I was born in St. Petersburg, Russia, and studied physics and engineering in college. I moved to the US in 1989 and obtained a PhD in theoretical physics from MIT in 1994. After being a Junior Fellow at Harvard Society of Fellows I decided to make a switch to theoretical neurobiology and was a Sloan Fellow at the Salk Institute. In 1999, I founded a theoretical neuroscience group at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, where I was an Assistant and then Associate Professor. I moved to Janelia Farm in 2007. My main interest is in building simple but powerful theories of brain structure and function.