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Kandel at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Davos, 2013
|Born||Eric Richard Kandel
November 7, 1929
|Fields||Psychiatry and neuroscience|
|Institutions||Columbia University College
of Physicians and Surgeons
|Alma mater||New York University Medical School
|Known for||physiology of memory|
|Notable awards||Harvey Prize (1993)
Wolf Prize in Medicine (1999)
Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 2000
|Spouse||Denise Bystryn (m. 1956; 2 children)|
Eric Richard Kandel (born November 7, 1929) is an American neuropsychiatrist who was a recipient of the 2000 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for his research on the physiological basis of memory storage in neurons. He shared the prize with Arvid Carlsson and Paul Greengard.
Kandel, who had studied psychoanalysis, wanted to understand how memory works. His mentor, Harry Grundfest, said, “If you want to understand the brain you’re going to have to take a reductionist approach, one cell at a time.” So he studied the neural system of a simple animal, Aplysia, a sea slug with very large nerve cells.
Kandel is a professor of biochemistry and biophysics at the College of Physicians and Surgeons at Columbia University. He is a Senior Investigator in the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. He was also the founding director of the Center for Neurobiology and Behavior, which is now the Department of Neuroscience at Columbia University. Kandel authored In Search of Memory: The Emergence of a New Science of Mind (WW Norton), which chronicles his life and research. The book was awarded the 2006 Los Angeles Times Book Award for Science and Technology.
Early years 
Kandel was born in 1929 in Vienna, Austria, in a middle-class Ashkenazi Jewish family. His mother, Charlotte Kandel (née Zimels), was born in 1897 in Kolomyya, Pokuttya (modern Ukraine). He came from a well-educated middle-class family. At that time Kolomyya was in Eastern Poland. His father, Hermann Kandel, was born in 1898 into a poor family in Olesko, Galicia (then part of Austria-Hungary). At the beginning of World War I, his parents moved to Vienna where they met and married in 1923. Shortly after, Eric's father established a toy store. They were a thoroughly assimilated and acculturated family, who had to leave Austria after the country had been annexed by Germany in March 1938. Then Aryanization (Arisierung) started; attacks on Jews escalated; and Jewish property was confiscated. Eventually, when Eric was 9, he and his brother Ludwig, 14, boarded the "Gerolstein" at Antwerp in Belgium and joined their uncle in Brooklyn on May 11, 1939. Later his parents succeeded in moving to the US.
After arriving in the United States, and settling in Brooklyn, Kandel was tutored by his grandfather in Judaic studies and was accepted at the Yeshiva of Flatbush, from where he graduated in 1944. He attended Brooklyn's Erasmus Hall High School, a Public high school.
Kandel's initial intellectual interests lay in the area of history. (History and Literature was his undergraduate major at Harvard University.) He wrote an honors dissertation on "The Attitude Toward National Socialism of Three German Writers: Carl Zuckmayer, Hans Carossa, and Ernst Jünger." While at Harvard, a place dominated by the work of B. F. Skinner, Kandel became interested in learning and memory. It should be noted, however, that while Skinner championed a strict separation of psychology, as its own level of discourse, from biological considerations such as neurology, Kandel's work is essentially centered on an explication of the relationships between psychology and neurology.
The world of neuroscience was first opened up to Kandel through his interactions with a college girlfriend, Anna Kris, whose parents were psychoanalysts. Sigmund Freud, a pioneer in revealing the importance of unconscious neural processes, was at the root of Kandel's interest in the biology of motivation and unconscious and conscious memory.
Medical school and early research 
In 1952 he started at the New York University Medical School. By graduation he was firmly interested in the biological basis of the mind. During this time he met his future wife, Denise Bystryn. Kandel was first exposed to research in Harry Grundfest's laboratory at Columbia University. Grundfest was known for using the oscilloscope to demonstrate that action potential conduction velocity depends on axon diameter. The researchers Kandel interacted with were contemplating the technically challenging idea of intracellular recordings of the electrical activity of the relatively small neurons of the vertebrate brain.
