Thomas R. Clandinin, Ph.D.

Stanford University

Thomas R. Clandinin, Ph.D., is the Shooter Family Professor and chair of the Department of Neurobiology at Stanford University. He completed his Ph.D. under the guidance of Paul Sternberg at the California Institute of Technology in 1998, before beginning his postdoctoral work at University of California, Los Angeles in the lab of Larry Zipursky. He established his own lab at Stanford in 2002. During the first decade of his research program, the lab focused predominantly on neural development, exploring how quantitative differences in the levels of activity of specific cell adhesion molecules could be used to genetically program precise, complex patterns of synaptic connections. In parallel with this effort, the lab pioneered the use of genetic approaches to dissecting visual circuit function in fruit flies, merging approaches from systems neuroscience with genetics, imaging and quantitative behavioral analysis. This work has provided insight into our understanding of the circuit mechanisms of motion detection, and has revealed remarkable algorithmic parallels between motion processing pathways in insects and humans. Clandinin has trained more than 20 graduate students and postdoctoral fellows over his time at Stanford. Ongoing work in the lab explores the interaction between sensory input and behavioral response, and seeks to move a circuit level understanding of visual computation toward the molecular level. Clandinin’s honors include an NIH Director’s Pioneer Award, a career development award from the Burroughs Wellcome Fund, a Searle Scholar Award, a Sloan Research Fellowship, and a Scholar Award from the McKnight Foundation.

Current Project:

Dissecting navigation and the general logic of episodic state computation

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