At Columbia’s Zuckerman Institute, we believe that understanding how the brain works — and gives rise to mind and behavior — is the most urgent and exciting challenge of our time. Led by Nobel laureates Eric Kandel, MD, and Richard Axel, MD, we study critical aspects of the mind and brain, gaining insights that promise to benefit people and societies everywhere.
Associate professor Daphna Shohamy, PhD, studies learning and memory — both how we memorize facts and how we slowly learn habits. She has discovered that there’s a lot more “cross-talk” between these two forms of learning than previously thought, raising questions about what different parts of the brain are doing as we learn, and how what we learn affects the decisions we make.
Associate Professor Randy Bruno recently discovered that the upper and lower regions of the cerebral cortex (the part of the brain that controls higher brain functions) work independently — despite the fact that they are tightly interconnected. He is now leading efforts to identify the behavioral roles each distinct region plays both in health and in disease.
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