After starting his neurobiological work in the difficult thicket of the electrophysiology of the cerebral cortex, Kandel was impressed by the progress that had been made by Stephen Kuffler using a much more experimentally accessible system: neurons isolated from marine invertebrates. After becoming aware of Kuffler's work in 1955, Kandel graduated from medical school and learned from Stanley Crain how to make microelectrodes that could be used for intracellular recordings of relatively large crayfish giant axons.
Karl Lashley, a well-known American neuropsychologist, had tried but failed to identify an anatomical locus for memory storage in the cortex at the surface of the brain. When Kandel joined the Laboratory of Neurophysiology at the National Institutes of Health in 1957, William Beecher Scoville and Brenda Milner had recently described the patient HM, who had lost explicit memory storage following removal of the hippocampus. Kandel took on the task of performing electrophysiological recordings of hippocampal pyramidal neurons. Working with Alden Spencer, electrophysiological evidence was found for action potentials in the dendritic trees of hippocampal neurons. They also noticed the spontaneous pace-maker-like activity of these neurons and a robust recurrent inhibition in the hippocampus. They provided the first intracellular records of the electrical activity that underlies the epileptic spike (the intracellular paroxysmal depolarizing shift) and the epileptic runs of spikes (the intracellular sustained depolarization). With respect to memory, there was nothing in the general electrophysiological properties of hippocampal neurons that suggested why the hippocampus was special for explicit memory storage.
Kandel began to realize that memory storage must rely on modifications in the synaptic connections between neurons and that the complex connectivity of the hippocampus did not provide the best system for study of the detailed function of synapses. Kandel was aware that comparative studies of behavior, such as those by Konrad Lorenz, Niko Tinbergen, and Karl von Frisch had revealed conservation of simple forms of learning across all animals. Kandel felt it would be productive to select a simple animal model that would facilitate electrophysiological analysis of the synaptic changes involved in learning and memory storage. He believed that, ultimately, the results would be found to be applicable to humans. This decision was not without risks since many senior biologists and psychologists believed that nothing useful could be learned about human memory by studying invertebrate physiology.
In 1962, after completing his residency in psychiatry, Kandel went to Paris to learn about the marine mollusc Aplysia californica from Ladislav Tauc. Kandel had realized that simple forms of learning such as habituation, sensitization, classical conditioning, and operant conditioning could readily be studied with ganglia isolated from Aplysia. "While recording the behavior of a single cell in a ganglion, one nerve axon pathway to the ganglion could be stimulated weakly electrically as a conditioned [tactile] stimulus, while another pathway was stimulated as an unconditioned [pain] stimulus, following the exact protocol used for classical conditioning with natural stimuli in intact animals." Electrophysiological changes resulting from the combined stimuli could then be traced to specific synapses. In 1965 Kandel published his initial results, including a form of pre-synaptic potentiation that seemed to correspond to a simple form of learning.
Faculty member at New York University Medical School 
Kandel took a position in the Departments of Physiology and Psychiatry at the New York University Medical School, eventually forming the Division of Neurobiology and Behavior. Working with Irving Kupferman and Harold Pinsker it was possible to develop protocols for demonstrating simple forms of learning by intact Aplysia. In particular, the now famous gill-withdrawal reflex, by which the tender Aplysia gill tissue is withdrawn from danger, was shown to be sensitive to both habituation and sensitization. By 1971 Tom Carew joined the research group and helped extend the work from studies restricted to short-term memory to additional experiments that included additional physiological processes required for long-term memory.
By 1981, laboratory members including Terry Walters, Tom Abrams, and Robert Hawkins had been able to extend the Aplysia system into the study of classical conditioning, a finding which helped close the apparent gap between the simple forms of learning often associated with invertebrates and more complex types of learning more often recognized in vertebrates. Along with the fundamental behavioral studies, other work in the lab traced the neuronal circuits of sensory neurons, interneurons, and motor neurons involved in the learned behaviors. This allowed analysis of the specific synaptic connections that are modified by learning in the intact animals. The results from Kandel's laboratory provided solid evidence for the mechanistic basis of learning as "a change in the functional effectiveness of previously existing excitatory connections."
