NINDS Grantee Wins 'Genius' Award
NINDS grantee Dr. Gina G. Turrigiano, an assistant professor in the department of biology and the Center for Complex Systems at Brandeis University, recently won a fellowship from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.
Each year the foundation awards unrestricted, 5-year fellowships informally called the MacArthur "genius" awards to talented individuals who show extraordinary originality and dedication in their creative pursuits, and a marked capacity for self-direction. Turrigiano was one of 25 people who received the $500,000 fellowships this year.
Dr. Gina G. Turrigiano
Nominees are reviewed for their achievements; however, according to the foundation, the fellowships are not rewards for past accomplishments, but rather are investments in the recipients' potential to effect positive change.
Turrigiano has furthered scientific understanding of how brain cells modify their activity in response to changing conditions. Using such research techniques as cell culture, electrophysiology and computational modeling, she identified the mechanisms that individual neurons use to maintain their function within an optimal range. She discovered that neurons can maintain their activity level even when the number and strength of the inputs they receive are constantly changing. Her studies have led to a new approach to understanding normal and abnormal brain processes.
Turrigiano received her bachelor of arts degree from Reed College in 1984, and her Ph.D. from the University of California, San Diego, in 1990.
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