Gina G. Turrigiano
Age: 37 at time of award
Published July 1, 2000
Gina Turrigiano is a neuroscientist who explores the ways brain cells modify their activity in response to changing conditions.
Employing an array of research techniques, including cell culture, electrophysiology, and biophysical modeling, Turrigiano has identified the mechanisms that individual neurons use to maintain their function within an optimal range. These findings open a new approach to understanding normal brain processes, such as learning, and abnormal ones, such as epilepsy. Research early in her career focused on the role of neuropeptides in regulating invertebrate neural circuits. More recent work investigates the properties of mammalian cortical neurons using a cell culture system. Using this strategy, Turrigiano has demonstrated the autoregulating properties of these cells and identified neurotransmitters and neurotrophins that mediate components of the phenomenon.
Turrigiano is a professor in the Department of Biology and at the Volen Center for Complex Systems at Brandeis University. She is the author of numerous articles published in such journals as Nature, Neuron, and the Journal of Neuroscience.
Turrigiano received a B.A. (1984) from Reed College and a Ph.D. (1990) from the University of California, San Diego. She has held postdoctoral fellowships at the University of California, San Diego (1990) and Brandeis University (1990-1993).
Last updated January 1, 2005