10th Annual Mariann Blum
Memorial Lectureship in the Neurosciences

April 10th, 2013 - 12:00 Noon
Long Campus Medical Bldg Room 444B


Mariann BlumDr. Mariann Blum (pictured right) was a native Houstonian and biochemist who focused on how neurons damaged by Parkinson's Disease can be stimulated to survive or regenerate. Her scientific work also changed the way neuroscientists think about the brain. Her careful analysis of the levels of the growth-factor genes throughout the development of the brain found that levels actually were highest in the adult animal. This led to the observation that growth factors continued to be very important in the brain, even after it was fully formed. Blum published more than 60 peer-reviewed papers and reviews in her too-short scientific career, supervised five doctoral candidates, and trained more than 12 post-doctoral fellows and visiting faculty members.


Known to most of her friends as "Poco," she received a BS in biochemistry from the University of Texas at Austin in 1977. In 1982, she earned a doctorate in biochemistry at the UT Medical Branch in Galveston. In the same year, she enrolled in the Rockefeller University in New York as a post-doctoral student of the renowned neuroscientist, Dr. Bruce McEwen. Appointed to the adjunct faculty at Rockefeller, she also trained in molecular neurobiology in the laboratory of Dr. James Roberts at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons. Blum joined the faculty of Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York in 1986 as an assistant professor in the Dr. Arthur M. Fishberg Research Center for Neurobiology. In 1993 she rose to the rank of associate professor with a secondary appointment in the Department of Geriatrics and Adult Development. In 2002, she became Professor of Pharmacology at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio with an appointment in the Audie L. Murphy Memorial Veterans Hospital. Throughout her career, her research was funded by grants from the National Institute of Neurological Diseases and Stroke and the National Institute of Aging.


Blum Lectureship Guest LecturerThis year's guest speaker will be Story C. Landis, Ph.D. (pictured left), Director, NINDS, Office Of The Director NIH/NINDS. Dr. Lanids has been Director of the National Institute for Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) since 2003. A native of New England, Dr. Landis received her undergraduate degree from Wellesley College (1967) and her Ph.D. from Harvard University (1973). After postdoctoral work at Harvard University, she served on the faculty of the Department of Neurobiology there. In 1985, she joined the faculty of Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, where she created the Department of Neurosciences which, under her leadership, achieved an international reputation for excellence. Throughout her research career, Dr. Landis has made fundamental contributions to the understanding of nervous system development. She has garnered many honors, is an elected fellow of the Institute of Medicine, the Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the American Neurological Association, and in 2002 was elected President of the Society for Neuroscience.

Dr. Landis joined the NINDS in 1995 as Scientific Director and worked to re-engineer the Institute's intramural research programs. Between 1999 and 2000, she led the movement, together with the NIMH Scientific Director, to bring a sense of unity and common purpose to 200 neuroscience laboratories from eleven different NIH Institutes. As NINDS Director, Dr. Landis oversees an annual budget of $1.6 billion that supports research by investigators in public and private institutions across the country, as well as by scientists working in its intramural program. Together with NIMH and NIA directors, she co-chairs the NIH Blueprint for Neuroscience Research, a roadmap-like effort to support trans-NIH activities in the brain sciences. In 2007, Dr. Landis was named Chair of the NIH Stem Cell Task Force.


She will be presenting her lecture titled: 'Opportunities and challenges in the neurosciences'

Source: Dr. Landis NINDS Web Profile