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Dr. E.J. Chichilnisky: How the Brain Works, Curing Blindness & How to Navigate a Career Path

Huberman Lab

Scicomm Media

Science, Life Sciences, Health & Fitness

4.923.3K Ratings

🗓️ 18 March 2024

⏱️ 120 minutes

🧾️ Download transcript


In this episode, my guest is Dr. E.J. Chichilnisky, Ph.D., a professor of neurosurgery and ophthalmology at Stanford University. He studies how we see and uses that information to build artificial eyes that restore vision to the blind. We discuss how understanding the retina (the light-sensing brain tissue that lines the back of our eyes) is critical to knowing how our brain works more generally. We discuss brain augmentation with biologically informed prostheses, robotics, and AI and what this means for medicine and humanity. We also discuss E.J.’s unique journey into neuroscience and how changing fields multiple times, combined with some wandering, taught him how to guide his decision-making in all realms of life. This episode ought to be of interest to anyone interested in learning how the brain works from a world-class neuroscientist, those interested in the future of brain therapeutics and people seeking inspiration and tools for navigating their own professional and life journey. For show notes, including referenced articles and additional resources, please visit hubermanlab.com. Thank you to our sponsors AG1: https://drinkag1.com/huberman Eight Sleep: https://eightsleep.com/huberman ROKA: https://roka.com/huberman BetterHelp: https://betterhelp.com/huberman InsideTracker: https://insidetracker.com/huberman Momentous: https://livemomentous.com/huberman Timestamps (00:00:00) Dr. E.J. Chichilnisky (00:02:31) Sponsors: Eight Sleep, ROKA & BetterHelp (00:06:06) Vision & Brain; Retina (00:11:23) Retina & Visual Processing (00:18:37) Vision in Humans & Other Animals, Color (00:23:01) Studying the Human Retina (00:29:48) Sponsor: AG1 (00:31:16) Cell Types (00:36:00) Determining Cell Function in Retina (00:43:39) Retinal Cell Types & Stimuli (00:49:27) Retinal Prostheses, Implants (01:00:25) Artificial Retina, Augmenting Vision (01:06:05) Sponsor: InsideTracker (01:07:12) Neuroengineering, Neuroaugmentation & Specificity (01:17:01) Building a Smart Device, AI (01:20:02) Neural Prosthesis, Paralysis; Specificity (01:25:21) Neurodegeneration; Adult Neuroplasticity; Implant Specificity (01:34:00) Career Journey, Music & Dance, Neuroscience (01:42:55) Self-Understanding, Coffee; Self-Love, Mediation & Yoga (01:47:50) Body Signals & Decisions; Beauty (01:57:49) Zero-Cost Support, Spotify & Apple Reviews, Sponsors, YouTube Feedback, Momentous, Social Media, Neural Network Newsletter Disclaimer

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Welcome to the Huberman Lab Podcast, where we discuss science and science-based tools for everyday life.


I'm Andrew Huberman and I'm a professor of neurobiology and ophthalmology at Stanford School of Medicine.


My guest today is Dr E.J. Chicholniski.


Dr. E. Chicholniski is a professor of neurosurgery,


ophthalmology, and neuroscience at Stanford University.


He is one of the world's leading researchers trying to understand how we see the world around us.


That is, how visual perception occurs, and then applying that information directly to the design of neural prosthesis, literally robotic eyes that can allow blind people to see once again.


Today's discussion is a very important one for anyone who wants to understand how their brain works.


Indeed, EJ spells out in very clear terms


exactly how the world around us is encoded by the neurons, the nerve cells within


our brain in order to create these elaborate visual images that we essentially see within our




And with that understanding,


he explains how that can be applied


to engineer specific robotic AI and machine learning


devices that can allow human brains not only to see once again in the


blind but also to perceive things that typical human brains can't and indeed for


memory to be enhanced and for cognition to be enhanced. This is the direction


that neuroscience is going and in the course of today's discussion we have the


opportunity to learn from the world expert in these topics where the


science is now and where it is headed.


During today's discussion, we also get heavily into the topic of how to select one's


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