During the Society for Neuroscience Annual Meeting in San Diego, Dana Alliance member Eric R. Kandel, M.D., was interviewed by the Los Angeles Times on his work, the state of neuroscience, and his most recent books. Deeply affected by the expulsion of his family from his childhood home in Vienna during a heightened time of ant-Semitism and Nazi occupation, Kandel has dedicated his life to understanding memory formation from a variety of perspectives.
Kandel’s view of the biology of the mind acknowledges the benefits of connections and circuits but argues the value of basic molecular investigation as well:
I think simple models are very helpful. I work in parallel on the mouse. I just think deep understanding is better than superficial understanding. Many people think that the task of the neurologist is to understand what is considered the connectome–that is, how neurons connect to one another. But that is a limited insight into what the problems are. One has to know what are the functional connections, not just the anatomical connections and how do they participate in controlling behavior.
Check out other blogs written about Dr. Kandel, including one on a documentary of his life, "In Search of Memory," and another on his views of memory as discussed at a 92nd Street Y event with Elie Wiesel.