Clark School Home UMD
Return to Faculty Directory

Moss, Cynthia

Cynthia Moss
200B Ames Hall, Johns Hopkins University, 3400 N. Charles St., Baltimore, MD 21218-268

Research Interests 

Auditory information processing, spatial perception and memory; somatosensory signaling, flight control, sensorimotor integration and adaptive behaviors; acoustical, psychophysical, perceptual, computational and neurophysiological studies to advance knowledge in systems neuroscience. The work combines acoustical, psychophysical, perceptual, computational and neurophysiological studies, with the goal of developing integrative theories on brain-behavior relations in animal systems.



Cynthia F. Moss is currently a professor at the Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, MD. She received a B.S. (summa cum laude) from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst in 1979 and a Ph.D. from Brown University in 1986. She was a NATO Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Tübingen (1985-1987) and a Research Fellow at Brown University (1987-1989) before accepting a faculty appointment at Harvard University, beginning in 1989. At Harvard, Dr. Moss received the Phi Beta Kappa teaching award (1992) and was named the Morris Kahn Associate Professor (1994). In 1995, Dr. Moss moved to the University of Maryland, where she was a Professor in the Department of Psychology and ISR until 2014. She served as Director of the Neuroscience and Cognitive Science Program (2004-2007) and is currently Co-Director of the Computer and Signal Processing Core of the NINDS P-30 Center for Comparative and Evolutionary Biology of Hearing. She is a member of the Society for Neuroscience, the Acoustical Society of America, International Society for Neuroethology, and the Association for Research in Otolaryngology. Her lab includes undergraduate, graduate and postdoctoral researchers, supported by funds from NSF, NIH, AFOSR, Howard Hughes, the Whitehall Foundation, and private industry. Dr. Moss received an NSF Young Investigator Award in 1992 and a Berlin Institute for Advanced Studies Fellowship in 2000 and 2008. In 2001, Moss was elected a Fellow to the Acoustical Society of America. Moss and her graduate student, Kaushik Ghose, won first place in the multimedia division of the NSF-AAAS Visualization Challenge in 2004. In 2009 Moss and ISR colleagues Horiuchi and Krishnaprasad were awarded ISR Outstanding Systems Faculty of the Year. In 2010 she was recognized with the University of Maryland Regents Faculty Award for Research and Creativity. She has edited two books and published over 75 chapters and research articles.

Moss’s research program is directed at understanding sensory information processing and adaptive motor control. In the Moss lab, the echolocating bat serves as a model system for a neuroethologically-based study of hearing, tactile sensing, and perceptually-guided behavior. Research combines acoustical, psychophysical, perceptual, computational and neurophysiological studies, with the goal of developing integrative theories on brain-behavior relations in animal systems.

Current behavioral studies focus on the processing of dynamic acoustic signals for the perception of auditory scenes. The aims of this work are to develop a broad understanding of complex signal processing in biological systems and to establish an empirical foundation for integrative models of spatial information processing, the perceptual organization of sound, and adaptive motor behaviors.    

Neurophysiological studies examine how the brain processes sensory information and how this information is integrated with motor programs to permit perceptually-guided behavior. Current experiments focus on somatosensory signaling for flight control and audiomotor integration for spatial perception and goal-directed behaviors. Recent research findings reveal distinct functional specializations in bat brain that are important for the bat's adaptive flight behavior and acoustic orientation by sonar. New directions emphasize neural telemetry recordings from freely behaving animals, which will be used to study brain activity patterns in the context of rich, natural sensorimotor behaviors.

Honors and Awards 

Acoustical Society of America, 2001

University System of Maryland awards
Regents' Faculty Award for Research, Scholarship and Creative Activities, 2010

Related News 

Clark School student teams sweep MAV competition
FIRE freshmen, AE undergrads and MEng Robotics students take first place in both categories at VFS Micro Air Vehicle Student Challenge. May 20, 2019

Spacecraft carrying Adomaitis thin film experiment docks with the International Space Station
The experiment will travel on the ISS for a year, exposing samples to the environment of low earth orbit. November 15, 2018

