, well-being, and learning. In addition to her role at IAM Lab, she is an assistant professor of neurology at Johns Hopkins and serves as co-director of the NeuroArts Blueprint initiative in partnership with the Aspen Institute.
The author of eight books, Susan’s newest book with Random House is Your Brain on Art: How the Arts Transform Us, written with Ivy Ross, Vice President of Design for Hardware at Google. It is a journey through the science of neuroaesthetics that offers proof of how our brains and bodies are transformed when we participate in the arts and aesthetic experiences, and how this knowledge can improve our physical and mental health, help us learn and flourish, and build stronger communities.
IAM Lab Director of Outreach and Education
Karen Alexander has worked in program management, research, and communications across a wide range of education issues at local, state and federal levels. Her areas of expertise include PreK-12 education, social-emotional learning (SEL), and the intersections between neuroscience and mental health.
Prior to joining the International Arts + Mind Lab, Karen served as program director for BrainFutures, a national nonprofit formed to assess and advance the practical application of neuroscience research to improve human outcomes. She has also worked with the Association of Baltimore Area Grantmakers (now the Maryland Philanthropy Network), Baltimore Community Foundation, Communities in Schools of North Carolina, Urban Institute, and ZERO TO THREE State Policy Center.
Karen holds an M.P.A. (Master of Public Administration) from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and an Honors B.A. in Sociology from Brown University. She was also selected as a fellow in the Children’s Defense Fund Emerging Leaders Project.
Sarah Williams Goldhagen
Author and Architecture Critic
Sarah Williams Goldhagen, Ph.D. and former Harvard professor, writes about architecture, landscape, and cities and their effect on human health and well-being. Her Welcome to Your World: How the Built Environment Shapes Our Lives (HarperCollins; also published in Chinese, Russian, and Korean) won a Nautilus Book Award in 2017 for its contribution to social and environmental justice, and Goldhagen was an opening-night Spotlight speaker at the AIA National Convention that same year.
A frequent keynote speaker, Goldhagen has won numerous awards and grants (including three from the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts) for her criticism and writing on modern and contemporary architecture and landscapes, with an emphasis on their psychological and cognitive effects on people. She has published opinion pieces in The New York Times, served as Contributing Editor for Art in America and Architectural Record, and was The New Republic’s Architecture Critic for nearly a decade. Goldhagen also has had a distinguished academic career with scholarly publications that include Louis Kahn’s Situated Modernism (Yale University) and Anxious Modernisms: Experimentation in Postwar Architectural Culture (co-edited with Réjean Legault, MIT Press) as well as numerous essays and reviews in premier architecture- and art-historical journals.
Architect and Founding Board Member and Former President of the Academy of Neuroscience for Architecture (ANFA)
Visiting Scholar and Research Collaborator at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies
Frederick Marks, AIA, LEED AP BD+C, Six Sigma Green Belt, is a Visiting Scholar and Research Collaborator at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in La Jolla, C.A., where he is associated with the Regulatory Biology laboratory and The Vision Center laboratory. Marks has been a licensed architect for over 30 years and has a planning & design specialty in healthcare and laboratory science facilities. He holds degrees in architecture and business administration with a major in real estate & urban land economics. Marks is a founding Board member and former President of the Academy of Neuroscience for Architecture (ANFA) in San Diego, C.A.. He is a former national American Institute of Architects (AIA) Board Knowledge Committee member, advisor to the national AIA Research Summits, and past President of a local AIA chapter. Marks has been an advisor to the National Institute of Building Sciences and Delos WELL Living Laboratory. He currently advises the national ASHRAE Standing Guideline Project Committee on indoor environmental quality, International Child Art Foundation, Wright-Ingraham Institute, and the International Arts + Mind Lab Center for Applied Neuroaesthetics.
Architect and Founder of Reddymade, lecturer at the Columbia University’s Graduate School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation and Cooper Union’s Irwin S. Chanin School of Architecture
Suchi Reddy founded Reddymade in 2002 with an approach to design that privileges the emotional quality of human engagement and experience through spatial and artistic interactions. She is dedicated to celebrating diversity and equality, as well as addressing the economic, social, environmental, and cultural impacts of her work on both the user and the planet. Reddy teaches at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation, and Cooper Union’s Irwin S. Chanin School of Architecture. She was the 2022 Walton Critic at the Catholic University of America, and the Plym Distinguished Professor at the University of Illinois School of Architecture, Champaign–Urbana in 2019, where her work focused on contemporary architectural experience through the lens of neuroaesthetics, neurophenomenology, and sensory design.
Reddy has presented and lectured on the firm’s work at numerous venues including The Salk Institute for the Academy of Neuroscience for Architecture’s annual conference, the University of Illinois, and the University of Wisconsin. She sits on the board of the Design Trust for Public Space, Storefront for Art and Architecture, and Madame Architect; and she is a member of the Dean’s Board of Advisors at Detroit Mercy School of Architecture + Community Development.
Vice President of Hardware Design at Google
Ross and her team created the design language for the Google hardware products that launched in 2017, winning over 240 design awards over the last three years. Previously, she held executive positions ranging from head of product design and development to chief marketing officer and president of several companies, including Calvin Klein, Swatch, Coach, Mattel, Bausch & Lomb, Old Navy, and Gap. Also a jewelry designer, Ross’s metal work in jewelry design is in the permanent collections of 12 international museums, including the Smithsonian in Washington DC.
Ross draws on her background in wide-ranging fields including sound therapy, quantum physics, psychology, and play. One of her most notable innovations is Project Platypus, an experimental design initiative where a core team develops a new brand in an enriched environment over three months; the model has been adopted by Mattel (where she was formerly head of innovation) and Procter & Gamble (on whose design board she served). She is the co-author of the New York Times bestselling book Your Brain on Art: How the Arts Transform Us with Susan Magsamen.