Marian C. Diamond

I was saddened to receive in my New York Times notificationS on the brain a notice of the death of Marian C. Diamond. I’ve attached the following link to the Science section report of her death: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/16/science/marian-c-diamond-90-student-of-the-brain-is-dead.html?emc=edit_tnt_20170816&nlid=36525050&tntemail0=y

I was a Psychology graduate student in the laboratory of Mark Rosenzweig (pictured on the left in the linked article) during the 1970s. Most of my work was with Mark Rosenzweig and Edward Bennett on the role of brain protein synthesis in long-term memory formation. Other work pioneered by Rosenzweig, Bennett, and Diamond was on the brain effects induced by the environment. The brain changes induced by differential laboratory environments (enriched, impoverished, and standard) were counter to the dogma of the first half of the 20th century that presented the brain as a fixed structure. I asked to work in this paradigm and was given the assignment of looking at brain changes in young, middle-aged, and old rats placed in differential environments for differing amounts of time. Dr. Diamond provided guidance on what features of the brain I should examine and taught me Golgi staining as well as several other basic techniques I needed for my research. After 18 months of changing the toys and mazes daily in the enrichment cages and daily feeding, watering and cleaning a respiratory virus struck the rat colony and I lost 90% of my animals. I fell back on the protein synthesis studies I had done for my dissertation. I was disappointed and Marian Diamond invited me to dinner at her home with her and her husband. They reminded me how much I’d learned, the wonderful people I’d worked with, the great institution I was at, and that the last 18 months was certainly not a loss. I don’t remember much about neuronal staining techniques, but I do remember that Marian Diamond was an exceptional mentor and teacher

By Hasker Davis

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