60 Seconds With… Professor Stephane Molotchnikoff
Stephane Molotchnikoff is a professor of physiology at the University of Montreal in Canada, and an associate professor at the University of Sherbrooke. For several decades he has taught a variety of physiology courses, from comparative physiology to neurosciences. He was awarded the Purkyne medal from Charles University in Prague, and his research has been consistently funded by Canadian research agencies.
We grabbed a quick 60 seconds with this busy professor to ask a few questions about his career, his current research, and more...
What is your current role?
Professor of Physiology and Neurosciences. I lead my lab in the research of brain physiology, mostly using electrophysiological techniques in single cell recordings.
What is the main focus of your current research?
Two main topics... a) Selectivity of connectomes in response to sensory stimuli (mostly visual) and b) Plasticity of neurons. I am looking at changes of selectivity of adult neurons, and influences of antidepressant drugs such as ketamine and serotonin on brain plasticity.
What was the focus of your PhD research?
Electrical stimulation of the retina. My advisor was Professor WK Noel at SUNY, Buffalo, USA.
What is it about your field of work that excites you most?
The intriguing brain; it changes so much even in mature and adult animals, including humans. I used to say: today’s brain differs from yesterday’s.
Did you always want to work in science when you were younger, and why?
YES! I always loved the challenge of invading the mysteries of the unknown.
What’s the most important lesson you have learned in your career so far?
The enormous plasticity of the brain at all ages.
What are the biggest challenges facing life scientists today?
Dealing with anti-science people!
What advice would you give to a young life scientist just starting out in their career?
Be courageous, forge ahead, be convinced you are on the right path and do not have a main goal of making money.
How has COVID-19 affected your work?
It has considerably slowed the progress of our research.
What does a typical working day look like for you?
Preparing lectures and working with students, writing papers for publication, carrying out experiments, etc.
Outside of your career, what do you enjoy doing most?
Reading a well written book (preferably in French) and watching F1 racing.
What do you think is the greatest scientific discovery of all time?
Hard to say, there are so many. Every day brings a new finding.
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