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Kausik Si

B.S./M.S., Sciences, University of Calcutta, India
Ph.D., Molecular Biology, Albert Einstein College of Medicine

Portrait of Kausik Si

With a new idea, you have to develop new methods, new ways to probe.

Research Areas

Molecular and Cell Biology, Neuroscience, Systems Biology

Courses Taught

Neuroscience; Laboratory Rotation; Thesis Laboratory



Hudson Prize


McKnight Scholar


Member, Ester A. & Joseph Klingenstein Fund, Inc.


Basil O’Connor Scholar


Searle Scholar

Kausik Si, Ph.D., a developmental neuroscientist, is the Scientific Director for the Stowers Institute. Si joined the Institute in 2005, was appointed Associate Scientific Director in 2019 and Scientific Director in 2021.

Born in a rural village in India, Si received his B.S. and M.S. degrees from the University of Calcutta. He moved to the United States for his doctorate and earned a Ph.D. in molecular biology at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in 1999. Si then went to Columbia University for his postdoctoral fellowship in the lab of Nobel Laureate Eric Kandel, M.D., where he focused on understanding how memories are created in the synapses of the brain.

In his lab, Si and his team combine genetics, molecular biology and biochemistry to analyze the structure of the brain, investigating how a transient experience produces a persistent change in behavior and how only some produce persistent changes in behavior. The lab’s research focuses on a group of proteins, prion-like proteins, and their association with Alzheimer’s and other neurodegenerative diseases. Si and his team have found that some prions may be essential for long-term memory, a theory that contradicts some long-held viewpoints about the potential cause for Alzheimer’s.

Si’s lab was the first to suggest that CPEB, a protein with prion-like properties, may be at the center of a series of biochemical changes at the connection points between neurons that form the basis for memory persistence.

In his role as Scientific Director, Si also oversees the Technology Centers and Scientific Data teams at the Institute. Si participates in neuroscience and related conferences worldwide.

Featured Publications

Cryo-EM structure of a neuronal functional amyloid implicated in memory persistence in Drosophila.

Hervas R, Rau MJ, Park Y, Zhang W, Murzin AG, Fitzpatrick JAJ, Scheres SHW, Si K. Science. 2020;367:1230-1234.

Amyloid-like Assembly Activates a Phosphatase in the Developing Drosophila Embryo

Nil Z, Millan RH, Gerbich T, Leal P, Yu Z, Saraf A, Sardiu M, Lange JJ, Yi K, Unruh J, Slaughter B, Si K. Cell. 2019;178:1403-1420 e1421.

Antimicrobial peptides modulate long-term memory ​

Barajas-Azpeleta R, Wu J, Gill J, Welte R, Seidel C, McKinney S, Dissel S, Si K. PLoS Genet. 2018;14:e1007440. doi: 1007410.1001371/journal.pgen.1007440.

Regulated Intron Removal Integrates Motivational State and Experience

Gill J, Park Y, McGinnis JP, Perez-Sanchez C, Blanchette M, Si K. Cell. 2017;169:836-848.e815.

Immediate perception of a reward is distinct from the reward's long-term salience

McGinnis JP, Jiang H, Agha MA, Perez Sanchez C, Lange JJ, Yu Z, Marion-Poll F, Si K. eLife. 2016;5:e22283. doi: 22210.27554/eLife.22283.

A Putative Biochemical Engram of Long-Term Memory

Li L, Sanchez CP, Slaughter BD, Zhao Y, Khan MR, Unruh JR, Rubinstein B, Si K. Curr Biol. 2016;26:3143-3156.

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