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David Anderson

Director of the Tianqiao and Chrissy Chen Institute for Neuroscience

David Anderson is Caltech's Seymour Benzer Professor of Biology and an investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. He received his AB from Harvard University (biochemical sciences, summa cum laude) and his PhD in cell biology from the Rockefeller University, where he trained with Nobel Laureate Günter Blobel, and did his postdoctoral training at Columbia University with Nobel Laureate Richard Axel. 

Anderson's research focuses on the study of neural circuits that control emotional behaviors in animal models. He has been at the forefront of developing and applying new technologies for neural-circuit manipulation, such as optogenetics and pharmacogenetics, to the study of emotional behaviors such as fear, anxiety, and aggression in both mice and the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster. His work in mice is currently focused on limbic circuits, including the amygdala and hypothalamus, and their role in aggression.

Anderson's awards and honors include:

2017 New York Academy of Medicine Salmon Award
2016 17th Perl-UNC Neuroscience Prize (read more)
2010 Allen Distinguished Investigator
2009 Named Seymour Benzer Professor of Biology
2007 Elected Member, National Academy of Sciences
2005 Alexander von Humboldt Award
2004 Named Roger W. Sperry Professor of Biology, California Institute of Technology
2002 American Association for the Advancement of Science Fellow
2002 American Academy of Arts and Sciences Fellow
2001 Elected Associate, The Neurosciences Institute 2001 Ferguson Award for Graduate Teaching
1999 Alden Spencer Award in Neurobiology from Columbia University
Charles Judson Herrick Award, American Association of Anatomists
Givaudan Prize, Association for Chemoreception Sciences
Heinrich Waelsch Prize in Neuroscience, Columbia University
Ferguson Award for Graduate Teaching

In addition, Dr. Anderson played a key advisory role in the initial foundation of the Allan Institute for Brain Sciences and the Allen Brain Atlas, and now serves on their Scientific Advisory Board, as well as on the Advisory Council for Project MindScope and the Connectional Atlas. He has also been a Visiting Scientist at HHMI’s Janelia Farm Research Campus.