Heather Snell, PhD, Associate, Dominick P. Purpura Department of Neuroscience, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, has been named one of six new Next Generation Leaders (NGLs) by the Allen Institute, a nonprofit research organization based in Seattle. The NGLs are members of a neuroscience advisory panel made up of early-career researchers who will help advise research efforts at the Allen Institute for Brain Science, the MindScope Program and the Allen Institute for Neural Dynamics.
“It is a real honor to be selected by the Allen Institute for this advisory role,” said Dr. Snell. “I am excited to network with other NGL members and Allen Institute scientists, learn about the latest cutting-edge technology and offer insight to the institute that will continue to propel scientific discoveries.”
Dr. Snell 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 more 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 advisory council, for a total of 18 council members at any given time. As the program is focused on early-career neuroscience researchers, council members are postdoctoral fellows or newly appointed faculty members.
The program also provides professional development for its members to serve as scientific advisors to other organizations, roles typically not given to scientists until they are well advanced in their careers, providing networking opportunities and peer support from Allen Institute researchers and other Next Generation Leaders and immersing them into Allen Institute neuroscience research, data and other resources.