Christine Grienberger (BIOL), an assistant professor in biology at Brandeis, was recently awarded with the Sloan Research Fellowship from The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. Grienberger is one of 125 distinguished researchers to be awarded this fellowship. Grienberger was awarded the fellowship in the neuroscience category.
According to the Sloan Fellows website, the Sloan Research Fellowship is awarded to early-career scholars that consist of the “most promising scientific researchers working today.” Winners of this fellowship are awarded $75,000 to be spent over two years to support their research. Other categories for the Sloan Research Fellowship Award include chemistry, computer science, earth system science, economics, mathematics and physics.
When asked about her career and path to Brandeis, Grienberger stated that she “attended medical school at the Technical University Munich in Germany because [she] wanted to be a doctor.” During medical school, she had a change of heart when she went to study in a basic neuroscience research lab: “Specifically I studied neuronal population activity dynamics in the mouse auditory cortex. I was immediately hooked; I just fell in love with research and how I was able from the beginning to be involved in the scientific discovery process.”
After this experience, Grienberger went on to pursue a Ph.D. and attended graduate school at the Technical University Munich. She explained, “In the laboratory of Arthur Konnerth, I investigated activity changes in a mouse model of Alzheimer’s disease.” Before starting her time at Brandeis, she was a postdoctoral associate and research scientist at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Janelia Research Campus and Baylor College of Medicine in Houston. During this time, in the lab of Jeff Magee, she described how she “discovered a new synaptic plasticity mechanism that underlies, we think, memory formation in the brain.”
Since coming to Brandeis in 2021, Grienberger has established herself teaching neuroscience research courses as well as having her own lab, The Grienberger Lab. When asked about what her research at Brandeis looks like, Grienberger stated, “My research investigates the cellular basis of learning and memory and the age- and neurodegenerative disease-associated disruptions of these processes.” She notes that her and her research group “try to understand how our brains are so good at storing new information during learning. This work also has some relevance for developing new classes of artificial neural networks that utilize ‘neurons’ endowed with biologically plausible properties to increase power and efficiency.”
Finally, when asked how she feels to have won such a prestigious award for her research Grienberger stated, “I am very grateful to the Sloan Foundation. Support like this dramatically impacts the work of early-career researchers such as myself. It provides recognition and draws attention to our work, but also provides monetary support for pursuing novel, and therefore, risk avenues of research, starting innovative experiments, and hiring and training additional people in my lab.”