A University Central Florida philosophy professor has been selected for a Scialog fellowship by the Research Corporation for Scientific Advancement (RCSA) to help study the molecular basis of cognition.

Luis Favela, an associate professor of philosophy and cognitive sciences at UCF, was selected for the three-year fellowship and joins the ranks of three other UCF researchers who are Scialog fellows.

“I am one of a very, very few philosophers to ever be selected for it,” Favela says.

Favela and 50 other researchers from across the nation will be working on the Scialog theme: Molecular Basis of Cognition.

Scialog stands for science and dialog and was created in 2010 by the oldest scientific institution in the U.S., the RCSA, which was established in 1912. It has supported more than 40 Nobel Prize winners.

“This honor is especially important for UCF’s Department of Philosophy, as it further demonstrates that our faculty are researchers worth paying attention to and honored,” Favela says.

For the Molecular Basis of Cognition theme, Favela and the other fellows will work to develop projects that provide further explanations of the functional architecture of the brain, including understanding how chemical signaling contributes to communication from neuron to neuron.

According to RCSA, these projects will contribute to a variety of brain-related issues, such as recovering from brain injuries and learning how to prevent neurodegenerative disease to advancing neuromorphic computing.

Favela and a neurobiologist from Boston University presented their project proposal —Evaluating the Fractal Brain Hypothesis via Analyses of High Resolution Neuroanatomical, Neuromolecular, and Neurodynamic Distributional Structures — at a recent Scialog meeting held in October. If selected from a highly competitive set of proposals, their team will receive $110,000 to fund the research for one year. The selections of the team will be announced in December 2022.

“This fellowship is an exciting opportunity,” Favela says. “I believe this speaks to my interdisciplinary strengths as a philosopher across various scientific fields, such as cognitive sciences, neuroscience, and psychology.”

Favela received his doctorate in philosophy from the University of Cincinnati, Ohio and joined UCF’s Department of Philosophy and Cognitive Sciences Program, part of UCF’s College of Arts and Humanities, in 2015.