Todd C. Sacktor
Todd C. Sacktor completed an A.B. at Harvard College, M.D. at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, and neurology residency at Columbia University. There he began studying the role of the enzyme protein kinase C (PKC) in the short-term memory of Aplysia, in the laboratory of Dr. James H. Schwartz, at Columbia’s Center for Neurobiology and Behavior, directed by Dr. Eric R. Kandel. In 1990, Sacktor established his own laboratory at the SUNY Downstate Medical Center, where he discovered a brain-specific isoform of protein kinase C, PKMzeta. In 2006, Sacktor and his colleagues uncovered PKMzeta’s impact in maintaining the brain’s long-term memory trace by showing, for the first time, that a long-term memory could be effectively erased by inhibiting a single molecule. In 2011, research showed that increasing PKMzeta activity in the brain enhances even old long-term memories. In 2006, the editors of Science highlighted Sacktor’s work on PKMzeta and memory as one of the top ten “Breakthroughs of the Year.” In 2009, his contributions were featured on the front page of The New York Times.