Kepecs uses rats to study the neurology of decision-making because their brains are evolutionarily similar to ours but much simpler. Likewise, if you wanted to learn how cars worked, you wouldn’t study a complicated Lexus; you’d study a Model T.
Dr. Adam Kepecs, Assistant Professor at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, studies the neural basis of decision-making. After receiving his B.Sc. degree in computer science and mathematics at Eotvos Lorand University, Hungary, he switched to studying the brain, completing his Ph.D. at Brandeis University in theoretical neuroscience. During his postdoctoral training at CSHL he began studying cognition in rats, discovering neural correlates of decision confidence. In 2009, Dr. Kepecs received the Klingenstein Fellowship in the Neurosciences and was named a Fellow of the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. This year, he was selected as a John Merck Scholar. Since 2007, he has headed a research laboratory at CSHL where he employs sophisticated behavioral paradigms and electrophysiological, optical and molecular techniques to study the neural circuitry underlying decision-making in rodents.