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New leadership at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory’s Swartz Center for Computational Neuroscience

Cold Spring Harbor, NY — Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL) and the Swartz Foundation recently announced the appointment of CSHL professor Anthony Zador as director of the Laboratory’s on-campus Swartz Center for Computational Neuroscience (SCCN).

Under Dr. Zador’s leadership, young scientists who bring fresh approaches to biomedical research will have the opportunity to take advantage of the unique collaborative nature of CSHL’s research program while expanding current knowledge of the principles and mechanisms of basic brain function.

“The human brain, with its 100 billion neurons, represents the greatest challenge to science today, and CSHL is dedicated to applying the tools of experimental and theoretical neuroscience to finding how we get from those neurons to human emotion, thought, behavior, and memory,” said Bruce Stillman, Ph.D., Laboratory President.

Using computer technology and animal models of learning and cognition, CSHL researchers will test models of how animals solve computationally challenging problems and Dr. Zador is eager to nurture the creativity of post-doctoral fellows. “CSHL’s strength in molecular biology research allows experimental neuroscientists with strong quantitative and technical computer skills to work closely with theoretical neuroscientists and cover the entire spectrum of the brain from molecule to behavior,” Zador said.

The Swartz Foundation supports research on basic principles and mechanisms of brain function through Computational Neuroscience Centers at CSHL and ten other research institutions around the country. “The core research and quantitative modeling at CSHL and other strong comp neuro/theoretical neuroscience centers is aimed at finding fundamental principles missing from our current understanding of the brain,” said Dr. Jerry Swartz, founder and chairman of the Swartz Foundation. “The Swartz Foundation, through the CSHL SCCN, supports research that helps ask the right questions and gives the right answers.”

As one of the leading neuroscience research facilities worldwide, CSHL has pursued sophisticated neuroscience since the late 1980s, making significant discoveries in the understanding of the fundamental processes that govern learning and memory.

“With the support of the Swartz Foundation, we have made a major commitment to the basic understanding of the human brain through this computational neuroscience initiative,” said Stillman. “In collaboration with other centers in the Swartz program, we hope to finally conquer the last frontier in biological science, the human brain, and make meaningful strides against diseases that affect human behavior.”

Dr. Swartz, founder of the Swartz Foundation, echoed Dr. Stillman’s sentiments. “We believe that theoretical and experimental collaboration is a powerful tool to help comprehend the mysteries of the brain. Through a “virtual neuroscience centers” approach, we are creating a sophisticated interdisciplinary strategy to resolve issues of integrated brain functioning. We are delighted to add CSHL to this collaboration, which will strengthen and expedite computational neuroscience research.”

Written by: Public Affairs | | 516-367-8455

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Established in 1994 by Jerry Swartz, the Swartz Foundation seeks to explore the application of mathematical physics, computer science, systems analysis and behavioral psychology to theoretical neurobiology, as a path to better understand the brain/mind relationship. In 2006, a Center for Neural Mechanisms of Cognition was established at CSHL with support from the Swartz Foundation.  For more information, visit

For more information about CSHL’s Swartz Center for Computational Neuroscience, visit

About Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory

Founded in 1890, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory has shaped contemporary biomedical research and education with programs in cancer, neuroscience, plant biology and quantitative biology. Home to eight Nobel Prize winners, the private, not-for-profit Laboratory employs 1,100 people including 600 scientists, students and technicians. The Meetings & Courses Program annually hosts more than 12,000 scientists. The Laboratory’s education arm also includes an academic publishing house, a graduate school and the DNA Learning Center with programs for middle and high school students and teachers. For more information, visit