Chet Sherwood is a biological anthropologist and neuroscientist who studies brain evolution in primates and other mammals. His research investigates how brains differ among species and how this variation is correlated with behavior, shaped by the rules of developmental biology, impacted by experience, and encoded in the genome. Sherwood was born and grew up in Los Angeles, California. He graduated from Columbia University with a bachelor?s degree in philosophy and anthropology, then attended New York University for a master’s degree in education, and afterwards completed his Ph.D. in anthropology at Columbia University in 2003. He was an assistant professor at Kent State University before joining the faculty of The George Washington University in the Department of Anthropology in 2006. His research has been supported by the National Science Foundation, National Institutes of Health, The Wenner-Gren Foundation, and The Leakey Foundation. He was a recipient of a James S. McDonnell Foundation Scholar Award in 2012. He currently co-directs the National Chimpanzee Brain Resource and the Great Ape Neuroscience Project.

Research Interests

Chet Sherwood's laboratory and collaborators study the evolution of brain structure and molecular biology. The research focuses on comparative investigations of brains from a wide diversity of mammal species to make discoveries about the evolution of behavior, communication abilities, cognition, vulnerability to neurodegenerative illnesses, and more. In particular, his research has compared the neuroanatomy, gene expression, epigenetic regulation, cell type composition, and neurotransmitter innervation patterns of the human brain to that of our closest living relatives, the great apes (chimpanzees, bonobos, gorillas, and orangutans) and other primates. The lab also studies brain structure changes across the lifespan among primate species. This research has helped to clarify how the pace of neurodevelopment influences social cognition and behavioral flexibility.

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Primary Section

Section 51: Anthropology

Secondary Section

Section 28: Systems Neuroscience