• PhD, University of Wisconsin–Madison, Madison, United States, 2016
  • BA, Hampshire College, Amherst Center, United States, 2010


Dr. Erik Hoel completed his postdoctoral training with Rafael Yuste at Columbia University. He uses information theory and causal analysis to explore the biological basis of consciousness and understand the nature of emergence. Part of this research is on how complexity and information theory can be used to track or measure the neural difference between consciousness and unconsciousness, using data from cutting-edge neuroscientific methodologies. The goal is to develop a formal measure of consciousness that can be empirically verified and is medically useful. A second aspect of his research is to understand how causal structure changes across scale, and how information theory metrics can capture and quantify the emergence of macroscale causal structure. The goal is to improve causal model choice in scientific fields, as well as solve long-standing problems in neuroscience, such as identifying the fundamental functional unit of the mammalian brain. He is pursuing this by causally analyzing the cortex from the microscale of individual neurons to the mesoscale of neural ensembles to the macroscale of brain regions.