Bianca Jones Marlin
October 12, 2022 at 4:00PM Chen 100
Dr. Bianca Jones Marlin, Herbert and Florence Irving Assistant Professor of Cell Research, Departments of Psychology & Neuroscience at Columbia University, will be speaking at Caltech on Wednesday, October 12 at 4:00PM. She will give a talk about her research followed by an interview focusing on her journey into science.
Talk Title: Olfactory Fear Conditioning Biases Olfactory Stem Cell Receptor Fate
Abstract: Stress can cause a host of adaptive and maladaptive biological responses that may be passed down from parent to offspring. The mouse olfactory epithelium (MOE) provides an ideal site to explore physiological responses to stress due to ongoing neurogenesis and unique receptor specificity. Previous studies have shown that olfactory cues paired with a stressful experience can influence neuronal composition in subsequent generations. These studies, albeit groundbreaking, were heavily contested in-part due to limitations in anatomical resolution and mechanistic insight. We use volumetric cellular resolution using iDISCO+ tissue clearing, light-sheet microscopy, and olfactory fear to investigate how aversive experiences alter receptor-specific cell number in the MOE across generations. By uncovering a mechanism by which the complex architecture of the MOE responds to odor fear conditioning, our study gives rise to the notion that learned adaptive change becomes innate.
Bio: Bianca Jones Marlin, Ph.D. is a neuroscientist and Herbert and Florence Irving Assistant Professor of Cell Research at the Zuckerman Institute at Columbia University in New York City. Her research investigates how organisms unlock innate behaviors at appropriate times, and how learned information is passed to subsequent generations via transgenerational epigenetic inheritance. Dr. Marlin's experimental approach combines neural imaging, behavior, and molecular genetics to uncover the mechanisms by which learning and emotion are biologically transmitted from neurons of the parent to neurons of their offspring. The resulting insights into how learned behavior in the parent can become innate behavior in the offspring promise to make a profound impact on societal brain health, mental well-being, and parenting.
Prior to joining the faculty at Columbia, Dr. Marlin completed her postdoctoral work under the mentorship of Nobel Laureate, Dr. Richard Axel, where she investigated how trauma experienced by parents affects the brain structure and sensory experience of their future offspring. Dr. Marlin received her Ph.D. from New York University working in the lab of Dr. Robert Froemke, where she examined how the brain adapts to care for a newborn— specifically the role of the neuropeptide oxytocin in maternal behavior. She has dual bachelor degrees in biology and adolescent education from St. John's University.
Dr. Marlin's work has been recognized with several awards and honors, including: Popular Science Magazine's Brilliant 10, the STAT Wunderkind Award, the Allen Institute's Next Generation Leaders Council, the Donald B. Lindsley Prize in Behavioral Neuroscience, and Discover Magazine's Top 100 Stories. Her research and perspectives have been featured in The New York Times, The Washington Post, National Geographic, Discover Magazine, and Forbes, among others. For more information about Dr. Marlin, please visit www.biancajonesmarlin.com