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Encyclopedia > Eric R. Kandel

Eric Richard Kandel (born November 7, 1929) is a psychiatrist, a neuroscientist and professor of biochemistry and biophysics at Columbia University. He was a recipient of the 2000 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for his research on the physiological basis of memory storage in neurons. He shared the prize with fellow recipients Arvid Carlsson and Paul Greengard. His other honors include the National Medal of Science, the Wolf Prize, the Gairdner International Award, the Charles A. Dana Award and the Lasker Award. Kandel has been at Columbia University since 1974. November 7 is the 311th day of the year (312th in leap years) in the Gregorian Calendar, with 54 days remaining. ... 1929 (MCMXXIX) was a common year starting on Tuesday (link will take you to calendar). ... Psychiatry is a branch of medicine that studies and treats mental and emotional disorders (see mental illness). ... Neuroscience is a field of study that deals with the structure, function, development, genetics, biochemistry, physiology, pharmacology, and pathology of the nervous system, divided into the central nervous system (the brain and spinal cord), and the peripheral nervous system, consisting of the myriad nerve pathways running throughout the body. ... A professor (Latin: one who claims publicly to be an expert) (or prof for short) is a senior teacher, lecturer and/or researcher usually employed by a college or university. ... Biochemistry is the study of the chemistry of life, a bridge between biology and chemistry that studies how complex chemical reactions give rise to life. ... Biophysics (also biological physics) is an interdisciplinary science that applies the theories and methods of physical sciences to questions of biology. ... Columbia University is a private university in the Morningside Heights neighborhood of Manhattan, New York City and a member of the Ivy League. ... See also: Other events of 2000 List of years in science . ... List of Nobel Prize laureates in Physiology or Medicine from 1901 to the present day. ... Physiology (in Greek physis = nature and logos = word) is the study of the mechanical, physical, and biochemical functions of living organisms. ... Memory is the ability of the brain to store, retain, and subsequently recall information. ... Drawing by Santiago Ramón y Cajal of cells in the pigeon cerebellum. ... Arvid Carlsson (b. ... Paul Greengard (b. ... National Medal of Science The National Medal of Science, also called the Presidential Medal of Science, is an honor given by the President of the United States to individuals in science and engineering who have made important contributions to the advancement of knowledge in the fields of behavioral and social... The Wolf Prize has been awarded annually since 1978 to living scientists and artists for achievements in the interest of mankind and friendly relations among peoples, irrespective of nationality, race, colour, religion, sex or political views. The prize is awarded in Israel by the Wolf Foundation, founded by Dr. Ricardo... The Albert Lasker Medical Research Awards have been awarded annually since 1946 to living persons who have made major contributions to medical science. ... 1974 (MCMLXXIV) was a common year starting on Tuesday (the link is to a full 1974 calendar). ...

Contents


Early years

Eric Kandel's family roots are in Kolomyje in Eastern Poland (he used to joke "as with all bright people, my roots are in Poland"). Eric was born in Vienna, Austria, in 1929 and in 1939, was driven out of Europe by Nazi Germany. His initial intellectual interests were in the area of history, and that was his undergraduate major at Harvard University. He wrote an honors dissertation on "The Attitude Toward National Socialism of Three German Writers: Carl Zuckmayer, Hans Carossa, and Ernst Junger." While at Harvard, a place dominated by the work of B. F. Skinner, Kandel became interested in learning and memory. Vienna (German: Wien [viːn]; Slovenian: Dunaj, Croatian and Serbian: Beč Romanian: Viena, Hungarian: Bécs, Czech: Vídeň, Slovak: Viedeň, Romany Vidnya;) Vienna is the capital of Austria, and also one of the nine States of Austria. ... 1929 (MCMXXIX) was a common year starting on Tuesday (link will take you to calendar). ... 1939 (MCMXXXIX) was a common year starting on Sunday (link will take you to calendar). ... World map showing Europe Europe is conventionally considered one of the seven continents of Earth which, in this case, is more a cultural and political distinction than a physiogeographic one. ... The term National Socialism has been used in self-description by a number of different political groups and ideologies, some of which have no connection with the Nazis; see National socialism (disambiguation). ... Harvard University (incorporated as The President and Fellows of Harvard College) is a private university in Cambridge, Massachusetts. ... Carl Zuckmayer (December 27, 1896 – January 18, 1977) was a German writer. ... Hans Carossa (15 December 1878– 12 September 1956) was a German novelist and poet, known mostly for his autobiographical novels. ... Ernst Jünger as a soldier in World War I Ernst Jünger, Juenger or Junger in English, (March 29, 1895 - February 17, 1998) was a German author of novels and accounts of his war experiences. ... Burrhus Frederic Skinner Burrhus Frederic Skinner (March 20, 1904 – August 18, 1990) was an American psychologist and author. ... In education and psychology, learning theories help us understand the process of learning. ... Memory is the ability of the brain to store, retain, and subsequently recall information. ...


