Women In Science Series: Cornelia Bargmann

Today, in our Women In Science series, we dive into the world of neurobiology. This scientist has been elected to the National Academy of Sciences and is currently a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator at Rockefeller University. For those of you that haven't heard of her, I am pleased to tell you about Cornelia "Cori" Bargmann.

 Photo Courtesy of Rockefeller.edu

Photo Courtesy of Rockefeller.edu

Cori Bargmann is an American neurobiologist who attended the University of Georgia and completed her graduate studies at M.I.T. in 1987.  Since then, she examined the molecular mechanisms of oncogenesis, and helped identify the role of Ras in bladder cancer. Additionally, she did work on neu - an oncogene that greatly improved treatments in breast cancer. After completing her post doc at M.I.T., she went on to exploring chemosensory behavior in C. elegans, and achieved several breakthroughs, one of which being that nematodes (roundworms) have a sense of smell.

 Photo Courtesy of nematode.unl.edu

Photo Courtesy of nematode.unl.edu

Before 2004, when she accepted a position at Rockefeller, Bargmann accepted a faculty position at UCSF, focusing on olfaction at the molecular level. This work led to discoveries of the mechanisms underlying complex behaviors, such as feeding behaviors. The work has continued to lead to a deeper understanding of the brain, sensory abilities, and neuronal development. Bargmann also identified SYG-1, a “matchmaker” molecule—a molecule that directs neurons to form connections with each other during development.
— Wikipedia

To learn more about Cori Bargmann, you can read the book, "Natural Obsessions" by Natalie Angier, which chronicles time spent with Bargmann and another prominent scientist in the lab. You can also see her in the video below at the 2014 Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences Symposium. If you'd like to follow her on social media, she tweets @betenoire1.