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The joys of scientific research


Nurturing the ideas of post-doc students
Eric Kandel Scientist
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[Q ] You've mentored several dozen or more students in post-docs. Is there any philosophy you try to impart to them in general terms?

No. I think it's important to like your students. And I select students in part because I feel, you know, good communication between the two of us. I respect their ideas, and I fully expect them to generate ideas. One of the things that's so great about having a lab is if you don't have any ideas about a problem, the chances are you students will come up with ideas. And many terrific ideas. I mean, Priya's project, completely her own ideas. Kelsey Martin, this bifurcated culture, I mean, wonderful. Kausik Si, I mean, many, many people I can give example after example.

Eric Kandel (b. 1929) is an American neuropsychiatrist. He was a recipient of the 2000 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for his research on the physiological basis of memory storage in neurons. He shared the prize with Arvid Carlsson and Paul Greengard. Kandel, who had studied psychoanalysis, wanted to understand how memory works. His mentor, Harry Grundfest, said, 'If you want to understand the brain you're going to have to take a reductionist approach, one cell at a time.' Kandel then studied the neural system of the sea slug Aplysia californica, which has large nerve cells amenable to experimental manipulation and is a member of the simplest group of animals known to be capable of learning. Kandel is a professor of biochemistry and biophysics at the College of Physicians and Surgeons at Columbia University. He is also Senior Investigator in the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. He was the founding director of the Center for Neurobiology and Behavior, which is now the Department of Neuroscience at Columbia University. Kandel's popularized account chronicling his life and research, 'In Search of Memory: The Emergence of a New Science of Mind', was awarded the 2006 Los Angeles Times Book Award for Science and Technology.

Listeners: Christopher Sykes

Christopher Sykes is an independent documentary producer who has made a number of films about science and scientists for BBC TV, Channel Four, and PBS.

Tags: Kelsey Martin, Kausik Si

Duration: 54 seconds

Date story recorded: June 2015

Date story went live: 04 May 2016