Marcia H. Ratner, PhD, DABT


Doctorate: Boston University School of Medicine, Behavioral Neuroscience

Post-Doctoral Fellowship: Boston University School of Medicine, NIH/NIA Fellow in Biochemistry of Aging

Board Certification: Diplomate American Board of Toxicology





Dr. Marcia Ratner earned her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Boston University. While an undergraduate at BU, she also completed her pre-medical requirements, made the Dean’s list, and was a member of Psi Chi, the International Honor Society in Psychology. She went on to earn her Doctorate in Behavioral Neuroscience from the Boston University School of Medicine where she trained in the Department of Neurology under the supervision of Drs. Robert G. Feldman and Raymon Durso. She subsequently completed a three year NIH/NIA Post-Doctoral Fellowship in the Biochemistry of Aging under the guidance of Dr. David H. Farb here in the Department Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics at the BUSM.  Dr. Ratner is also a Diplomate of the American Board of Toxicology.

Dr. Ratner is an active member of several societies of professional toxicologists including the: Society of Toxicology, American Academy of Clinical ToxicologyAmerican Society for Cellular and Computational Toxicology, and International Neurotoxicology Association.  She is also a member of several professional clinical medical societies that reflect upon her expertise in clinical research including the American Academy of NeurologyAmerican Psychological Association, and the American Academy of Clinical Toxicology.  Dr. Ratner has served as a scientific advisor to the Workplace Safety Insurance Board of Ontario, Canada.  Dr. Ratner serves on the editorial boards of Toxicology Communications and Frontiers in Toxicology (Neurotoxicology Specialty Section).  She also serves as an ad hoc reviewer for several other professional clinical toxicology and medical journals and she is registered as a reviewer with Publons.  Her contributions to the field of occupational and environmental neurotoxicology are recognized in the popular book “Poisoned: How a Crime-Busting Prosecutor Turned His Medical Mystery into a Crusade for Environmental Victims“.  

Dr. Ratner’s research is focused on interdisciplinary investigations looking at the effects of neurotoxicants and drugs on the subclinical progression and onset of age-related neurodegenerative diseases associated with learning and memory deficits such as Alzheimer’s disease and age-related mild cognitive impairment.   Her interdisciplinary translational approach to understanding the role of chemicals in neurodegenerative disease onset and progression is reflected in her publication history and her NIH iCite translation score.  She collaborates with the Department Chairman, Dr. David Farb, in the Laboratory of Molecular Neurobiology.  She is using basic behavioral and in vivo electrophysiological techniques in her preclinical studies of how chemicals (drugs and neurotoxicants) modulate neural network activity in wild type and transgenic rat models of age-related neurodegenerative disease (Hippocampus, 2015; Heliyon, 2021).   She also collaborates with several clinical colleagues to bring her observations from the bench to the clinic (AJIM, 2018; JOEM, 2019; Toxicol Comm, 2020; AJIM, 2021).  Dr. Ratner is the only board certified toxicologist listed on Google Scholar who is also an expert in the use of in vivo electrophysiology as a preclinical research tool.

As the Project Manager of the Department and a Board Certified Toxicologist, Dr. Ratner oversees compliance with safety and regulatory policies. Dr. Ratner is a former member of the American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH) and she has served as a departmental representative to the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC).  Dr. Ratner is available to provide assistance to all departmental faculty, students and research staff with their IACUC protocol submissions and associated training and compliance issues.

In addition to her research and administrative duties within the Department of Pharmacology, Dr. Ratner is a regular lecturer in the graduate program in Behavioral Neurosciences; she is available to serve as a committee member or mentor to the doctoral students from this program.  She also teaches an undergraduate course in Forensic Toxicology (BT 450) offered through the Biomedical Laboratory and Clinical Sciences Program which prepares students for careers in the fields of biotechnology and clinical research.  Dr. Ratner regularly serves as a mentor to undergraduate students enrolled in Bioscience Academy. The Bioscience Academy is a BU-based federally funded program administered through Metropolitan College and the School of Medicine. One of Dr. Ratner’s former Bioscience Academy students, Zainab Mahmod, was awarded the Paul Queenan Memorial Award for academic excellence.  Highly qualified students from these programs are invited to seek internship opportunities under her supervision in the Laboratory of Molecular Neurobiology.   

Dr. Ratner regularly engages in advocacy work on behalf of the Michael J. Fox Foundation and   She has traveled to Washington, DC for “Hill Day” with the MJFF. She has lobbied congress for increased funding for neurodegenerative disease research and for improved access to care for persons living with Parkinson’s disease.  She is a regular blogger and serves as the Volunteer Director of Research at