Eve Marder is the Victor and Gwendolyn Beinfield Professor of Neuroscience at Brandeis University and winner of the 2016 Kavli Prize in Neuroscience.
Marder studies the dynamics of small neuronal networks, and her work was instrumental in demonstrating that neuronal circuits are not “hard-wired” but can be reconfigured by neuromodulatory neurons and substances to produce a variety of outputs. For more than 20 years Marder’s lab has combined experimental work with insights from modeling and theoretical studies. Her lab pioneered studies of homeostatic regulation of intrinsic membrane properties, and stimulated work on the mechanisms by which brains remain stable while allowing for change during development and learning. Marder is now studying the extent to which similar network performance can arise from different sets of underlying network parameters, opening up rigorous studies of the variations in individual brains of normal healthy animals.
Abstract: Why do healthy animals respond differently to strong environmental stresses and what can that mean for humans? Eve Marder studies the effects of large temperature swings on the nervous system of the crab Cancer borealis. She discovered that animals deal well with ocean temperatures they routinely experience, but as temperatures rise, disturbances in neuronal activity are seen, and these show significant differences across animals. She’ll discuss how animal-to-animal diversity in the brain impacts evolution and how this research offers insight into why humans respond so variably to stressors.