Randy obtained his PhD from the University of Texas at Austin in Psychology and Neuroscience. He did a postdoc at NIH with Barry Horwitz, where he learned about human neuroimaging before taking a post at the Rotman Research Institute, Baycrest Health Sciences, University of Toronto. His group (https://www.armcintosh.com) uses neuroimaging and computational modeling to study brain aging and dementia. Randy is also part an international consortium, TheVirtualBrain (https://thevirtualbrain.org), which is an open science neuroinformatics platform for modeling the brain.

1 Are you an early bird or night owl?

Early Bird

2 Are you pro- or anti-pun?


3 Do you have any pets?

Two very different cats

4 Do you have any science-themed home decor?


5 Do you prefer cooking or baking?


6 Do you prefer sweet or savory?


7 Do you speak any other languages?


8 If you could switch professions, what would you do?


9 If you could switch science fields, what field would you want to work in?


10 If you got a plane ticket right now, where would it go?

Vancouver Island

11 If you had one superpower, what would it be?


12 Is there anything you strongly recommend we watch and/or read and/or listen to?

Goldberg variations played by Glen Gould

13 It’s your day off. What do you want to do?

long run, nice brunch, long nap, nice dinner with my wife

14 What are three things you can’t live without?

Cheese, music, love

15 What beverage gives you life?


16 What book did you read in school that positively shaped you?

Catcher in the Rye

17 What did you want to be when you grew up?

Scientist (honestly!)

18 What drives you and keeps you going?

I love learning

19 What got you excited in science?

That there was a potential to link behaviour and the brain

20 What excites you about science now?

That there is more to our behaviour than the brain

21 What is a guilty pleasure of yours?

Hawkins cheezies

22 What is a secret talent of yours?

Dexterous toes

23 What is your favorite game?


24 What is the last book you read?

Educated – Tara Westover

25 What is one of the best pieces of advice you’ve received?

Focus on things that you love doing.

26 What is something you’ve always wanted to try but you’ve been too scared to do?


27 What is the best advice for your 18 year old self?

You’re not as smart as you think you are.

28 What is the best way to de-stress?

Run or play music

29 What is the last thing you watched?

Invisible Man

30 What is the weirdest thing you’ve had in your bag?

Empty bag of chips

31 What is your favorite animal?


32 What is your favorite book?

Brain Mechanisms and Intelligence – Lashley

33 What is your favorite comfort food?

Anything braised

34 What is your favorite day of the year?

April 1 (my wife’s birthday)

35 What is your favorite plant?

Horse chestnut tree

36 What is your favorite science fact?

race has no biological basis

37 What is your favorite season?


38 What is your favorite smell?


39 What is your favorite sound?


40 What is your favorite thing about yourself?

I always search for joy

41 What is your favorite word (in any language)?

“dobra” (in Ukrainian), which means ‘good’

42 What is your proudest moment?

Getting the funds that support The Virtual Brain consortium. It had a huge positive effect on human neuroscience.

43 What kind of tree would you be?

Live oak

44 What’s the best thing about where you live?

You can easily find solitude or social immersion without a lot of effort

45 Tell us something we probably don’t know.

An eggplant is technically a berry.

46 Who would you like to see 46 Questions interview next?

@steph_coen (twitter)