Neuroscientist Larry Abbott Elected to National Academy of Sciences

April 29, 2014

Laurence Abbott, PhD, the William Bloor Professor of Neuroscience, was elected to the National Academy of Sciences in recognition of his distinguished and continuing achievements in original research.

Election to the NAS is one of the highest honors in science. Each year the Academy elects no more than 84 new members, who must be U.S. citizens, and 21 foreign associates. NAS has about 2,200 members and 400 foreign associates; approximately 200 have received Nobel prizes.

Dr. Abbott trained as a physicist and worked in theoretical particle physics at the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center, CERN, the European center for particle physics, and Brandeis. He began his transition to neuroscience research in 1989 and joined Columbia in 2005 as co-director of the Center for Theoretical Neuroscience.

Using computational modeling and mathematical analysis, Dr. Abbott explores how single neurons respond to synaptic inputs, how neurons interact in neural circuits, and how large networks of neurons represent, store, and process information in processes including olfaction, motor-pattern generation, and memory and decision-making.

Dr. Abbott is a faculty member in the Neuroscience and  Physiology & Cellular Biophysics departments at P&S and the Kavli Institute for Brain Science at Columbia.  He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and a recipient of an NIH Directors Pioneer Award; his numerous other awards include the Swartz Prize for Theoretical and Computational Neuroscience.

With Dr. Abbott's election, Columbia University College of Physicians & Surgeons is now home to 17 NAS members.