John Kubie

About John Kubie

I work at Downstate Medical Center in Brooklyn, NY, where my time is divided between research, teaching and avoiding committees. In grad school I studied olfaction in snakes and salamanders, but I’ve been studying the rat hippocampus and its relations to navigation and memory since the 1980s. Bob Muller, Jim Ranck and I were among the first to characterize hippocampal place cells recorded in behaving rats.

Outside of science (and perhaps inside) I’m a boring guy. Interests include people, movies, philosophy, travel, computers and family. I’ve been blogging for less than a year, but it has become a strong interest and hobby. The other blog is

To Eat or Not to Eat

Today’s New York Times has a nice video showing how stimulating a small set of neurons in the amygdala can turn off a rat’s motivation to eat. The stimulation relies on a newly discovered technology called ‘optogenetics’. Continue reading

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The Hippocampus as a Cognitive Map: The Book

A few weeks ago the Nobel Prize Committee announced that John O’Keefe, Edvard Moser and May-Britt Moser would be the recipients of the 2014 prize for Physiology and Medicine for their work in deciphering the neural code in the rat hippocampal region.1 The work is frequently summarized as revealing the functioning of the brain’s GPS system.  While the GPS part is true, the work is far broader, giving insights into the neural substrate of broad areas of cognition that include memory, planning, creativity and internal thought. Continue reading

Posted in by John Kubie, Learning and Memory, Neural Network Function
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Book Review: Consciousness and the Brain

Every ten years the scientific study of consciousness passes a milestone. A decade ago the milestone was the publication of Chrisof Koch’s book “Quest for Consciousness” (2004). “Quest” established the groundwork for a scientific approach to the study of consciousness and described progress using techniques of neuroscience and experimental psychology1. Stenislas Dehaene’s book “Consciousness and the Brain: Deciphering how the Brain Codes our Thoughts” presents a mass of new data and along with new theory. I believe it is a major consolidation; a milestone marking the trail forward for the next decade. Continue reading

Posted in Awareness and Attention, by John Kubie, Senses and Perception
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What is this thing called “Love”?

Romantic love is both psychological and physical. Although a complex conscious emotion, love has strong biological foundations.  The study of love, as with much of Neuroscience, crosses boundaries. Lucy Brown and Helen Fischer use both psychological and biological approaches to gain insights into the mystery of “love” and share their insights on the website The Anatomy of LoveContinue reading

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Perception and Imagination: a Neuroscientist’s Perspective

When you look at the image of the apple on your computer monitor, an apple exists in two places: as a picture on your monitor and as an activation pattern in your brain. If you close your eyes and imagine an apple, an apple exists, but only in one place — in your brain. Continue reading

Posted in About Neuroscience, by John Kubie, Senses and Perception
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