An Uncommon Education [MIT Technology Review]

Gadi Geiger
December 20, 2016

"Not having a college degree didn’t stop Gadi Geiger from becoming a neuroscientist—or serving as the go-to guy for career advice in the Poggio Lab.

In 2011, Leyla Isik, a brand-new PhD student, delivered a short presentation to her new colleagues in Tomaso Poggio’s lab in what is now the Center for Brains, Minds, and Machines. She outlined her upcoming research on peripheral vision with great enthusiasm and fully expected a positive response. But she was in for a disappointment when, minutes after the presentation, she was approached by the lab’s research assistant, Gadi Geiger.

“He was not happy with my little two-minute summary and decided that I needed to educate myself a lot on prior research,” says Isik. She quickly realized he was right. After reading the literature Geiger recommended, Isik rethought her research project, saw how much it was improved, and made a mental note to keep Geiger close at hand when designing future experiments.

Known to all simply as Gadi, Geiger takes time to coach students and postdocs as they design experiments, and he volunteers to be a test subject himself when he can. He’s also a good listener—and students often turn to him for advice on matters outside the lab. “He’s really been invaluable in all parts of my research and life in the lab,” says Isik, who earned her PhD in 2015. Poggio, the Eugene McDermott Professor in the Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences and director of the Center for Brains, Minds, and Machines, describes Geiger as the wise and fatherly person in his lab..."

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