Who is Robert Sapolsky and why is his research on Stress important to you?

Robert Sapolsky

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Robert Maurice Sapolsky

Robert Sapolsky in 2009.
Born 1957
Residence United States
Nationality American
Fields Neurology, Neurobiology, Biological anthropology, Primatology
Institutions Stanford University
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.[1]

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.[2][edit] Early life and Education

In 1978, Sapolsky received his B.A. in biological anthropology summa cum laude from Harvard University.[3] 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.[4]


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.[5]

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”.[6]


Sapolsky has received numerous honors and awards for his work, including the prestigious MacArthur Fellowship genius grant in 1987,[7] 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.[8]

In 2008 he received Wonderfest’s Carl Sagan Prize for Science Popularization.[9] In February 2010 Sapolsky was named to the Freedom From Religion Foundation‘s Honorary Board of distinguished achievers.[10]

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

Stress Relief

Few sensual experiences rival a full-body massage for pleasure and stress relief — at least among those things you can talk about in front of the children at the dinner table. Word on the health benefits of massage therapy for stress relief has spread. In 2006, 39 million Americans — one in six adults — had at least one massage, according to a nationwide survey by the American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA).

“Americans are looking to massage for much more than just relaxation,” says Mary Beth Braun, President of the AMTA. “Massage therapy can be effective for a variety of conditions, including arthritis, lower back pain, insomnia, headaches, anxiety, circulatory problems, and recovery from a sports injury.”

When you can’t get to a massage therapist, you can still reap many of the benefits of this age-old healing practice — with your own hands. WebMD consulted several massage experts to find these simple, self-massage techniques that incorporate the best soothing rubs and pressure-point applications that massage has to offer.

Try them on yourself — or someone you love — throughout the day to boost your energy and increase concentration. You can also use them at night to relax and get a good night’s sleep. You’ll find the benefits of massage therapy for stress relief are only the beginning.


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*Disclaimer: This information is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease without consulting with a qualified healthcare provider.
Please consult your healthcare provider with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your condition.
The information provided is for educational purposes only and is not intended as diagnosis, treatment, or prescription of any kind. The decision to use, or not to use, any information is the sole responsibility of the reader. These statements are not expressions of legal opinion relative to the scope of practice, medical diagnosis, or medical advice, nor do they represent an endorsement of any product, company, or specific massage therapy technique, modality, or approach. All trademarks, registered trademarks, brand names, registered brand names, logos, and company logos referenced in this post are the property of their owners.