Eric Kandel, winner of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine
in 2000 for his contributions to the fundamental processes of learning
and memory, will deliver the annual Goodwin and Rose Helen Breinin
Lecture in Basic Sciences, Thursday, Feb. 21 at 4 p.m. in WHSCAB
A reception will immediately follow the lecture, which is free
and open to the public.
Using the relatively simple neural circuitry that makes up the
withdrawal reflexes in the sea slug Aplysia, Kandel and his colleagues
identified fundamental cellular mechanisms that result in the modifiability
of nerve cell signaling. These changes can lead to alterations in
the learned behaviors of habituation, sensitization and classical
Kandel and his colleagues found that learning produces changes
in behavior not by altering basic circuitry, but by adjusting the
strength of particular synapses. They identified sets of genes and
proteins that stabilize synaptic connections and trigger growth
of new ones. Recently, his laboratory has extended this approach
to more complex forms of spatial learning in the hippocampus of
genetically modified mice.
Kandel, professor of physiology and cell biophysics, psychiatry,
biochemistry and molecular biophysics at Columbia University, shared
the Nobel Prize with Arvid Carlsson of the University of Goteborg,
Sweden, and Paul Greengard of Rockefeller University in New York.
A Howard Hughes Medical Institute senior investigator, Kandel is
a member of both the National Academy of Science and American Philosophical
Society and is a winner of the National Medal of Science, the Lasker
Award, the Wolf Prize, the Gairdner Award and the Harvey Prize.
As co-editor of the definitive resource book Principles of Neural
Science, he has helped to coalesce the entire field of neuroscience.
Kandel was born in 1929 in Vienna, Austria, and emigrated to the
United States 10 years later. He graduated from Harvard and received
his M.D. from the New York University School of Medicine. He has
held faculty positions at Harvard Medical School and the New York
University School of Medicine. At Columbia, he was founding director
of the Center for Neurobiology and Behavior.
The Breinin Lectureship is named for Goodwin Breinin and Rose Helen
Breinin. Goodwin Breinin (41M) is chair of ophthalmology at
the New York University School of Medicine and director of the Kirby
Institute of Ophthalmology. He was a pioneer in developing new treatments
for glaucoma and is a 1993 recipient of the Emory Medalthe
Universitys highest alumni honor. Rose Helen Breinins
career includes work with the New York City Housing Authority, in
public health community service and as a museum researcher and volunteer.