Molecular mechanisms of memory storage


Columbia University College Of Physicians and Surgeons


Eric R. Kandel, MD, University Professor and Kavli Professor of Brain Science, in Physiology and Cell Biophysics, Psychiatry, Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics, and Physiology and Cellular Biophysics, Columbia University College of Physicians & Surgeons


Throughout his career, Kandel has studied how nerve cells store memories in the brain. In 1970, while studying sea snails—marine animals with a simple nervous system—he discovered that chemical signals changed the structure of the synapses that send and receive signals between nerve cells during learning tasks. Subsequently, Kandel demonstrated that different signals contribute to the formation of short-term and long-term memories in all animals that have the capacity to learn. In 1988, Kandel was the recipient of the President’s National Medal of Science. In 2000, he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for his discoveries in signal transduction in the nervous system.