Marcia H. Ratner, PhD
Project Manager
Boston University School of Medicine
Dept of Pharmacology & Experimental Therapeutics




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 has served as a scientific advisor to the Workplace Safety Insurance Board of Ontario, Canada. In addition to her work as a scientific advisor to government agencies, she also serves as an ad hoc advisor to biotech and pharmaceutical companies, 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
Neuroimaging

2016 BU-CTSI National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences, NIH through Grant Number 1UL1TR001430: BU-CTSI Funding Opportunity Award
2004-2007 Boston University School of Medicine (PI: Peter Polgar; Mentor: David Farb), NRSA T32 AG 00115 : Post-Doctoral Fellowship in the Biochemistry of Aging
1995 International Honor Society in Psychology: Psi Chi
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.

  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; DOI: 10.1212/WNL.0000000000003543;.
  2. Ratner, M.H., Jabre, J.F. . Reference Module in Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Psychology. Neurobehavioral Toxicology. Elsevier. 2016. View Publication
  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 Publication
  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 Publication
  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.View Related Profiles. PMID: 25941121; PMCID: PMC4633399; DOI: 10.1002/hipo.22474;.
  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.View Related Profiles. PMID: 26109889; DOI: 10.2478/intox-2014-0017;.
  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.View Related Profiles. PMID: 25237115; DOI: 10.1124/pr.114.009126;.
  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; DOI: 10.1016/j.tox.2007.11.021;.
  9. Ratner M.H. and Feldman R.G. Parkinson’s Disease. Pfeiffer RF, and Ebadi M, (Eds). Chapter 6., Environmental Toxins and Parkinson’s Disease. CRC Press. Boca Raton. 2004; 51-62. View Publication
  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.
Showing 10 of 14 results. Show More

This graph shows the total number of publications by year, by first, middle/unknown, or last author.

Bar chart showing 14 publications over 8 distinct years, with a maximum of 4 publications in 2016

YearPublications
19993
20011
20021
20041
20071
20142
20151
20164

Dr. Ratner is available to serve as a mentor to students from the Biomedical Laboratory and Clinical Sciences Program as well as students from the Bioscience Academy. Dr. Ratner is also available to mentor graduate students from the Behavioral Neuroscience Program and the Masters in Biomedical Forensic Sciences Program. She has successfully mentored students from all of the above mentioned programs and she is accepting applications from interested students.

Available to Mentor as: (Review Mentor Role Definitions):
  • Advisor
  • Career Mentor
  • Project Mentor
  • Research / Scholarly Mentor
Contact for Mentoring:
  • Email (see 'Contact Info')
  • Phone (see 'Contact Info')


72 E. Concord St Instructional (L)
Boston MA 02118
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