Dr. Jeffrey C. Magee

The Raymond and Beverly Sackler Distinguished Visiting Neuroscientist at the University of Toronto Lecture Series was established in 1999. This endowment was created in tribute to the Nobel Laureate, Julius Axelrod, Ph.D., for his pioneering and fundamental contributions to the neurosciences.

The Thirteenth Raymond and Beverly Sackler Distinguished Visiting NeuroscientistJCM

Date | Friday, June 19, 2015
Time | 3:20 pm
Location | Room 3154, CPIN Research Day, Medical Sciences Building, University of Toronto
Speaker | Dr. Jeffrey C. Magee, Janelia Research Campus, Howard Hughes Medical Institute
Title | A fundamental low-level cortical microcircuit computation

Hosts | Vladislav Sekulic (CPIN Grad Exec; PSL) and Ekaterina Turlova (CPIN Grad Exec; PSL)

Dr. Jeffrey C. Magee

Jeffrey C. Magee studied both zoology and philosophy at Louisiana State University (LSU) and then went on to earn a PhD in physiology from Tulane University. During postdoctoral research at Baylor College of Medicine and then back at LSU, where he was on the faculty for 9 years, Magee made considerable contributions to the science of the mind, elucidating many of the ways in which the physical properties of nerve cells enable them to process and store information. In 2006 he joined Janelia where his lab examines how the basic building blocks of nervous systems come together to form neuronal circuits that produce the computations that drive behavior. They are currently exploring how a low-level computation performed by cortical microcircuits produces feature selectivity and neuronal representations in the barrel cortex and hippocampus.  Along the way they have contributed to our understanding of information processing and storage by neuronal microcircuits.

Dr. Julius Axelrod

Julius Axelrod was born on May 30th, 1912, in New York City. He obtained his B.Sc. in 1933 at the College of the City of New York, M.A. in 1941 at New York University, and Ph.D. in 1955 from the George Washington University.In October 1970, the Karolinska Institutet decided to award the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for 1970 jointly to Bernard Katz, Ulf von Euler and Julius Axelrod for their discoveries concerning "the humoral transmitters in the nerve terminals and the mechanisms for their storage, release and inactivation".

The discoveries which the 1970 Nobel laureates have made have given us answers to questions of fundamental importance for the understanding of the mechanism underlying the transmission between the nerve cells, i.e. at the so-called synapses, and between the nerve terminals and the so-called effector organs, for instance between the motor nerve fibres and the muscle fibres which they innervate. The transmission between the nerve cells, which radically differs from the mechanisms underlying the impulse transmission in the nerve fibres, is mediated by chemical substances, so-called neurotransmitters, which carry the message from one cell to the other. The three scientists have been working independently of each other, but their discoveries all contribute in solving principal questions concerning the neurotransmitters, their storage, release and inactivation. Dr. Julius Axelrod's discoveries concern the mechanisms which regulate the formation of this important transmitter in the nerve cells and the mechanisms which are involved in the inactivation of noradrenaline, partly under the influence of an enzyme discovered by himself.

von Euler's and Axelrod's discoveries have not only increased our knowledge about the transmission in the sympathetic nervous system, they also form the basis for the understanding of the transmission in the central nervous system and its pharmacology. Thus in a very significant way, the laureates have presented basic data about the physical and chemical mechanisms of the synaptic transmission and thus given us basic information about how the messages are mediated between nerve cells. Their discoveries concerning these regulatory mechanisms in the nervous system are fundamental in neurophysiology and neuropharmacology and have greatly stimulated the search for remedies against nervous and mental disturbances.”

From the Press Release: The 1970 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine

Dr. Axelrod passed away on December 29, 2004 at the age of 92.

More on his distinguished career >> 

The Raymond and Beverly Sackler Foundation was founded in 1988 with the aims of general charitable purposes and in particular the advancement of the education in the fields of art, science and medical research.