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Anthony Zador

Professor & Group Leader @Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory 

I have been on the faculty at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory since 1999, serving as Chair from 2008-2018.

As a graduate student at Yale, I trained in theoretical neuroscience and neural networks. During this time collaborated with Christof Koch, who was then at Caltech. Along the way I also obtained an MD degree, from Yale.

I then did postdoctoral work on synaptic physiology with Chuck Stevens at the Salk Institute.

When I came to CSHL I decided to study sensory processing and decision-making in rodents. At that time no one had yet developed a rodent behavior comparable to the classic two-alternative choice paradigms used to study decision making in nonhuman primates. Therefore, in collaboration with my close (former) colleague Zach Mainen, we set out to develop such a paradigm.

This paradigm is now used by many labs to study sensory processing and decision making in rodents, and has emerged as a well-established alternative to traditional primate studies.

Around 2010 I embarked upon a new line of research: Barcoding neurons, to enable us to use high-throughput sequencing technology to readout the brain’s wiring diagram. We are now using these tools to understand circuits in the auditory cortex and elsewhere.

As a postdoc I also organized a series of workshops on Neural Information and Coding. I then broadened the scope of these and founded the annual Computational and Systems Neuroscience (COSYNE) meeting, which now draws over 900 participants, and is arguably the leading meeting on theoretical and systems neuroscience. I am also a founder of NAIsys, a meeting at the intersection of AI and neuroscience.

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