Molecular changes during learning 
Starting in 1966 James Schwartz collaborated with Kandel on a biochemical analysis of changes in neurons associated with learning and memory storage. By this time it was known that long-term memory, unlike short-term memory, involved the synthesis of new proteins. By 1972 they had evidence that the second messenger molecule cyclic AMP (cAMP) was produced in Aplysia ganglia under conditions that cause short-term memory formation (sensitization). In 1974 the Kandel lab moved to Columbia University as founding director of the Center for Neurobiology and Behavior. It was soon found that the neurotransmitter serotonin acting to produce the second messenger cAMP is involved in the molecular basis of sensitization of the gill-withdrawal reflex. By 1980, collaboration with Paul Greengard resulted in demonstration that cAMP-dependent protein kinase (PKA) acted in this biochemical pathway in response to elevated levels of cAMP. Steven Siegelbaum identified a potassium channel that could be regulated by PKA, coupling serotonin's effects to altered synaptic electrophysiology.
In 1983 Kandel helped form the Howard Hughes Medical Research Institute at Columbia devoted to molecular neural science. The Kandel lab took on the task of identifying proteins that had to be synthesized in order to convert short-term memories into long-lasting memories. One of the nuclear targets for PKA is the transcriptional control protein CREB (cAMP response element binding protein). In collaboration with David Glanzman and Craig Bailey, CREB was identified as being a protein involved in long-term memory storage. One result of CREB activation is an increase in the number of synaptic connections. Thus, short-term memory had been linked to functional changes in existing synapses, while long-term memory was associated with a change in the number of synaptic connections.
Experimental support for Hebbian learning 
The Kandel lab has also performed important experiments using transgenic mice as a system for investigating the molecular basis of memory storage in the vertebrate hippocampus. Kandel's original idea that learning mechanisms would be conserved between all animals has been confirmed. Neurotransmitters, second messenger systems, protein kinases, ion channels, and transcription factors like CREB have been confirmed to function in both vertebrate and invertebrate learning and memory storage.
Continuing work at Columbia University 
Kandel actively contributes to science as a member of the Division of Neurobiology and Behavior at the Department of Psychiatry at Columbia University. In 2008, he and Daniela Pollak discovered that conditioning mice to associate a specific noise with protection from harm, a behavior called “learned safety,” produced a behavioral antidepressant effect comparable to medications. This finding, reported in Neuron, may inform further studies of the cellular interactions between antidepressants and behavioral treatments.
Kandel is also well known for the textbooks he has helped write such as Principles of Neural Science. First published in 1981 and entering its fifth edition, Principles of Neural Science is often used as a teaching and reference text in medical schools. Kandel has been a member of the National Academy of Sciences, USA, since 1974. His 2006 autobiographical book, In Search of Memory: The Emergence of a New Science of Mind, is a popularized account of his life and career.
Kandel has been at Columbia University since 1974, and lives in New York City.
Current views about Vienna 
When Kandel won the Nobel Prize in 2000, it was claimed in Vienna that he was an "Austrian" Nobel, something he found "typically Viennese: very opportunistic, very disingenuous, somewhat hypocritical." He also said it was "...certainly not an Austrian Nobel, it was a Jewish-American Nobel." After that, he got a call from then Austrian president Thomas Klestil asking him, "How can we make things right?" Kandel said that first, Doktor-Karl-Lueger-Ring should be renamed; Karl Lueger was an anti-Semitic mayor of Vienna, cited by Hitler in Mein Kampf. Second, he wanted the Jewish intellectual community to be brought back to Vienna, with scholarships for Jewish students and researchers. He also proposed to have a symposium on the response of Austria to National Socialism. Kandel has since accepted an honorary citizenship of Vienna and participates in the academic and cultural life of his native city.
