External Professor, Science Board
Professor and Vincent J. Coates Chair in Molecular Neurobiology, The Salk Institute, Molecular Neurobiology Laboratory
I received my BA in Psychology from Harvard, my MD from Yale, and my PhD in Biophysics from Rockefeller University where I studied mathematics and physics and did experimental research in vision. My long-term goal is to understand the mathematical operations carried out by neural circuits, and my immediate goal is to understand the design principles that underlie the scalable architecture of neural circuits. The immediate goal relates to the long-term goal through the fact that circuit scalability together with the properties of neurons places constraints on the types of operations that the circuit can carry out.
The current research program uses quantitative neuroanatomical and physiological data from brain regions in fish to study scalability. Fish are used because they continue to grow throughout their live, to add new neurons to their brain and retina, and to increase the size and capability of their neural circuits. Design principles identified in fish are then checked to verify that they also hold in mammals.