Facility

Dr. Eric Kandel - Nobel Laureate And Originator of the Facility

In 2000, Dr. Eric Kandel, a professor of psychology and cell biophysics, psychiatry, biochemistry and molecular biophysics at Columbia University, was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for his work using Aplysia californica .

His research specimens, supplied by the Rosenstiel School's Aplysia Facility, aided Kandel in demonstrating fundamental ways in which nerve cells alter their responsiveness to chemical signals to produce a coordinated change in behavior. The study proved to be fundamental to not only the understanding of basic processes of learning and memory, but also for highlighting many of the cellular processes targeted by psychoactive drugs and medications.

Kandel's research related three psychologically defined forms of learning-habituation, sensitization, and classical conditioning, to sub cellular processes and intercellular signaling. In his studies, he found that simple behaviors could be accounted for by distinctive sets of nerve cells connected in invariant circuits. Further, his research provided clue that learning produces changes in behavior, not by altering basic circuitry, but by adjusting the strength of particular connections between nerve cells. Dr. Kandel and co-workers also defined sets of genes and proteins that stabilize synaptic connections and trigger growth of new ones.

More recently, Kandel's lab expanded their approach from simple forms of memory in Aplysia, to more complex forms of spatial learning in mammals.

For more details about Eric Kandel, check out his laboratory webpage:

http://neuroscience.columbia.edu/index.php?page=28&bio=97

Or on the Nobel Prize web page:

http://nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/medicine/laureates/2000/kandel-autobio.html