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Patricia Goldman-Rakic

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Pat was not alone in attributing an important role in working memory to the frontal lobes, an area of the neocortex largely expanded in primates... She was, however, rare in her unwavering belief that the key to understanding something as complex as working memory lies in understanding the interactions of multiple elements found in this cortical region... Realizing that the fundamental biological substrates for working memory would only come from the ability to study and manipulate systems and cells, Pat adopted the non-human primate as a model system... In the context of elucidating the component psychological parts of working memory, Pat performed a series of experiments to document now well-known developmental lesion effects... Just as in the visual cortex where columns of neurons could process different fields of the visual world, Pat proposed the existence of memory fields in the prefrontal cortex... To complete her picture of the frontal cortex, Pat's most recent efforts interdigitated these landmark neurophysiological and anatomical studies with detailed analyses of the regional and subcellular organization of neurotransmitter systems, from inputs to receptors... She was particularly fond of the dopamine system, because of the natural link to neuropsychiatric disorders and their dopamine-associated drug therapies and because of the profound modulatory influence that dopamine seemed to provide for memory systems... Pat integrated these data from each domain (molecular, cellular, and neuroanatomical) to provide an in-depth understanding of the frontal circuitry that governs working memory... Her contributions extended well beyond normal function to novel hypotheses about the molecular and cellular development of cortical circuitry and about schizophrenia as a disease of synaptic development and maintenance in the prefrontal cortex... Pat's versatility did not extend to pulling pipette tips in the laboratory or purifying a new receptor antibody... But she knew what would be necessary to tackle the next great challenge in understanding human cognition... Pat's hands and head were part of every experiment, from her surgical wizardry to her own intellectual fearlessness... Those who were fortunate to be mentored and challenged by Pat, in her laboratory and in the field of neuroscience, understand the rare gifts that she has bestowed on all of us.

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Patricia Goldman-Rakic
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View Article: PubMed Central

AUTOMATICALLY GENERATED EXCERPT
Please rate it.

Pat was not alone in attributing an important role in working memory to the frontal lobes, an area of the neocortex largely expanded in primates... She was, however, rare in her unwavering belief that the key to understanding something as complex as working memory lies in understanding the interactions of multiple elements found in this cortical region... Realizing that the fundamental biological substrates for working memory would only come from the ability to study and manipulate systems and cells, Pat adopted the non-human primate as a model system... In the context of elucidating the component psychological parts of working memory, Pat performed a series of experiments to document now well-known developmental lesion effects... Just as in the visual cortex where columns of neurons could process different fields of the visual world, Pat proposed the existence of memory fields in the prefrontal cortex... To complete her picture of the frontal cortex, Pat's most recent efforts interdigitated these landmark neurophysiological and anatomical studies with detailed analyses of the regional and subcellular organization of neurotransmitter systems, from inputs to receptors... She was particularly fond of the dopamine system, because of the natural link to neuropsychiatric disorders and their dopamine-associated drug therapies and because of the profound modulatory influence that dopamine seemed to provide for memory systems... Pat integrated these data from each domain (molecular, cellular, and neuroanatomical) to provide an in-depth understanding of the frontal circuitry that governs working memory... Her contributions extended well beyond normal function to novel hypotheses about the molecular and cellular development of cortical circuitry and about schizophrenia as a disease of synaptic development and maintenance in the prefrontal cortex... Pat's versatility did not extend to pulling pipette tips in the laboratory or purifying a new receptor antibody... But she knew what would be necessary to tackle the next great challenge in understanding human cognition... Pat's hands and head were part of every experiment, from her surgical wizardry to her own intellectual fearlessness... Those who were fortunate to be mentored and challenged by Pat, in her laboratory and in the field of neuroscience, understand the rare gifts that she has bestowed on all of us.

No MeSH data available.