Gina Turrigiano, Ph.D.

Landis Award for Outstanding Mentorship
Photo of Dr. Gina Turrigiano
Brandeis University, Waltham, MA

Dr. Turrigiano’s individualized mentorship approach focuses on understanding the unique combination of motivation, scientific training, constructive criticism and support that positions each trainee for personal and professional success. With an emphasis on critical thinking and rigor in the lab, she encourages an environment in which exploration and failure are important parts of the learning process, and she fosters an inclusive and encouraging workplace that empowers her trainees to achieve both individuality and independence. In addition to her efforts to promote equity and inclusivity, and her demonstrated dedication to supporting and being a role model for disadvantaged individuals, Dr. Turrigiano has pursued intensive and formal mentorship training, to evolve her own practices for effective and culturally aware mentorship. Trainees consistently highlighted her “relentless” support, which extends well beyond her lab to her institution and at a national level. The Turrigiano lab studies the plasticity mechanisms that allow our brains to “tune themselves up” and remain both plastic and stable. Over the last two decades they have uncovered a family of “homeostatic” plasticity mechanisms, including Synaptic Scaling, that allow neurons to adjust their excitability to maintain constant firing rates in the face of outside perturbations.