Last Name

Marcia H. Ratner, PhD

TitleProject Manager
InstitutionBoston University School of Medicine
DepartmentPharmacology & Experimental Therapeutics
Address72 East Concord Street, L-601
Boston MA 02118
Phone(617) 414-2661
ORCID ORCID Icon0000-0002-5508-3267
 Awards and Honors

2016BU-CTSI National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences, NIH through Grant Number 1UL1TR001430: BU-CTSI Funding Opportunity Award
2004-2007Boston University School of Medicine (PI: Peter Polgar; Mentor: David Farb), NRSA T32 AG 00115 : Post-Doctoral Fellowship in the Biochemistry of Aging
1995International Honor Society in Psychology: Psi Chi
 Research Expertise & Professional Interests
Dr. Marcia H. Ratner earned her doctoral degree in Behavioral Neuroscience from the Boston University School of Medicine where she trained in the Department of Neurology under Drs. Robert G. Feldman and Raymon Durso. She subsequently completed a post-doctoral fellowship in the Biochemistry of Aging in the Department of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics under the supervision of Dr. David H. Farb.

Dr. Ratner's training at the BUSM has provided her with genuine translational research experience in clinical as well as basic neuroscience and neurotoxicology. This unique training experience has enabled her to evaluate how chemicals can modify neurological function and the progression of neurodegenerative disease.

Dr. Ratner works with her colleague Dr. David Farb in the Laboratory of Molecular Neurobiology where her research focuses on investigating how chemicals alter learning and memory function in healthy subjects and those with neurodegenerative diseases. She currently employs basic behavioral and in vivo electrophysiological techniques in her studies of how chemicals modify hippocampal neural network activity and disease progression in animal models of age-related amnestic mild cognitive impairment and Alzheimer's disease. The major advantage of in vivo electrophysiology over noninvasive measures such as surface electroencephalogram and functional imaging studies of regional cerebral blood flow is found in the ability of this technology to differentiate the activity of inhibitory interneurons from that of excitatory pyramidal cells both across brain regions and within subregions. This highly translational approach is well suited for target-based as well as repurposing studies of drug-induced changes in both single unit activity and local field potentials. A recent paper on which Dr. Ratner shares first authorship has shown that co-administration of low doses of the FDA approved anti epileptic drugs levetiracetam and valproic acid improves aspects of place cell firing dynamics including increasing spatial information content in aged rats (Robitsek et al, Hippocampus, 2015). Dr. Ratner recently authored an invited editorial on the future role of in vivo electrophysiology in preclinical drug discovery. The observations of Dr. Ratner and her colleagues suggest that the specificity with which, not just the rate at which, a neuron fires plays an important role in learning and memory function and, that interventions designed to increase the specificity with which hippocampal pyramidal cells fire may improve memory function in subjects with age-related amnestic mild cognitive impairment and Alzheimer’s disease.

Dr. Ratner serves as an ad hoc reviewer for several peer reviewed journals including: Neurology, Toxicology, Clinical Toxicology, Food and Chemical Toxicology, and BMC Pharmacology and Toxicology.

Dr. Ratner is a member of the Society of Toxicology and the American Academy of Clinical Toxicology.

Dr. Ratner also serves as an ad hoc neurotoxicology consultant to industry, government agencies and law firms.

Dr. Ratner has expertise and training in the following methods used in preclinical and clinical behavioral neuroscience and neurotoxicology:

Rodent stereotactic brain surgery
In vivo electrophysiology
Animal behavioral models
Human neuropsychological assessment
Clinical neurology

 Self-Described Keywords
  • Neurotoxicology
  • Neurodegenerative disease
  • In vivo electrophysiology
  • Behavioral Neuroscience
  • Toxicology
  • Parkinsonism
  • Toxic encephalopathy
  • Learning and memory disorders
  • Dementia
  • Preclinical Drug Discovery
Publications listed below are automatically derived from MEDLINE/PubMed and other sources, which might result in incorrect or missing publications. Faculty can login to make corrections and additions.
List All   |   Timeline
  1. Ratner MH, Fitzgerald E. Understanding of the role of manganese in parkinsonism and Parkinson disease. Neurology. 2017 Jan 24; 88(4):338-339. PMID: 28031391.
    View in: PubMed
  2. Ratner, M.H., Jabre, J.F. . Reference Module in Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Psychology. Neurobehavioral Toxicology. Elsevier. 2016.
    View in: External Website
  3. Marcia H. Ratner. A critical review of the interrelationships between genetics, neurotoxicant exposure, and age at onset of neurodegenerative diseases. Current Topics in Toxicology. Research Trends. 2016; (12):1-10.
    View in: External Website
  4. Ratner MH. Editorial: The Future Role of In vivo Electrophysiology in Preclinical Drug Discovery. EC Pharmacology and Toxicology. ECRONICON LIMITED. London. 2016; 2(2):108-109.
    View in: External Website
  5. Robitsek J, Ratner MH, Stewart T, Eichenbaum H, Farb DH. Combined administration of levetiracetam and valproic acid attenuates age-related hyperactivity of CA3 place cells, reduces place field area, and increases spatial information content in aged rat hippocampus. Hippocampus. 2015 Dec; 25(12):1541-55. PMID: 25941121.
    View in: PubMed
  6. Ratner MH, Farb DH, Ozer J, Feldman RG, Durso R. Younger age at onset of sporadic Parkinson's disease among subjects occupationally exposed to metals and pesticides. Interdiscip Toxicol. 2014 Sep; 7(3):123-33. PMID: 26109889.
    View in: PubMed
  7. Farb DH, Ratner MH. Targeting the modulation of neural circuitry for the treatment of anxiety disorders. Pharmacol Rev. 2014 Oct; 66(4):1002-32. PMID: 25237115.
    View in: PubMed
  8. Ozer J, Ratner M, Shaw M, Bailey W, Schomaker S. The current state of serum biomarkers of hepatotoxicity. Toxicology. 2008 Mar 20; 245(3):194-205. PMID: 18291570.
    View in: PubMed
  9. Ratner MH, Feldman RG. Parkinson’s Disease. Pfeiffer RF, and Ebadi M, (Eds). Chapter 6., Environmental Toxins and Parkinson’s Disease. CRC Press. Boca Raton. 2005; pp 51-62.
  10. Ratner MH, Feldman RG, White RF. Encyclopedia of the Human Brain. Ramachandran VS (ed). Neurobehavioral Toxicology. Elsevier Science. New York. 2002; 3:pp 423-439.
  11. Feldman RG; Ratner MH. Clinics in Occupational and Environmental Medicine. Essentials of metal neurotoxicity: Mechanisms and pathology. 2001; 3(1):619-653.
  12. Feldman RG, Ratner MH. The pathogenesis of neurodegenerative disease: neurotoxic mechanisms of action and genetics. Curr Opin Neurol. 1999 Dec; 12(6):725-31. PMID: 10676756.
    View in: PubMed
  13. Feldman RG, Ratner MH, Feldman ES. Approach to neurotoxicity tort cases. Neurol Clin. 1999 May; 17(2):267-81. PMID: 10196408.
    View in: PubMed
  14. Feldman RG, Ratner MH, Ptak T. Chronic toxic encephalopathy in a painter exposed to mixed solvents. Environ Health Perspect. 1999 May; 107(5):417-22. PMID: 10210698.
    View in: PubMed
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