Carl Schoonover

Associate Research Scientist
Columbia University / Howard Hughes Medical Institute
ces2001 {at} columbia {dot} edu

I am a research scientist in the Axel lab at Columbia University where I work in close collaboration with another experimentalist, Andrew Fink. We are interested in how biological neural networks learn without labels or reinforcement. The model system we have chosen to study this phenomenon is the rodent olfactory pathway.

Here is some recent work on behavioral methods for accessing this somewhat elusive form of learning. And here is some recent work on representational drift in primary olfactory cortex (general-audience description here).

My doctoral work (Ph.D. 2013, Columbia University) under the supervision of Randy Bruno, focused on the microanatomy and electrophysiology of the rodent somatosensory cortex. Before that, I studied logic and analytic philosophy (B.A. 2006, Harvard College; M.A. 2007, ENS/EHESS/Paris 5). During that time I also investigated the molecular mechanisms of synapse development under the supervision of Josh Sanes.

I occasionally teach, most recently a graduate-level course, Topics in Systems Neuroscience.

In parallel to my scientific work, I am interested in the dialog between scientists and non-specialists. In 2008 I cofounded NeuWrite, a working group for scientists and writers. In 2010 I published a visual survey of my discipline, Portraits of the Mind: Visualizing the Brain from Antiquity to the 21st Century.

Writing: Katie Cacouris
Speaking: Charles Yao

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"Early Scheme for a circular Feedback Circle"
From Theoretische Biologie by Jakob von Uexküll (1920)