Gail Mandel, Ph.D., has been elected to the governing body of the Society for Neuroscience. Mandel, a senior scientist at the Vollum Institute and professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology in the School of Medicine, begins her four-year term on November 11, 2017.
Mandel’s lab focuses on understanding how neuronal cell identity is established and maintained. Her team discovered that this is achieved primarily through a repressor mechanism with the DNA-binding protein, REST, at its heart. The discovery provides a window into the molecular events governing nervous system formation.
Recently, she extended her studies to explore neuronal:glial interactions, uncovering a potential role for glia in inducing neuronal dysfunction in Rett Syndrome, one of the most common causes of mental retardation in young girls. The lab’s goal is to identify how the glial genes or proteins cause the underlying neuronal pathology.
Mandel joined the Vollum Institute in 2006 after holding faculty positions at Tufts-New England Medical Center and Stony Brook University—where she advanced to the rank of Distinguished Professor. She was a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator from 1997 to 2016.
A recipient of the Jacob J. Javits Neuroscience Investigator Award, Mandel was elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 2008. She received the 2011 Discovery Award from the Medical Research Foundation of Oregon and a 2013-2018 NIH Transformative Research Award. She has also served as the senior editor of the Journal of Neuroscience.
The Society for Neuroscience, founded in 1969, now has nearly 38,000 members in more than 90 countries and over 130 chapters worldwide. It is the largest and most prestigious organization representing scientists and physicians devoted to understanding the brain and nervous system.