a story lives forever
Sign in
Form submission failed!

Stay signed in

Recover your password?
Form submission failed!

Web of Stories Ltd would like to keep you informed about our products and services.

Please tick here if you would like us to keep you informed about our products and services.

I have read and accepted the Terms & Conditions.

Please note: Your email and any private information provided at registration will not be passed on to other individuals or organisations without your specific approval.

Video URL

You must be registered to use this feature. Sign in or register.


What makes the hippocampus so attractive


Becoming a senior investigator at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute
Eric Kandel Scientist
Comments (0) Please sign in or register to add comments

Let me give you one example of how important resources are. The NIH until 10 years ago was funding people quite satisfactorily. But I was extremely fortunate beyond that. In 1983, at Columbia, when my work with Richard [Axel] and with Jimmy [Schwartz] was moving along very well, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute approached the three of us and asked us whether we'd form a Howard Hughes Institute Program in Neuroscience at Columbia. And they've reviewed us, the three of us, and they accepted us. The three of us became investigators, and I was asked to become a Senior Investigator at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.

That was spectacular. First of all it ensured us wonderful support which I still have to this day. I was just renewed a year and-a-half ago. It allowed us to keep Steve Siegelbaum, he was offered a wonderful job elsewhere. We gave him a counter-offer with the Hughes position, which guarantees your salary, and also gives you a good level of support for your research. It allowed us to bring Tom Jessell here, Gary Struhl here. And it's been spectacular as a source of support. So from 1983 on, we've continued to be Hughes investigators which is wonderful. So that has picked up in my case and in Jessell's case, Axel's case, and in Steve's case until recently, the slack that came about as a result of reduction in NIH funding.

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: Howard Hughes Medical Institute

Duration: 2 minutes, 12 seconds

Date story recorded: June 2015

Date story went live: 04 May 2016