The world of neuroscience was first opened up to Kandel through his interactions with a college friend whose parents were Freudian psychoanalysts. Freud, a pioneer in revealing the importance of unconscious neural processes, was at the root of Kandel's interest in the biology of motivation and unconscious and conscious memory. Sigmund Freud His famous couch Sigmund Freud (May 6, 1856 - September 23, 1939) was an Austrian neurologist and the founder of the psychoanalytic school of psychology, a movement that popularized the theory that unconscious motives control much behavior. ... The unconscious mind (or subconscious) is the aspect (or puported aspect) of the mind of which we are not directly conscious or aware. ... Consciousness is a quality of the mind generally regarded to comprise qualities such as subjectivity, self-awareness, sentience, sapience, and the ability to perceive the relationship between oneself and ones environment. ...


Medical school and early research

In 1952 he started at the New York University Medical School. By graduation he was firmly interested in the biological basis of the mind. During this time he met his future wife, Denise Bystryn. Kandel was first exposed to research in Harry Grundfest's laboratory at Columbia University. Grundfest was known for using the oscilloscope to demonstrate that action potential conduction velocity depends on axon diameter. The researchers Kandel interacted with were contemplating the technically challenging idea of intracellular recordings of the electrical activity of the relatively small neurons of the vertebrate brain. 1952 (MCMLII) was a Leap year starting on Tuesday (link will take you to calendar). ... The New York University School of Medicine was founded in 1841, ten years after NYUs founding, as the University Medical College. ... A Tektronix model 475A portable analogue oscilloscope, a very typical instrument of the late 1970s. ... An axon, or nerve fiber, is a long slender projection of a nerve cell, or neuron, that conducts electrical impulses away from the neurons cell body or soma. ... Drawing by Santiago Ramón y Cajal of cells in the pigeon cerebellum. ...


After starting his neurobiological work in the difficult thicket of the electrophysiology of the cerebral cortex, Kandel was impressed by the progress that had been made by Stephen Kuffler using a much more experimentally accessible system: neurons isolated from marine invertebrates. After becoming aware of Kuffler's work in 1955, Kandel graduated from medical school and learned from Stanley Crain how to make microelectrodes that could be used for intracellular recordings of relatively large crayfish giant axons. Electrophysiology is the study of the electrical properties of biological cells and tissues. ... Stephen William Kuffler (August 24, 1913 - October 11, 1980) is Hungarian-US neurophysiologist. ... 1955 (MCMLV) was a common year starting on Saturday of the Gregorian calendar. ...


Karl Lashley, a well known American neuropsychologist, had tried but failed to identify an anatomical locus for memory storage in the cortex at the surface of the brain. When Kandel joined the Laboratory of Neurophysiology at the National Institutes of Health in 1957, William Scoville and Brenda Milner had recently described the patient HM, who had lost explicit memory storage following removal of the hippocampus. Kandel took on the task of performing electrophysiological recordings of hippocampal pyramidal neurons. Working with Alden Spencer, electrophysiological evidence was found for action potentials in the dendritic trees of hippocampal neurons. They also noticed the spontaneous pace-maker-like activity of these neurons and a robust recurrent inhibition in the hippocampus. With respect to memory, there was nothing in the general electrophysiological properties of hippocampal neurons that suggested why the hippocampus was special for explicit memory storage. Karl S. Lashley (1890-1958) was an American behaviorist well-remembered for his influential contributions to the study of learning and memory. ... The National Institutes of Health (NIH) is the primary agency of the United States government responsible for medical research. ... 1957 (MCMLVII) was a common year starting on Tuesday of the Gregorian calendar. ... Brenda Milner has contributed extensively to the research literature on various topics in the field of clinical neuropsychology. ... A memory impaired patient known as HM (an acronym used to keep his identity confidential) has been widely studied since the late 1950s and has been very important in the development of theories that explain the link between brain function and memory, and in the development of cognitive neuropsychology, a... The location of the hippocampus in the human brain. ...


