After studying many-body quantum mechanics with Robert B. Laughlin at Stanford University, Saul Kato spent a decade as an engineer and tech entrepreneur before returning to science. He founded, financed, built, and sold two technology companies, Sven Technologies, a 3D graphics-rendering company, and WideRay, which pioneered the idea of local ad hoc wireless content delivery. After getting his Ph.D. in 2013 – a computational-experimental project probing the signal processing properties of C. elegans neurons, jointly advised by Larry Abbott at the Center for Theoretical Neuroscience at Columbia University and Cori Bargmann at Rockefeller University – Kato was an EMBO Long-Term Fellow at the Research Institute of Molecular Pathology in Vienna, Austria. In two years, he and the rest of the team deciphered a tight connection between the dynamics of brain-wide activity and behavior in C. elegans. Kato brought his background in neurobiology, theoretical physics, mathematics, computer science and engineering UCSF when he started the Foundations of Cognition Laboratory in 2016.