What Excites Me Most About Being A Scientist

What Excites Me Most About Being A Scientist

Posted: December 16, 2011

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“To understand the brain the way we understand the galaxy, the way we understand the atom. That’s what science is – to ask the question “why?” and find the answer.”


Michael E. Goldberg, M.D. has dedicated his life’s career to understanding the way the brain works. Professor of Brain and Behavior in the departments of neuroscience, neurology, psychiatry and ophthalmology at Columbia University, he also directs the Mahoney-Keck Center for Brain and Behavior Research at Columbia University. There, he works with monkeys and through that research has made specific important contributions to understanding the neural processes underlying primate behavior. He established for the first time that visual responses, at the level of the single neuron, could be modulated by non-visual factors such as attention, opening a whole field of physiological exploration of cognitive processes. Last October, Dr. Goldberg was awarded the Goldman-Rakic Prize by the Brain & Behavior Research Foundation for his outstanding achievements in Cognitive Neuroscience Research.

“One of the things I was most interested in in college was logic, and I was fascinated by how the brain could create new knowledge – what seemed like new knowledge – in associating and in creativity. And those same characteristics of what I was interested in in human thought, in thinking, are the very elements of thinking that are disturbed in people with schizophrenia.”

Carol A. Tamminga, M.D. is a highly revered member of the schizophrenia research community. She is chair and professor of the department of psychiatry, vice chair for research and chief of translational neuroscience research in schizophrenia at University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas. She seeks to understand how schizophrenia and related disorders arise and to hasten the translation of laboratory discoveries into innovations in clinical care. A major focus of her laboratory is the investigation of the cognitive, occupational and social deficits seen in schizophrenia, for which treatments are still largely nonexistent. This past October, Dr. Tamminga was honored by the Brain & Behavior Research Foundation with the Lieber Prize  for her outstanding achievements in Schizophrenia Research.