UA Psychology Professor Honored

Lori Harwood
Nov. 4, 2003

Carol Barnes, a professor of psychology and neurology at the University of Arizona in Tucson, has been elected president of the Society for Neuroscience (SFN). The Society for Neuroscience is a nonprofit membership organization of scientists and physicians who study the brain and nervous system. With more than 34,000 members, SFN is the world's largest organization of scientists devoted to the study of the brain.

Al Kaszniak, head of the UA psychology department, said "This is an incredible honor and distinction for Professor Barnes, our department and the entire university, and it underscores the extraordinary high esteem in which Professor Barnes and her work are held by colleagues world-wide."

Barnes is internationally recognized for her groundbreaking research on the neurophysiological bases for changes in learning and memory in aging, Kaszniak said. "This research has integrated single cell, brain system, and behavioral approaches to advance our understanding of how brain changes in aging affect memory. Professor Barnes has also demonstrated her leadership and administrative skills in a wide range of responsibilities that have included editorship of the leading journal in her field and appointment to the Research Council of the National Institute on Aging."

Barnes has a doctorate from Carleton University (1977), and taught previously at the University of Colorado, Boulder. She joined the UA in 1990 and became a co-founder of the Arizona Research Laboratories Division of Neural Systems, Memory and Aging, a dedicated research unit for the study of brain mechanisms of learning and their changes with age, from the molecular to the behavioral levels.

Barnes has published more than 140 articles and given approximately 350 invited presentations and papers/abstracts at scientific meetings.

"The central goal of my research and teaching program is the question of how the brain changes during the aging process and the functional consequences of these changes on information processing and memory in the elderly," Barnes said. "The main research program involves studies of behavior and neurophysiology in young and old laboratory animals. This work provides a basis for understanding the basic mechanisms of normal aging in the brain and sets a background against which it is possible to assess the effects of pathological changes such as Alzheimer's disease. Some of my current work also includes an assessment of therapeutic agents that may be promising in the alleviation or delay of neural and cognitive changes that occur with age."