Gina Turrigiano is a professor in the Dept of Biology, the Volen Center for Complex Systems, and the Center for Behavioral Genomics at Brandeis University. She is a neuroscientist recognized for her pioneering work on homeostatic plasticity mechanisms that help to stabilize the function of neural circuits. She grew up in Northern California, received her BA from Reed College in 1984, and her PhD from University of California San Diego in 1990. She then trained as a postdoc with Eve Marder at Brandeis University before joining the faculty in 1994. She has received numerous awards for her research including a MacArthur foundation fellowship, McKnight Foundation Technological Innovation and Neurobiology of Disease awards, an NIH director's pioneer award, the HFSP Nakasone Award, and election to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Her scientific interests include mechanisms of synaptic and intrinsic plasticity and the experience-dependent refinement of neocortical microcircuitry.
Turrigiano studies the experience-dependent development of neocortex, with a focus on the cellular plasticity mechanisms that allow the refinement of neocortical microcircuitry during critical periods of development. In particular her work has uncovered a family of homeostatic plasticity mechanisms that work together to maintain the integrity of neural circuits during periods of intense synaptic rearrangments, such as occur during development and learning. Her lab employs a variety of approaches to tackle these problems, including electrophysiology, imaging, and optogenetics, using both in vitro and in vivo preparations of the rodent visual cortex.