Dr. Martin Chalfie
Martin Chalfie is the William R. Kenan, Jr. Professor of Biological Sciences and
former chair of the Department of Biological Sciences at Columbia University. In
2008 he shared the Nobel Prize in Chemistry with Osamu Shimomura and Roger Y.
Tsien for his introduction of Green Fluorescent Protein (GFP) as a
Dr. Chalfie was born in Chicago, Illinois. He obtained both his A.B.
and Ph.D. from
Harvard University and then did postdoctoral research with Sydney Brenner at the
MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology, Cambridge, England. He joined the faculty
of Columbia University as an Assistant Professor in 1982 and has been there ever
He uses the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans to investigate nerve cell
and function, concentrating primarily on genes used 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
characteristics? and How do sensory cells respond to mechanical signals? In the
course of his studies, he has introduced several novel biological
methods in addition
to his work with GFP.
Dr. Chalfie is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and the Institute of
Medicine and a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American
Association for the Advancement of Science, and the Royal Society of Chemistry
(Hon.). He shared the 2006 Lewis S. Rosenstiel Award for Distinguished Work in
Basic Medical Science from Brandeis University and the 2008 E. B. Wilson Medal
from the American Society for Cell Biology with Roger Tsien.