Genes, the environment, and behavior: how simple animals teach us general lessons
Cori Bargmann, Ph.D., past recipient of the prestigious Kavli Prize and the Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences, will be honored with The Wistar Institute’s 2023 Helen Dean King award, celebrating outstanding women in biomedical research. Dr. Bargmann, the Torsten N. Wiesel Professor and head of the Lulu and Anthony Wang Laboratory of Neural Circuits and Behavior at The Rockefeller University, is being honored for her work exploring the genetic and neural circuit mechanisms of behavior in pursuit of understanding how genes influence decisions.
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Dr. Cori Bargmann is the Torsten N. Wiesel Professor and head of the Lulu and Anthony Wang Laboratory of Neural Circuits and Behavior at The Rockefeller University. She completed undergraduate studies at the University of Georgia, with a degree in biochemistry, and her Ph.D. in cell biology from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the Whitehead Institute.
She began working on chemosensory behavior in Caenorhabditis elegans, a type of roundworm, and demonstrated that these nematodes have a sense of smell. This olfactory sense enables C. elegans to detect hundreds of different odors and pheromones, discriminate among them, and generate a variety of responses to the odor cues.
Using C. elegans as a model, Dr. Bargmann has focused her work on better understanding of how genes and the environment impact behavior. Despite the simplicity of C. elegans, which has only 302 neurons, many of the genes and signaling mechanisms used in the nematode nervous system are similar to those of mammals. The ability to manipulate the activity of individual genes and neurons in C. elegans has made it possible for Dr. Bargmann to determine how neural circuits function and change over time. Her work has been recognized with numerous awards including election to the National Academy of Sciences.
For more information, please contact Lynn Keily
The Wistar Institute
3601 Spruce Street
Philadelphia, PA 19144