AAAS elects Turrigiano; brain research praised

Professor of biology has explored brain development and function

Photo/Mike Lovett

Professor of Biology Gina Turrigiano

Professor of Biology Gina G. Turrigiano has been elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (AAAS).

A graduate of Reed College who received her Ph.D. from the University of California at San Diego in 1990, Turrigiano trained as a postdoc with Eve Marder at Brandeis before joining the faculty here in 1994.

She is now a full professor in the Department of Biology, the Volen Center for Complex Systems and the Center for Behavioral Genomics.

“Gina is an outstanding scientist and member of the Brandeis community,” said Dean of Arts and Sciences Susan Birren. “Her work on understanding how the brain maintains an appropriate level of activity has defined important new mechanisms of brain development and provided a framework for thinking about a number of human brain disorders. She is richly deserving of this honor.”

Turrigiano joins 21 other current and emeritus Brandeis faculty members who have been elected to AAAS.

Turrigiano has received numerous awards for her research including an NIH career development award, a Sloan Foundation fellowship, a MacArthur Foundation fellowship, McKnight Foundation Technological Innovation and Neurobiology of Disease awards and a National Institutes of Health director’s pioneer award.

She is the winner of the Human Frontier Science Program’s Nakasone Award for 2012 for her pioneering work on homeostatic plasticity in the nervous system. She will deliver the prize lecture and receive the Nakasone award at the program’s annual meeting of awardees, scheduled for July in the Republic of Korea.

One of the nation’s most prestigious honorary societies, AAAS is also a leading center for independent policy research. Members contribute to academy publications and studies of science and technology policy, energy and global security, social policy and American institutions, the humanities and culture, and education.

“Election to the Academy is both an honor for extraordinary accomplishment and a call to serve,” said Academy President Leslie C. Berlowitz. “We look forward to drawing on the knowledge and expertise of these distinguished men and women to advance solutions to the pressing policy challenges of the day.”

In all, 220 new members were announced today. The full list of honorees may be viewed alphabetically or by discipline.

The new class will be inducted at a ceremony on Oct. 6, at the Academy’s headquarters in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Since its founding in 1780, the Academy has elected leading “thinkers and doers” from each generation, including George Washington and Benjamin Franklin in the 18th century, Daniel Webster and Ralph Waldo Emerson in the 19th and Albert Einstein and Winston Churchill in the 20th. The current membership includes more than 250 Nobel laureates and more than 60 Pulitzer Prize winners.

Categories: Research, Science and Technology

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