ISR researchers win additional $948K NSF Neural and Cognitive Systems grant
ISR researchers Cynthia Moss and Susanne Sterbing-D'Angelo, along with alumna Mounya Elhilali and their colleague Rajit Mittal, will conduct the research at Johns Hopkins University. August 9, 2017

You’ll Never Be-Leaf What Makes up This Battery
UMD materials scientists bake oak leaf, add sodium to cook up new large-scale battery possibility January 28, 2016

Elisabeth Smela named ADVANCE Professor
She joins the ranks of five other ISR faculty associated with the ADVANCE program. September 4, 2015

Bats' touch sensor cells enable precision flight
ISR's Moss, Sterbing-D'Angelo among research team publishing results in Cell Reports May 11, 2015

New AFOSR NIFTI Center features eight Clark School faculty
Center will create bio-inspired solutions for small, remotely operated aircraft. April 14, 2015

John Baras elected AAAS Fellow
Baras recognized for accomplishments in multiple fields that mark his career. December 1, 2014

UMD Clark School Highlights Disaster Resilience at Mpact Week
Five-day event focused on role of engineers in disaster prevention, mitigation, and response. November 26, 2014

Alumna Kirsten Bohn's bat song research is Science cover story
At Maryland, Bohn was co-advised by Cindy Moss and Gerald Wilkinson. June 25, 2014

Foraging bats can warn each other to stay away from their dinners
The Maryland researchers are the first to report this ultrasonic social call produced exclusively by flying, foraging male big brown bats. March 27, 2014

Study on Bats, Rats Finds that Analysis of Many Species Is Required to Better Understand the Brain
Questions raised about using a single animal model in neuroscience research. April 18, 2013

Cynthia Moss leads international team studying multimodal sensing
The project will advance critical new insights to how animals process, represent and use multimodal sensory information from the natural environment. March 29, 2013

Cynthia Moss named AAAS Fellow
Moss is recognized for her research in neuroethology. December 11, 2012

View video of Dr. Jane Goodall's campus lecture
ISR Professor Cindy Moss played role in bringing Dr. Goodall to campus. October 19, 2012

Raghavan, Spyropoulos, Daily, Copeland win ISR awards
Outstanding awards presented at special reception in September. September 14, 2012

Cindy Moss is guest on The Diane Rehm Show
Discusses white-nose syndrome, a disease decimating wild bat populations. January 4, 2012

Oct. 9, 9 pm: Moss lab featured in National Geographic's "Brain Games"
In the video, an echolocating blind man visits the BatLab. September 29, 2011

Moss research uncovers bats' systematic 'active sensing' strategies
Research published in PLoS Biology, covered by The New York Times September 22, 2011

Heavy media coverage for bat wing hair research findings
Moss, Sterbing-D'Angelo have been interviewed by print and television reporters. July 28, 2011

Tiny hairs on bats’ wings act as speedometers
Finding could lead to new air speed and stall detectors for aircraft June 21, 2011

New issue of System Solutions available online
Highlights ISR 25th anniversary, new initiatives and more. April 25, 2011

Cynthia Moss named ADVANCE professor
The ADVANCE program will provide support and opportunities for women faculty across the university. February 18, 2011

ISR's busy November: NSF site visit, 25th anniversary dinner, SAC meeting
The Institute for Systems Research held three major events from Nov. 17–19. December 14, 2010

ISR postdoc Chen Chiu wins outstanding paper prize
Journal of Experimental Biology names article on bat flight behavior best of 2010. December 6, 2010

Moss, Horiuchi receive $1.5 million NSF grant for complex settings research
Research will explore processes that support spatial perception and navigation in the echolocating bat. September 30, 2010

Chiu, Reddy, Xian, Krishnaprasad and Moss publish in Journal of Experimental Biology
Research examines behavior among competing bats. September 30, 2010

Martins, Somasundaram, Frazier win awards at ISR's annual ceremony
Congratulations to our outstanding faculty, graduate student and staff member! May 7, 2010

Moss wins DURIP Award for bat fluttering flight control research
High-speed cameras, multichannel acquisition processing system will be purchased. March 29, 2010

Cynthia Moss wins USM Regents' Faculty Award
The award is the highest honor for faculty in the University System of Maryland. March 4, 2010

