|Robert Maurice Sapolsky|
Robert Sapolsky in 2009.
|Fields||Neurology, Neurobiology, Biological anthropology, Primatology|
|Alma mater||Harvard University (B.A.)
Rockefeller University (Ph.D.)
Robert Maurice Sapolsky (born 1957) is an American scientist and author. He is currently Professor of Biological Sciences, and Professor of Neurology and Neurological Sciences and, by courtesy, Neurosurgery, at Stanford University. In addition, he is a Research Associate at the National Museums of Kenya.
Sapolsky was born in Brooklyn, N.Y. to immigrants from the Soviet Union. He was raised as an Orthodox Jew and spent his time reading about and imagining living with Silverback Gorillas. By age 12, he was writing fan letters to primatologists; he attended John Dewey High School and by that time, he was reading textbooks on the subject and teaching himself Swahili. Early life and Education
In 1978, Sapolsky received his B.A. in biological anthropology summa cum laude from Harvard University. He then went to Kenya to study the social behaviors of baboons in the wild; after which he returned to New York; studying at Rockefeller University, where he received his Ph.D. in Neuroendocrinology working in the lab of Bruce McEwen, a world-renowned endocrinologist.
Following Sapolsky’s initial year and a half-field study in Africa, he continued for another twenty-five years, every summer, returning to observe the same group of baboons. Throughout the late 70’s and into the early ’90s, for approximately four months each year, Sapolsky recorded 8–10 hours a day the behaviors of these primates.
Sapolsky is currently the John A. and Cynthia Fry Gunn Professor at Stanford University, holding joint appointments in several departments, including Biological Sciences, Neurology & Neurological Sciences, and Neurosurgery.
A neuroendocrinologist, he has focused his research on issues of stress and neuronal degeneration, as well as on the possibilities of gene therapy strategies for protecting susceptible neurons from disease. Currently, he is working on gene transfer techniques to strengthen neurons against the disabling effects of glucocorticoids. Sapolsky also spends time annually in Kenya studying a population of wild baboons in order to identify the sources of stress in their environment, and the relationship between personality and patterns of stress-related disease in these animals. More specifically, Sapolsky studies the cortisol levels between the alpha male and female and the subordinates to determine stress level. An early but still relevant example of his studies of olive baboons is to be found in his 1990 Scientific American article, “Stress in the Wild”.
Sapolsky has received numerous honors and awards for his work, including the prestigious MacArthur Fellowship genius grant in 1987, an Alfred P. Sloan Fellowship, and the Klingenstein Fellowship in Neuroscience. He was also awarded the National Science Foundation Presidential Young Investigator Award and the Young Investigator of the Year Awards from the Society for Neuroscience, the International Society for Psychoneuro-Endocrinology, and the Biological Psychiatry Society.
In 2007 he received the John P. McGovern Award for Behavioral Science, awarded by the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
In 2008 he received Wonderfest’s Carl Sagan Prize for Science Popularization. In February 2010 Sapolsky was named to the Freedom From Religion Foundation‘s Honorary Board of distinguished achievers.
|Wikiquote has a collection of quotations related to: Robert Sapolsky|
- Robert Sapolsky profile at Stanford School of Medicine
- Robert Sapolsky biographical entry at the Barclay Agency
- Going Wild
- Robert Sapolsky at edge.org
- Robert Sapolsky at meta-library.net
- Robert Sapolsky at KurzweilAI.net
- Robert Sapolsky Lecture at Syracuse
- excerpt of the “Emperor Has No Clothes Award” acceptance speech
- New York Times article “No Time for Bullies: Baboons Retool Their Culture,” readable account of Sapolsky’s research on baboon culture
- Stress: Portrait of a Killer, National Geographic special featuring Sapolsky’s research
- Does Age Quash Our Spirit of Adventure? An NPR interview with Robert Sapolsky
- Robert Sapolsky: The uniqueness of humans via TED.com
- Robert Sapolsky New York Times essay “This Is Your Brain on Metaphors” in the “The Stone” blog
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