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

Dr. Marcia H. Ratner is a Board Certified Toxicologist and Behavioral Neuroscientist. She 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. During her doctoral training, she was also an active member of the Environmental and Occupational Neurology Program. She subsequently completed a three year NIH-National Institute on Aging funded Post-Doctoral Fellowship in the Biochemistry of Aging under the supervision of Dr. David H. Farb in the Department of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics at the BUSM. Her training has provided her with genuine translational research experience in clinical as well as basic neuroscience and neurotoxicology. This unique training experience enables her to effectively evaluate how chemicals 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 interdisciplinary research focuses on investigating how chemicals (drugs and neurotoxicants) alter learning and memory function and disease progression 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 (aMCI) and Alzheimer’s disease (AD).

Dr. Ratner is a Diplomate of the American Board of Toxicology. She is a member in good standing of the: Society of Toxicology; and American Academy of Clinical Toxicology; American Academy of Neurology, and American Psychological Association. 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 also 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 has expertise and training in methods used in preclinical drug discovery, and clinical behavioral neuroscience and neurotoxicology including:

Stereotactic Brain Surgery (Rodents)
In vivo Electrophysiology
Preclinical Animal Behavioral Models of: learning and memory function; anxiety; addiction; locomotor activity; and pain.
Clinical Neurology
Human Neuropsychological Assessment

2018 The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research: Travel Award to attend Parkinson’s Policy Forum in Washington D.C.
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. Rutchik J, Ratner MH. Is it Possible for Late-Onset Schizophrenia to Masquerade as Manganese Psychosis? J Occup Environ Med. 2018 04; 60(4):e207-e209. PMID: 29438152; DOI: 10.1097/JOM.0000000000001296;.
  2. Ratner MH, Jabre JF, Ewing WM, Abou-Donia M, Oliver LC. Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis-A case report and mechanistic review of the association with toluene and other volatile organic compounds. Am J Ind Med. 2018 Mar; 61(3):251-260. PMID: 29125194; DOI: 10.1002/ajim.22791;.
  3. Ratner MH, Fitzgerald E. Understanding of the role of manganese in parkinsonism and Parkinson disease. Neurology. 2017 01 24; 88(4):338-339. PMID: 28031391; DOI: 10.1212/WNL.0000000000003543;.
  4. Ratner MH, Jabre JF. Reference Module in Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Psychology. Neurobehavioral Toxicology. Elsevier. 2016. View Publication
  5. Ratner MH. 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
  6. 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
  7. 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;.
  8. 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;.
  9. 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;.
  10. 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;.
Showing 10 of 16 results. Show More

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

Bar chart showing 16 publications over 10 distinct years, with a maximum of 4 publications in 2016


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
Google Map

Ratner's Networks
Click the "See All" links for more information and interactive visualizations
Similar People
Same Department