Episode 4 - A Glimpse into the Neural Code: Theoretical Neuroscience with Dr. Larry Abbott

Our guest is Dr. Larry Abbott, a pioneer in the field of theoretical neuroscience and also the co-director of the Center of Theoretical Neuroscience at Columbia University. We enjoyed learning about theoretical neuroscience as it relates to the broader neuroscience community from Dr. Abbott through our discussion of so many thought-provoking ideas. 
Experimentalists and theorists often exist in separate scientific circles, but we hope that our interview with Dr. Abbott can help stir up the imagination of scientists in both worlds to bring them together to help explore new frontiers in our understanding of human biology’s biggest remaining mystery. 

Dr. Larry Abbott


Şeydanur Tıkır


Oren Weiss


You can download the transcript of this episode at https://neuronair.org/ep4transcript/


1:33 – Motivation behind Dr. Abbott’s research
2:09 – Introducing Theoretical Neuroscience
3:06 – How the role of theory in the broader neuroscience community has changed over the years
5:25 – Question on postdicting rather than predicting – referring to the Neuron article Theoretical Neuroscience Rising (2008)
7:24 – True value of a model depends on the new insights it provides
8:40 – Tips for establishing collaborations between experimentalists and theorists
12:40 – The greatest contribution of theoretical neuroscience
14:20 – Key features of circuits and species
17:10 – Artificial vs. Biological Networks and Machine Learning
21:54 – The ways of making the best use of connectome data with goal-driven machine learning
25:50 – How are all signals arranged not to interfere with each other even though they are simultaneously there
30:56 – An area of Neuroscience that has been underexplored and that would benefit from theoretical attention
37:49 – Career advice from Dr. Abbott for trainees
39:50 – Episode Summary