Gina Turrigiano, PhD
Gina Turrigiano received her BA in Biology from Reed College in 1984 and her PhD in Neuroscience from UC San Diego in 1990. She trained as a postdoc with Eve Marder at Brandeis University before joining the faculty in 1994, where she is now the Levitan Professor of Vision Science in the Department of Biology. The Turrigiano lab studies the neuroscience of learning and memory, and the mechanisms that allow our brains to change in response to experience, to store memories, and to become better with practice. The lab is particularly interested in homeostatic plasticity mechanisms that allow our brains to “tune themselves up” so they can be both plastic and stable. Over the past two decades her work uncovered a family of homeostatic plasticity mechanisms, including Synaptic Scaling and Intrinsic Homeostatic Plasticity, that allow neurons to adjust their own excitability to maintain stable activity, preserve information flow in the face of outside perturbations, and prevent the development of hyper or hypoactivity. Her work is currently exploring the role of these homeostatic mechanisms in information storage and integrity during learning, and is probing how these processes break down in neurological disorders such as Autism Spectrum Disorders in which homeostatic plasticity is impaired.
She has received numerous awards for her research, including a MacArthur Foundation fellowship, an NIH director’s pioneer award, the HFSP Nakasone Award, McKnight foundation Technological Innovations in Neuroscience Award, the NINDS Javitz award, the Brain Research Foundation Scientific Innovations Award, the NINDS Landis Mentor Award, and has served as an HHMI Gilliam Advisor. She is an elected member of the National Academy of Sciences, and is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. She has served on a wide array of advisory and editorial boards, and is the elected President of the 35K member international Society for Neuroscience.