California Institute of Technology
David J. Anderson, Ph.D. is the Seymour Benzer Professor of Biology at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, CA, and an Investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. He received his A.B., summa cum laude, in Biochemical Sciences from Harvard University, his Ph.D. in Cell Biology from the Rockefeller University, where he trained with Nobel Laureate Guenter Blobel, and his postdoctoral training at Columbia University with Nobel Laureate Richard Axel. For the first 20 years of his career, Dr. Anderson’s research focused on the biology of neural stem cells and their role in brain development; he was the first to isolate a multipotential neural stem cell from the mammalian nervous system. He then switched his research focus to 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 in both mice and Drosophila melanogaster. His work in mice is currently focused on subcortical circuits, including those involving the amygdala and hypothalamus, and their role in fear and aggression. His work on flies is centered on understanding how internal states control defensive and social behaviors, including aggression. Dr. Anderson has been an HHMI Investigator since 1989. His awards include an NSF Presidential Young Investigator Award, Searle Scholars Award, the Charles Judson Herrick Award in Comparative Neurology, and the Alden Spencer Award in Neurobiology from Columbia University. He is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and in 2007 was elected to the U.S. National Academy of Sciences.