Moss's findings published in Science reveal bats' fundamental 'targeting' tradeoff
ISR professor and colleagues show Egyptian fruit bats do not aim sonar at targets. February 4, 2010

ISR appoints three new assistant research scientists
Bandyopadhyay, Depireux, Sterbing-D’Angelo to join faculty in July. June 25, 2009

ISR awards ceremony honors faculty, graduate student, staff member
Five individuals honored for outstanding contributions in 2008–2009. June 24, 2009

Paper by Krishnaprasad, Justh, Wei published in Proceedings of the Royal Society A
Paper offers possible evolutionary basis for flight behavior in echolocating bats. February 26, 2009

ISR researcher finds bats are quieter in groups
Cindy Moss theorizes silences are part of bats' 'air traffic control.' August 26, 2008

Moss interviewed in NSF video
ISR professor explains "What It's Like to Be a Bat." June 27, 2008

Vorontsov, Koev, Wei and McKinney win at ISR awards ceremony
Quartet honored for outstanding contributions in 2007–2008. May 28, 2008

Aytekin, Moss, Simon author Neural Computation cover story
Trio writes on "A Sensorimotor Approach to Sound Localization." March 21, 2008

P.S. Krishnaprasad gives Bode Lecture
Winner of 2007 Bode Prize spoke at 46th IEEE CDC Conference. December 10, 2007

ISR faculty host CRCNS Principal Investigators' Meeting
Event at University of Maryland draws 130 participants. June 7, 2007

Echolocating bat research of Cindy Moss featured in Washington Times story
Article covers the scope of ISR faculty member's auditory information processing and sensorimotor integration studies. May 11, 2007

Krishnaprasad, Baras, Moss participating in new MURI awards
ISR faculty on teams researching MANETs, sensor networks and micro air vehicles for Department of Defense. March 8, 2007

Krishnaprasad delivers Munich Mathematical Colloquium lecture
Control expert speaks on "Geometric Control, Cohesion and Pursuit." November 7, 2006

New ISR Systems Solutions available online
Latest ISR newsletter highlights 20 years of research achievements August 21, 2006

Stealth strategy paper by Justh, Krishnaprasad published
Researchers develop simple model that represents the engagement of pursuing bats and their insect prey July 5, 2006

Bats use 'guided missile' strategy
A new study from four ISR researchers shows bats use a guided missile strategy to catch their prey. May 4, 2006

Moss, Ghose work profiled on children's web site
Science News for Kids looks at bat research April 18, 2006

Moss and Ghose research bat signals with clutter
Media reports on work studying how bats separate noise from signal March 8, 2006

Moss, Ghose research published, featured in media outlets
Bat echolocation findings covered by print, TV and online reporters February 7, 2006

Moss is PI for "Innovative Technologies Inspired by Biosonar"
Research will study transformation of sensory information to motor commands for adaptive behaviors. September 8, 2004

Moss, Ghose win first place in Science Engineering Visualization Challenge
Sept 2004—Presentation shows how a bat uses echolocation to find and capture its prey. September 2, 2004

Moss to become director of Neuroscience and Cognitive Science program
June 2004—ISR professor to head cross-campus Ph.D program involving faculty from eight University of Maryland colleges. June 7, 2004

Horiuchi, Ghose, Coriale receive ISR awards
May 2004—Annual awards ceremony honors faculty, students, staff. May 1, 2004

Moss and Horiuchi receive five-year, $1.6 million grant
NIH's grant was awarded for their work in "Dynamic Sensorimotor Control for Spatial Orientation" February 4, 2004

Moss, Horiuchi win $1.6 million NIH grant
Research to study the integration of auditory information with motor programs for spatially-guided behavior in mammals. February 3, 2004

Moss, Horiuchi lead Neuroscience Symposium
Symposium part of Bioscience Research and Technology Review Day. November 8, 2003

Cindy Moss's bat research features on NPR
Story explores acoustic communication by animals August 7, 2003

Shamma, Horiuchi, Baras, Krishnaprasad, Moss awarded acoustic sensors contract
Team will develop intelligent and noise-robust interfaces for MEMS acoustic sensors for DARPA April 10, 2000