Heather Snell, Ph.D., an associate in the Dominick P. Purpura Department of Neuroscience at Einstein, in December was named one of six Next Generation Leaders (NGLs) by the Allen Institute, a nonprofit research organization based in Seattle. NGLs are members of a neuroscience advisory panel made up of early-career researchers who will help advise investigations at the Allen Institute for Brain Science, the MindScope Program, and the Allen Institute for Neural Dynamics.
Dr. Snell, who is in the lab of Kamran Khodakhah, Ph.D., studies Purkinje cells—specialized neurons, unique to the brain’s cerebellum, that enable normal cerebellum functioning by releasing the neurotransmitter GABA. In mouse model studies, Dr. Snell uses molecular biology, optogenetics, and other techniques to understand the receptors and channels that govern Purkinje-cell activity, and how dysfunctions of Purkinje cells, and of the cerebral circuitry generally, contribute to motor and cognitive disorders.
NGLs are selected through a competitive process that includes applications from around the world. Each leader has a three-year term on the 18-member advisory council, made up of postdoctoral fellows and newly appointed faculty members. The program provides professional development for members to serve as scientific advisers to other groups.