Marina Picciotto

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Marina Rachel Picciotto
Marina Picciotto 2017.jpg
Marina Picciotto at Yale University in 2017
Born (1963-06-22) June 22, 1963 (age 55)
Bloomington, Indiana, USA
Residence Connecticut, USA
Citizenship United States
Alma mater
Known for Nicotinic receptors
Scientific career
Fields Neuroscience
Institutions Yale University
Doctoral advisor Paul Greengard
Other academic advisors Jean-Pierre Changeux, Richard Scheller

Marina Rachel Picciotto (born June 22, 1963) is an American neuroscientist known for her work on the role of nicotine in addiction, memory, and reward behaviors. She is the Charles B. G. Murphy Professor of Psychiatry and professor in the Child Study Center and the Departments of Neuroscience and of Pharmacology at the Yale University School of Medicine.[1] Since 2015, she has been editor-in-chief of the Journal of Neuroscience.

Education and early life[edit]

Born in Bloomington, Indiana on June 22, 1963, Picciotto moved to New York City as a young child and graduated from Hunter College High School in 1981. Picciotto received her B.S. in biology from Stanford University in 1985, and her Ph.D. in 1992 from Rockefeller University. She carried out post-doctoral work at the Pasteur Institute in Paris from 1992-1995.

Scientific career[edit]

Picciotto began her career in neuroscience as an undergraduate researcher at Stanford University, where she worked with Richard Scheller. There she discovered that the FMRFamide gene gives rise to multiple copies of the neuropeptide.[2] She went on to PhD work with Paul Greengard at Rockefeller University where she cloned the gene for calcium/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase 1.[3] As a Human Frontier Science Program postdoctoral fellow with Jean-Pierre Changeux at the Pasteur Institute in Paris, Picciotto produced the first mouse knock-out lacking a nicotinic receptor subunit.[4] She returned to the United States in 1995 to join the Yale University faculty as an assistant professor and rising through the ranks to become the Charles B.G. Murphy Professor in Psychiatry in 2008. Her group is known for its discoveries in nicotine addiction and brain circuits. Recent work from Picciotto showed that pre-natal exposure to nicotine has profound effects on adult behavior.[5] In press interviews, she has expressed concerns about the use of e-cigarettes and low-dose nicotine cigarettes.[6]


In 2015, Picciotto was named editor-in-chief of The Journal of Neuroscience. Since taking over leadership at the journal, she has instituted a number of changes including eliminating submission fees for Society for Neuroscience members[7] and restoring the ability of authors to publish supplementary data alongside their papers.[8] Picciotto has also instituted new controls on statistical analysis and experimental design reporting.[9] In a move to support pre-print publishing, Picciotto added The Journal of Neuroscience to the list of journals that will accept submissions directly from bioRxiv.[10] She has also started initiatives on social media to thank scientists who participate in peer review at the journal.[11]


Picciotto was elected as an AAAS fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 2014,[12] and was elected to the National Academy of Medicine in 2012.[13] Picciotto received the Jacob P. Waletzky Memorial Award for Innovative Research in Drug Addiction and Alcohol Research from The Society for Neuroscience in 2007. President Bill Clinton presented her with the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers at the White House in 2000[14].

Selected publications[edit]

  • Fait, B. W., Thompson, D. C., Mose, T. N., Jatlow, P., Jordt, S. E., Picciotto M. R., & Mineur, Y. S. (2017). "Menthol disrupts nicotine's psychostimulant properties in an age and sex-dependent manner in C57BL/6J mice". Behav. Brain Res. 334: 72–77. doi:10.1016/j.bbr.2017.07.027. PMC 5580257. PMID 28743602.
  • Picciotto, M. R., Zoli, M., Léna, C., Bessis, A., Lallemand, Y., Le Novère, N., Vincent, P., Merlo Pich, E., Brulet, P. & Changeux, J.-P. (1995). "Abnormal avoidance learning in mice lacking functional high-affinity nicotine receptor in the brain". Nature. 374 (6517): 65–67. doi:10.1038/374065a0. PMID 7870173.
  • Picciotto, M. R., Czernik, A. & Nairn, A. C. (1993). "Calcium/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase I - cDNA cloning and identification of autophosphorylation site". J. Biol. Chem. 268 (35): 26512–26521. PMID 8253780.
  • Schaefer, M., Picciotto, M. R., Kreiner, T., Kaldany, R., Taussig, R. & Scheller, R. H. (1985). "Aplysia neurons express a gene encoding multiple FMRFamide neuropeptides". Cell. 41 (2): 457–461. doi:10.1016/S0092-8674(85)80019-2. PMID 3838698.


  1. ^ "Marina Picciotto, PhD > Psychiatry - Yale School of Medicine".
  2. ^ Schaefer, M.; Picciotto, M. R.; Kreiner, T.; Kaldany, R. R.; Taussig, R.; Scheller, R. H. (1 June 1985). "Aplysia neurons express a gene encoding multiple FMRFamide neuropeptides". Cell. 41 (2): 457–467. PMID 3838698.
  3. ^ Picciotto, M. R.; Czernik, A. J.; Nairn, A. C. (15 December 1993). "Calcium/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase I. cDNA cloning and identification of autophosphorylation site". Journal of Biological Chemistry. 268 (35): 26512–26521. PMID 8253780.
  4. ^ Picciotto, M. R.; Zoli, M.; Léna, C.; Bessis, A.; Lallemand, Y.; Le Novère, N.; Vincent, P.; Pich, E. M.; Brûlet, P.; Changeux, J. P. (2 March 1995). "Abnormal avoidance learning in mice lacking functional high-affinity nicotine receptor in the brain". Nature. 374 (6517): 65–67. doi:10.1038/374065a0. PMID 7870173.
  5. ^ Hathaway, Bill (30 May 2016). "Effects of maternal smoking continue long after birth" (Press release). Yale University.
  6. ^ Orson, Diane. "Will Low-Nicotine Cigarettes Stop People From Smoking? Yale Prof Says Answer Is Not Clear". WNPR.
  7. ^ Picciotto, Marina (2017). "No Submission Fee for SfN Members". The Journal of Neuroscience. 37 (9): 2267.
  8. ^ Picciotto, Marina (2017). "JNeurosci Manuscripts May Now Include Extended Datasets". The Journal of Neuroscience. 37 (13): 3441.
  9. ^ Picciotto, Marina (2017). "Reporting on Experimental Design and Statistical Analysis". The Journal of Neuroscience. 37 (14): 3737.
  10. ^ Picciotto, Marina (2017). "Direct Submissions from bioRxiv". The Journal of Neuroscience. 37 (2): 237.
  11. ^ Picciotto, Marina (2016). "Gratitude to Our Reviewers". The Journal of Neuroscience. 36 (36): 9267. doi:10.1523/JNEUROSCI.2645-16.2016. PMID 27605602.
  12. ^ "New AAAS Fellows Recognized for Their Contributions to Advancing Science". American Association for the Advancement of Science. 24 November 2014.
  13. ^ "Marina Picciotto elected to the Institute of Medicine - Yale School of Public Health" (Press release). Yale University.
  14. ^ "President Honors Outstanding Young Scientists".

External links[edit]