Why Brain Scientists Should Fail

2015 Global Thinkers Miguel Nicolelis and Anthony Zador discuss the importance of funding creative neuroscience experiments when — and especially when — the outcome is unknown.


In this week’s Global Thinkers podcast, Duke’s Miguel Nicolelis and Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory’s Anthony Zador explore the significant discoveries of the past year that have brought the world one step closer to understanding the most perplexing part of the human body: the brain. FP Executive Editor for Print Mindy Kay Bricker hosts.

About the participants:

Miguel Nicolelis is a 2015 Global Thinker, neuroscientist, and professor at Duke University. He recently published findings showing how his team was able to successfully sync the brain activity of monkeys so they could collectively accomplish tasks, such as move an avatar arm. The “Brainet,” as it’s called, could eventually be used to connect a stroke patient with, say, a physical therapist to aid in recovery. Nicolelis is also the founder of the Walk Again Project, which is developing an exoskeleton to assist paralyzed patients in regaining mobility.

Anthony Zador is a 2015 Global Thinker, neuroscientist, and professor at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory in New York. Earlier this year, he and his team were able to determine, by slicing into a brain and studying its neural makeup, what a mouse had learned prior to its death. If scaled up, the science could be used to create a postmortem map of memories and even help us understand disorders like Parkinson’s.

Mindy Kay Bricker is the Executive Editor for Print at FP. Follow her on Twitter: @mindykaybricker.

This podcast was recorded at FP’s annual Global Thinkers celebration in Washington, D.C.

Subscribe to the Global Thinkers podcast and other FP podcasts on iTunes here.

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