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Roberto Malinow Elected to National Academy of Medicine

October 21, 2015

By Kim McDonald

Roberto Malinow

Roberto Malinow, MD, PhD

Roberto Malinow, a distinguished professor of neurobiology and neurosciences in the Section of Neurobiology, is one of three UC San Diego faculty members elected this year to the National Academy of Medicine.

Malinow, an MD, PhD, who holds the Shiley Endowed Chair in Alzheimer’s Disease Research in Honor of Dr. Leon Thal, was honored with election to the academy along with Napoleone Ferrara and Christopher Glass, both of whom are also faculty members at UC San Diego’s School of Medicine.

Election to the academy  is considered among the highest honors in the fields of health and medicine. Formerly known as the Institute of Medicine, the National Academy of Medicine was chartered by Congress in 1970 to provide authoritative, independent, scientifically balanced advice on health and medical issues of national importance. Ferrara, Glass and Malinow were among 70 new members and 10 international members elected at the organization’s annual meeting, bringing NAM’s total active membership to 1,963 worldwide. Fifty UC San Diego faculty members, current and emeritus, are members of NAM.

Malinow’s research seeks to understand how the brain forms and stores memories. Specifically, his lab examines signal strength and activity at synapses – the communications links between neurons. Last year, Malinow and colleagues reported being able to form, erase and reactivate memories in rats – a feat with potential implications for eventually being able to counteract some of the effects of Alzheimer’s disease.

Additionally, he and colleagues identified a control mechanism for an area of the rodent brain that processes sensory and emotive information that humans experience as “disappointment.” The discovery may have implications for drug development to treat mood disorders.

Malinow received his medical degree at New York University and his PhD at UC Berkeley. He joined UC San Diego faculty in 2008 from Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory. More on the three UC San Diego faculty members elected this year to the academy.