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Eric Kandel, M.D.  EMERITUS

Professor of Physiology & Cellular Biophysics, Biochemistry & MolecularBiophysics, and Psychiatry

Cellular and molecular mechanisms of associative and non-associative learning.



We combine behavioral, cellular, and molecular biological approaches to delineate the changes that underlie simple forms of learning and memory in invertebrates and vertebrates. In invertebrates the focus of our research is on the gill-withdrawal reflex of Aplysia. We study three elementary forms of learning: habituation, sensitization, and classical conditioning. Recently we have reconstituted critical components of this learning in dissociated cell culture, and we now use the reconstituted system to examine the molecular mechanisms, which contribute to short-and long-term memory. In vertebrates we use genetically modified mice to examine the mechanisms of long-term potentiation in the mammalian hippocampus and its relation to spatial memory and maintenance.

Selected Publications


Kandel ER, Dadai Y, Mayford MR. (2014) The Molecular and Systems Biology of Memory. Cell 157: 163-186.

Simpson EH, Morud J, Winiger V, Biezonskin D, Zhu JP, Bach ME, Malleret G, Polan HJ, Ng-Evans S, Phillips PEM, Kellendonk C, Kandel ER. (2014) Genetic variation in COMT activity impacts learning and dopamine release capacity in the striatum. Learn Mem 21:205-214.

Huang YY, Levine A, Kandel DB, Yin D, Colnaghi L, Drisaldi B, Kandel ER. (2014) D1/D5 receptors and histone deacetylation mediate the Gateway Effect of LTP in hippocampal dentate gyrus. Learn Mem 21: 153-60.


Pavlopoulos E, Jones S, Kosmidis S, Close M, Kim C, Kovalerchik O, Small SA, Kandel ER. Molecular mechanism for age-related memory loss: the histone-binding protein RbAp48. (2013) Sci Transl Med 5:200ra115.


Rajasethupathy P, Antonov I, Sheridan R, Frey S, Sander C, Tuschl T, Kandel ER. (2012) A Role for Neuronal piRNAs in the Epigenetic Control of Memory-Related Synaptic Plasticity. Cell 149: 693-707.


Levine A, Huang Y, Drisaldi B, Griffin EA Jr, Pollak DD, Xu S, Yin D, Schaffran C, Kandel DB, Kandel ER. (2011) Molecular mechanism for a gateway drug: epigenetic changes initiated by nicotine prime gene expression by cocaine. Sci Transl Med 3: 107ra109.


Antonov, I., Kandel, E.R., and Hawkins, R.D. (2010) Presynaptic and postsynaptic mechanisms of synaptic plasticity and metaplasticity during intermediate-term memory formation in Aplysia. Journal of Neuroscience 30(16)5781-5791.

Malleret G, Alarcon JM, Martel G, Takizawa S, Vronskaya S, Yin D, Chen IZ, Kandel ER, Shumyatsky GP. (2010) Bidirectional regulation of hippocampal long-term synaptic plasticity and its influence on opposing forms of memory. Journal of Neuroscience 30: 3813-25.

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