- Albert Lasker Award for Basic Medical Research (1983)
- Gairdner Foundation International Award (1987)
- NAS Award for Scientific Reviewing of the National Academy of Sciences (1988)
- National Medal of Science (1988)
- Member of the German Academy of Sciences Leopoldina (1989) (National Academy of Sciences, since 2008).
- Harvey Prize (1993)
- Ralph W. Gerard Prize (1997)
- Wolf Prize in Medicine (1999)
- Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine (2000) (jointly with Arvid Carlsson and Paul Greengard)
- Charles A Dana Award for Pioneering Achievement in Health (1997)
- Austrian Decoration for Science and Art (2005)
- Benjamin Franklin Medal for Distinguished Achievement in the Sciences of the American Philosophical Society (2006)
- Viktor Frankl Award of the City of Vienna (Viktor Frankl Institute, 2008)
- Honorary citizen of the city of Vienna (2009)
- Grand Decoration of Honour in Silver with Star for Services to the Republic of Austria (2012)
- Pour le Mérite for Arts and Sciences (Germany)
Frankel is a member of the prize committee for neuroscience of the Kavli Prize.
Selected Publications 
- Malleret G, Alarcon JM, Martel G, Takizawa S, Vronskaya S, Yin D, Chen IZ, Kandel ER, Shumyatsky GP. Bidirectional regulation of hippocampal long-term synaptic plasticity and its influence on opposing forms of memory. Journal of Neuroscience 30: 3813-25.
- Akil, H., Brenner, S., Kandel, E.R., Kendler, K.S., King, M-C., Scolnick, E., Watson, J.D., and Zoghbi, H.Y. (2010). The future of psychiatric research: Genomes and neural circuits. Science 327:1580-1581.
- Simpson, E.H., Kellendonk, C., and Kandel, E.R. (2010). A possible role for the striatum in the pathogenesis of the cognitive symptoms of schizophrenia. Neuron 65:585-596.
- Si, K., Choi, Y., White-Grindley, E., Majumbar, A., and Kandel, E.R. (2010). Aplysia CPEB can form prion-like multimers in sensory neurons that contribute to long-term facilitation. Cell 140:421-435.
- Rajasethupathy, P., Fiumara, F., Sheridan, R., Betel, D., Puthanveettil, S.V., James J. Russo, J.J., Sander, C., Tuschl, T., and Kandel, E.R. (2009). Characterization of small RNAs in Aplysia reveals a role for miR-124 in constraining long-term synaptic plasticity through CREB. Neuron 66:803-817.
- Kandel, E.R. (2009) The Biology of Memory: A Forty-Year Perspective. J Neurosci 29: 12748-12756.
- Muzzio, I.A., Levita, L., Kulkarni, J., Monaco, J., Kentros, C., Stead, M., Abbott, L.F., and Kandel, E.R. (2009) Attention enhances the retrieval and stability of visuospatial and olfactory representations in the dorsal hippocampus. PLoS Biol 7(6).
See also 
- A Quest to Understand How Memory Works, By Claudia Dreifus, New York Times, March 5, 2012
- Eric R. Kandel: The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 2000, Nobel Foundation. Accessed September 20, 2007. "My grandfather and I liked each other a great deal, and he readily convinced me that he should tutor me in Hebrew during the summer of 1939 so that I might be eligible for a scholarship at the Yeshiva of Flatbush, an excellent Hebrew parochial school that offered both secular and religious studies at a very high level. With his tutelage I entered the Yeshiva in the fall of 1939. By the time I graduated in 1944 I spoke Hebrew almost as well as English, had read through the five books of Moses; the books of Kings, the Prophets and the Judges in Hebrew; and also learned a smattering of the Talmud.... In 1944, when I graduated from the Yeshiva of Flatbush elementary school, it did not have a high school yet. So I went instead to Erasmus Hall High School, a local public high school in Brooklyn that was then academically very strong."
- Antonov, Igor; Antonova, Irina; Kandel, Eric R.; Hawkins, Robert D. (2003), "Activity-Dependent Presynaptic Facilitation and Hebbian LTP Are Both Required and Interact during Classical Conditioning in Aplysia", Neuron 37 (1): 135–147, doi:10.1016/S0896-6273(02)01129-7, PMID 12526779.
