News & AnalysisNewsmaker Interview: Christof Koch

A Vision of How Mouse Vision Can Reveal Consciousness' Secrets

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Science  23 Mar 2012:
Vol. 335, Issue 6075, pp. 1426-1427
DOI: 10.1126/science.335.6075.1426

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Neuroscientist Christof Koch of the California Institute of Technology is embarking on a 10-year project to study vision in the mouse brain, funded by a new donation of $300 million from Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen. The project, announced publicly this week, will study how information flows through the mouse cortex to help the animal see. Although the specific goal is to understand vision, Koch says he and his colleagues also intend to study higher-order brain functions such as perception, decision-making, and conscious awareness. Science spoke to Koch recently about his initiation into consciousness studies, his hopes for the new venture, and how the two intersect.