In This Episode

  • In this episode of Intel on AI host Amir Khosrowshahi talks with Jeff Lichtman about the evolution of technology and mammalian brains.



Guest: Jeff Lichtman

Professor of Molecular and Cellular Biology at Harvard

Evolution, Technology, and the Brain - Intel on AI Season 3, Episode 13

Jeff Lichtman is the Jeremy R. Knowles Professor of Molecular and Cellular Biology at Harvard. He received an AB from Bowdoin and an M.D. and Ph.D. from Washington University, where he worked for thirty years before moving to Cambridge. He is now a member of Harvard’s Center for Brain Science and director of the Lichtman lab, which focuses on connectomics—mapping neural connections and understanding their development.

In the podcast episode Jeff talks about why researching the physical structure of brain is so important to advancing science. He goes into detail about Brainbrow—a method he and Joshua Sanes developed to illuminate and trace the “wires” (axons and dendrites) connecting neurons to each other. Amir and Jeff discuss how the academic rivalry between Santiago Ramón y Cajal and Camillo Golgi pioneered neuroscience research. Jeff describes his remarkable research taking nanometer slices of brain tissue, creating high-resolution images, and then digitally reconstructing the cells and synapses to get a more complete picture of the brain. The episode closes with Jeff and Amir discussing theories about how the human brain learns and what technologists might discover from the grand challenge of mapping the entire nervous system.

Academic research discussed in the podcast episode: