Rena Selya, Ph.d

From 2013-2014, Dr. Selya researched and co-wrote (with Joel Braslow and Marcia Meldrum) an online history of the first 25 years of the Society for Neuroscience (SfN), 1969-1995, supplemented with video interviews, photographs, and archival documents.  Since its creation in 1969, the SfN and its members have played a major role in shaping our scientific and cultural knowledge of how the brain and nervous system work, in forging a disciplinary identity for the neurosciences, and in helping to promote effective national neuroscience policy. This story draws on the Neuroscience History Archive and materials from SfN, as well as extensive interviews with the leadership and members of the Society.  Following completion of the history project, in 2015-16, Dr. Selya oversaw the transfer of the SfN archives to UCLA for long-term preservation and researcher access. In 2019, Dr. Selya and Dr. Meldrum expanded the SfN history project to cover the first 50 years of the Society’s story. 

Inspired by her experience with the SfN collection, Dr. Selya earned an MLIS at UCLA in 2020, focusing on Archival Studies. She is currently the archivist at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. Her biography of Salvador Luria is forthcoming from The MIT Press. 

research interests

History of 20th century life sciences, including genetics, molecular biology, evolutionary biology and neuroscience; intersection of science and politics in the Cold War; history of cancer research; social and cultural American history.