Susan McConnell is the Susan B. Ford Professor in the Department of Biological Sciences at Stanford University. She received her AB and PhD degrees from Harvard University in 1980 and 1987, respectively, and joined the Stanford faculty in 1989. McConnell studies the development of the cerebral cortex, the brain region that controls our highest cognitive and perceptual functions. The nerve cells of the cortex are generated during fetal life; once these cells are 'born,' they migrate over long distances before forming connections with other nerve cells. McConnell explores the mechanisms by which young neurons acquire an identity and establish specific connections. Her studies provide insights into the process of how the brain wires itself up during normal development. McConnell has received recognition for her research and teaching skills, as evidenced by numerous awards which include the Society for Neuroscience Young Investigator Award, a National Science Foundation Presidential Faculty Fellowship, and the Walter J. Gores Award for Excellence in Teaching at Stanford University.