Martin Chalfie, PhD
William R. Kenan Jr., Professor of Biological Sciences; Department of Biological Sciences, Columbia University, New York, New York
A seminar Paul Brehm gave in 1989 on bioluminescent organisms led Dr. Chalfie to experiments in 1992, which he reported in an article on green fluorescent proteins (GFP) that became one of the 20 most-cited papers in the field of molecular biology and genetics. The work led to Dr. Chalfie’s 2008 Nobel Prize in Chemistry. Green fluorescent protein has become a fundamental tool of cell biology, developmental biology, genetics, and neurobiology. It is also the basis of many applications in industry. Researchers from around the world have introduced modifications that include generation of different color variants; production of pH, photoactivatable, and voltage-sensitive variants; and generation of molecules that respond to calcium and changes in phosphorylation.
Dr. Chalfie uses the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans to investigate nerve cell development and function, concentrating primarily on genes active in mechanosensory neurons. His research has been directed toward answering two quite different biological questions: How do different types of nerve cells acquire and maintain their unique characteristics and how do sensory cells respond to mechanical signals?
2012 President-elect, Society for Developmental Biology2012 Golden Goose Award2011 Doctor of Science (hon.), Ilan National University, Taiwan2011 Doctor of Science (hon.), Niagara University2010 Distinguished Scientist Award, American Heart Association2009 Elected Member, Institute of Medicine2008 Nobel Prize in Chemistry2008 E. B. Wilson Medal, American Society for Cell Biology2007 Elected Fellow, American Association for the Advancement of Science2007-2010 Chair, Department of Biological Sciences, Columbia University2006 Lewis S. Rosenstiel Award for Distinguished Work in Basic Medical Science, Brandeis University2004 Elected Member, National Academy of Sciences, Washington, DC2003 Elected Fellow, American Academy of Arts and Sciences1976 PhD, Harvard University