Kandel began to realize that memory storage must rely on modifications in the synaptic connections between neurons and that the complex connectivity of the hippocampus did not provide the best system for study the detailed function of synapses. Kandel was aware that comparative studies of behavior, such as those by Konrad Lorenz, Niko Tinbergen, and Karl von Frisch had revealed conservation of simple forms of learning across all animals. Kandel felt it would be productive to select a simple animal model that would facilitate electrophysiological analysis of the synaptic changes involved in learning and memory storage. He believed that, ultimately, the results would be found to be applicable to humans. This decision was not without risks since many senior biologists and psychologists believed that nothing useful could be learned about human memory by studying invertebrate physiology. The word synaptic refers to the synapse in neuroanatomy. ... Animal model refers to a non-human animal with a disease that is similar to a human condition. ...


In 1962, after completing his residency in psychiatry, Kandel went to Paris to learn about the marine mollusk Aplysia californica from Ladislav Tauc. Kandel had realized that simple forms of learning such as habituation, sensitization, classical conditioning, and operant conditioning could readily be studied with ganglia isolated from Aplysia. "While recording the behavior of a single cell in a ganglion, one nerve axon pathway to the ganglion could be stimulated weakly electrically as a conditioned [tactile] stimulus, while another pathway was stimulated as an unconditioned [pain] stimulus, following the exact protocol used for classical conditioning with natural stimuli in intact animals." Electrophysiological changes resulting from the combined stimuli could then be traced to specific synapses. In 1965 Kandel published his initial results, including a from of post-synaptic potentiation that seemed to correspond to a simple form of learning. 1962 (MCMLXII) was a common year starting on Monday (the link is to a full 1962 calendar). ... Binomial name Aplysia californica Cooper, 1863 The California sea slug (Aplysia californica), also called the California sea hare, is a species of sea hare which belongs to the class Gastropoda in the phylum Mollusca. ... This is a dorsal root ganglion (DRG) from a chicken embryo (around stage of day 7) after incubation overnight in NGF growth medium stained with anti-neurofilament antibody. ... 1965 (MCMLXV) was a common year starting on Friday (the link is to a full 1965 calendar). ...


Faculty member at New York University Medical School

Kandel took a position in the Departments of Physiology and Psychiatry at the New York University Medical School, eventually forming the Division of Neurobiology and Behavior. Working with Irving Kupferman and Harold Pinsker it was possible to develop protocols for demonstrating simple forms of learning by intact Aplysia. In particular, the now famous gill-withdrawal reflex, by which the tender Aplysia gill tissue is withdrawn from danger, was shown to be sensitive to both habituation and sensitization. By 1971 Tom Carew joined the research group and helped extend the work from studies restricted to short-term memory to additional experiments that included additional physiological processes required for long-term memory. 1971 (MCMLXXI) was a common year starting on Friday (the link is to a full 1971 calendar). ... Short-term memory, sometimes referred to as primary or active memory, is that part of memory which stores a limited amount of information for a limited amount of time (roughly 15-30 seconds). ... // Overview Long-term memory (LTM) is memory that can last as little as 30 seconds or as long as decades. ...


By 1981, laboratory members including Terry Walters, Tom Abrams, and Robert Hawkins had been able to extend the Aplysia system into the study of classical conditioning, a finding which helped close the apparent gap between the simple forms of learning often associated with invertebrates and more complex types of learning more often recognized in vertebrates. Along with the fundamental behavioral studies, other work in the lab traced the neuronal circuits of sensory neurons, interneurons, and motor neurons involved in the learned behaviors. This allowed analysis of the specific synaptic connections that are modified by learning in the intact animals. The results from Kandel's laboratory provided solid evidence for the mechanistic basis of learning as "a change in the functional effectiveness of previously existing excitatory connections." 1981 (MCMLXXXI) was a common year starting on Thursday of the Gregorian calendar. ... Classical conditioning (also Pavlovian conditioning or respondent conditioning) is a type of associative learning. ...


