Martin Chalfie, University Professor in the Department of Biological Sciences at Columbia University, shared the 2008 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his introduction of Green Fluorescent Protein (GFP) as a biological marker. Dr. Chalfie obtained both his A.B. and Ph.D. from Harvard University and did postdoctoral research with Sydney Brenner at the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology, Cambridge, England. As a postdoctoral fellow, Martin Chalfie with John Sulston established the first genetic model for mechanosensation using the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans. He and his lab subsequently used molecular, genetic, and electrophysiological means to study the molecular basis of mechanosensory signaling and neuronal differentiation of the touch receptor neurons in C. elegans, investigating neuronal degeneration, microtubule structure and function, neuronal outgrowth, and mechanosensory transduction and its modulation. This work led to the discovery of novel transcription factors, cholesterol-binding proteins, chaperones, and channel proteins. Dr. Chalfie is a past president of the Society for Developmental Biology and is the current president-elect of the Amserican Society for Cell Biology. He also chairs the Committee on Human Rights of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine.

Research Interests

Current research centers on understanding the structure of the mechanosensation complex from C. elegans touch receptor neurons and identifying proteins needed for neuronal ensheathment.

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Section 26: Genetics