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Karel Svoboda is the Vice President and Executive Director of the Allen Institute for Neural Dynamics. Before joinig the Allen Institute, he was a Senior Group Leader at HHMI’s Janelia Research Campus. Svoboda’s work is at the intersection of neuronal biophysics and cognition. His goal is to identify core principles underlying information processing in mammalian neural circuits at the level of the whole brain. Svoboda has developed several widely-used methods to interrogate neural structure and function in intact brains. Notable contributions include microscopy methods to image synapses over times of weeks in the intact brain during learning; engineered sensitive fluorescent protein sensors for noninvasive imaging of neural activity; microscopes with very large fields of view that enable imaging multiple brain regions with single neuron resolution. Svoboda is an advocate for open and reproducible science. He is a founder of the Neurodata Without Borders and ScanImage projects.
Svoboda was born in Prague, then part of Czechoslovakia, and grew up in West Germany. He graduated from Cornell University with a BA in Physics (1988) and from Harvard University with a PhD in Biophysics (1994). He was a member of technical staff at Bell Laboratories (until 1997) and a principal investigator at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (until 2006). Svoboda was awarded the Society for Neuroscience Young Investigator Award (2004) and the Brain Prize from the Lundbeck Foundation (2015). He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences (USA).