Molecular changes during learning

Starting in 1966 James Schwartz collaborated with Kandel on a biochemical analysis of changes in neurons associated with learning and memory storage. By this time it was known that long-term memory, unlike short-term memory, involved the synthesis of new proteins. By 1972 they had evidence that the second messenger molecule cyclic AMP (cAMP) was produced in Aplysia ganglia under conditions that cause short-term memory formation (sensitization). In 1974 the Kandel lab moved to Columbia University as founding director of the Center for Neurobiology and Behavior. It was soon found that the neurotransmitter serotonin acting to produce the second messenger cAMP is involved in the molecular basis of sensitization of the gill-withdrawal reflex. By 1980, collaboration with Paul Greengard resulted in demonstration that cAMP-dependent protein kinase (PKA) acted in this biochemical pathway in response to elevated levels of cAMP. Steven Siegelbaum identified a potassium channel that could be regulated by PKA, coupling serotonin's effects to altered synaptic electrophysiology. 1966 (MCMLXVI) was a common year starting on Saturday (the link is to a full 1966 calendar). ... 1972 (MCMLXXII) was a leap year starting on Saturday (the link is to a full 1972 calendar). ... In biology, second messengers are low-weight diffusible molecules that are used in signal transduction to relay a signal within a cell. ... Structure of cAMP Cyclic adenosine monophosphate (cAMP, cyclic AMP or 3-5-cyclic adenosine monophosphate) is a molecule that is important in many biological processes; it is derived from adenosine triphosphate (ATP). ... In neurobiology, sensitization is the progressive amplification of a response following repeated administrations of a stimuli (Bell et al. ... 1974 (MCMLXXIV) was a common year starting on Tuesday (the link is to a full 1974 calendar). ... Serotonin (5-hydroxytryptamine, or 5-HT) is a monoamine neurotransmitter synthesised in serotonergic neurons in the central nervous system and enterochromaffin cells in the gastrointestinal tract. ... 1980 (MCMLXXX) was a leap year starting on Tuesday. ... In cell biology, cAMP-dependent protein kinase (cAPK), also known as protein kinase A (PKA, EC 2. ...


In 1983 Kandel helped form the Howard Hughes Medical Research Institute at Columbia devoted to molecular neural science. The Kandel lab took on the task of identifying proteins that had to be synthesized in order to convert short-term memories into long-lasting memories. One of the nuclear targets for PKA is the transcriptional control protein CREB (cAMP response element binding protein). In collaboration with David Glanzman and Craig Bailey, CREB was identified as being a protein involved in long-term memory storage. One result of CREB activation is an increase in the number of synaptic connections. Thus, short-term memory had been linked to functional changes in existing synapses, while long-term memory was associated with a change in the number of synaptic connections. 1983 (MCMLXXXIII) was a common year starting on Saturday of the Gregorian calendar. ... The Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) is a United States non-profit medical research institute based in Chevy Chase, Maryland and originally founded by the aviator and engineer Howard Hughes in 1953. ... CREB (top) is a transcription factor capable of binding DNA (bottom) and regulating gene expression. ...


Experimental support for Hebbian learning

Some of the synaptic changes observed by Kandel's laboratory provide examples of Hebbian learning. For example, the article Activity-dependent presynaptic facilitation and hebbian LTP are both required and interact during classical conditioning in Aplysia (Neuron. 2003 Jan 9;37(1):135-47) describes the role of Hebbian learning in the Aplysia siphon-withdrawal reflex. Hebbian learning is a hypothesis for how neuronal connections are enforced in mammalian brains; it is also a technique for weight selection in artificial neural networks. ...


The Kandel lab has also performed important experiments using transgenic mice as a system for investing the molecular basis of memory storage in the vertebrate hippocampus. Kandel's original idea that learning mechanisms would be conserved between all animals has been confirmed. Neurotransmitters, second messenger systems, protein kinases, ion channels, and transcription factors like CREB have been confirmed to function in both vertebrate and invertebrate learning and memory storage. Neurotransmitters are chemicals that are used to relay, amplify and modulate electrical signals between a neuron and another cell. ... In biochemistry, a kinase is a type of enzyme that transfers phosphate groups from high-energy donor molecules, such as ATP, to specific target molecules (substrates); the process is termed phosphorylation. An enzyme that removes phosphate groups from targets is known as a phosphatase. ... Another, unrelated ion channeling process is part of ion implantation. ... In molecular biology, a transcription factor is a protein that binds DNA at a specific promoter or enhancer region or site, where it regulates transcription. ...


Kandel is also well known for the textbooks he has helped write such as Principles of Neural Science. Kandel has been a member of the National Academy of Sciences, USA, since 1974. His 2006 autobiographical book, "In Search of Memory: The Emergence of a New Science of Mind," is a popularized account of his life and career. Principles of Nerual Science cover First published in 1981, Principles of Neural Science is a neuroscience textbook edited by Eric R. Kandel, James Schwartz, and Thomas Jessell. ... President Harding and the National Academy of Sciences at the White House, Washington, DC, April 1921 The National Academy of Sciences (NAS) is a corporation in the United States whose members serve pro bono as advisers to the nation on science, engineering, and medicine. ... 1974 (MCMLXXIV) was a common year starting on Tuesday (the link is to a full 1974 calendar). ...

External links

  • Eric Kandel's Columbia University website
  • Autobiography at the Nobel Prize website
  • [Science Friday: October 13 2000 http://www.npr.org/dmg/dmg.php?prgCode=TOTN&showDate=02-Jul-2004&segNum=4 NPR interview]
  • Eric Kandel - A Nobel's Life

 
 

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