- Huang, Yan-You; Zakharenko, Stanislav S.; Schoch, Susanne; Kaeser, Pascal S.; Janz, Roger; Südhof, Thomas C.; Siegelbaum, Steven A.; Kandel, Eric R. (2005), "Genetic evidence for a protein-kinase-A-mediated presynaptic component in NMDA-receptor-dependent forms of long-term synaptic potentiation", PNAS 102 (26): 9365–9370, Bibcode:2005PNAS..102.9365H, doi:10.1073/pnas.0503777102, PMC 1166627, PMID 15967982.
- Kojima, Nobuhiko; Wang, Jian; Mansuy, Isabelle M.; Grant, Seth G. N.; Mayford, Mark; Kandel, Eric R. (1997), "Rescuing impairment of long-term potentiation in fyn-deficient mice by introducing Fyn transgene", PNAS 94 (9): 4761–4765, Bibcode:1997PNAS...94.4761K, doi:10.1073/pnas.94.9.4761, PMC 20798, PMID 9114065.
- Brandon, E. P.; Zhuo, M.; Huang, Y. Y.; Qi, M.; Gerhold, K. A.; Burton, K. A.; Kandel, E. R.; McKnight, G. S. et al. (1995), "Hippocampal long-term depression and depotentiation are defective in mice carrying a targeted disruption of the gene encoding the RI beta subunit of cAMP-dependent protein kinase", PNAS 92 (19): 8851–8855, Bibcode:1995PNAS...92.8851B, doi:10.1073/pnas.92.19.8851, PMC 41065, PMID 7568030 .
- Bailey, Craig H.; Bartsch, Dusan; Kandel, Eric R. (1996), "Toward a molecular definition of long-term memory storage", PNAS 93 (24): 13445–13452, Bibcode:1996PNAS...9313445B, doi:10.1073/pnas.93.24.13445, PMID 8942955.
- Kandel, Eric R. (2005), "The Molecular Biology of Memory Storage: A Dialog Between Genes and Synapses", Bioscience Reports 24 (4–5): 475–522, doi:10.1007/s10540-005-2742-7, PMID 16134023.
- Science, 6 June 2008, 320:1269
- Nobel Prize Winner Kandel Speaks of Brain, Snails, Memory Pill, Bloomberg 7 April 2006
- Late homage: Nobel Prize winner Eric Kandel becomes honorary citizen of Vienna, Austrian Federal Chancellery, December 24, 2008
- "NAS Award for Scientific Reviewing". National Academy of Sciences. Retrieved 27 February 2011.
- "Reply to a parliamentary question" (pdf) (in German). p. 1709. Retrieved 18 November 2012.
- "Benjamin Franklin Medal for Distinguished Achievement in the Sciences Recipients". American Philosophical Society. Retrieved November 26, 2011.
Further reading 
- Kandel, E. R. (2007), In Search of Memory: The Emergence of a New Science of Mind, New York: W. W. Norton & Company, ISBN 978-0-393-32937-7.
- Kandel, Eric R.; Schwartz, James Harris; Jessell, Thomas M. (2000) , Principles of Neural Science (Fourth ed.), New York: McGraw-Hill, ISBN 0-8385-7701-6.
- Kandel, E. R. (2012), The Age of Insight: The Quest to Understand the Unconscious in Art, Mind, and Brain, from Vienna 1900 to the Present , New York: Random House, ISBN 978-1-4000-6871-5
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Eric Kandel|
- Interview with Kandel June 2006 in German
- Eric Kandel’s Faculty Profile in the Department of Psychiatry at Columbia University
- Eric Kandel's Columbia University website
- Autobiography at the Nobel Prize website
- Science Friday: October 13, 2000 NPR interview
- Eric Kandel - A Nobel's Life
- Eric R. Kandel's United States Patents
- The Kavli Prize Prize Committee Member for neuroscience
- Explains a bit about the textbook Kandel wrote
- Eric Kandel on Charlie Rose