Austin Keeler headshot

Austin Keeler

I am drawn to neurobiology because the root of everything I find fascinating is, at core, related to being conscious. The human brain is formed by a hundred billion neurons creating trillions of important conduits which shuttle information—a mindboggling complexity.  I find it intriguing that a brain can do anything at all, much less be capable of thought or feelings.  The fidelity of the human brain forms delightful variation in person after person; this fact brought me to neurobiology and now drives my research.  I study how neurons know what to become (e.g. neurons respond to specific stimuli linked to distinct types of neurons) and who to talk to (e.g. what kinds of cells the neurons communicate with).  I blend my research with a passion for overcoming obstacles that prevent scientists from answering questions.  I love to adapt techniques and tools—such as the recent Nobel prize winning CRISPR DNA-editing tool—to novel uses so we can tackle questions previously inaccessible.