Christof Koch, Ph.D.

(Executive Board | Scientific Advisory Board)

Born in the American Midwest, Christof Koch grew up in Holland, Germany, Canada, and Morocco. He studied Physics and Philosophy at the University of Tübingen in Germany and was awarded his Ph.D. in Biophysics. Following four years at MIT, Christof joined the California Institute of Technology as a Professor in Biology and Engineering. After a quarter of a century, Dr. Koch left academia to became the Chief Scientific Officer at the non-for-profit Allen Institute for Brain Science in Seattle. He is leading a ten year, large-scale, high through-put effort to build brain observatories to map, analyze and understand the mouse and human cerebral cortex.

Dr. Koch lives in Seattle and loves dogs, climbing, and biking. Dr. Koch has authored more than 300 scientific papers and articles, eight patents and five books concerned with the way computers and neurons process information and the neuronal and computational basis of visual recognition and perception and attention. Dr. Koch’s lasting contribution is to make the scientific study of the physical basis of consciousness a legitimate empirical subject and no longer primarily the domain of philosophy. Indeed, the search for the behavioral and the neuronal correlates of consciousness (a term he and his mentor and collaborator, Francis Crick coined in the early 1990s) is now part of mainstream, academic science and engaging cognitive scientists, neuroscientists and theoreticians. In the last decade, he has worked closely with Giulio Tononi on an informational theoretical theory of consciousness. His latest book is Consciousness – Confessions of a Romantic Reductionist. He is a frequent public speaker and writes a regular column for Scientific American Mind on consciousness.