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Takahashi Named Glass Professor in Life Sciences

January 23, 2007

EVANSTON, Ill. --- Joseph S. Takahashi has been reappointed the Walter and Mary Elizabeth Glass Professor in the Life Sciences at the Northwestern University Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences.

His research focuses on understanding the genetic and molecular basis of circadian rhythms as well as other behaviors such as learning and memory. Circadian rhythms are 24-hour oscillations in behavior, physiology and biochemistry that are generated by a cell-autonomous clock system found in all classes of living systems.

To understand the molecular mechanism of the circadian clock system, his laboratory has used genetic approaches to discover genes that regulate circadian behavior in mice. In 1997 his laboratory identified the first mammalian circadian gene, Clock. The discovery of the Clock gene, its partner Bmal1, as well as other circadian genes has led to a description of a conserved circadian clock mechanism in animals.

Takahashi has received significant awards in recognition of his groundbreaking research, including the Alden Spencer Award, bestowed by the College of Physicians and Surgeons at Columbia University in recognition of outstanding research contributions in neural science.

A Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Takahashi is an investigator in the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, a nationwide group of about 300 biomedical researchers who spend at least three-fourths of their time in research. In 2003 Takahashi was elected into the National Academy of Sciences in the area of cellular and molecular neurosciences.

For the last five years, he has been the director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Neurogenomics Project at Northwestern, which is a large-scale mouse mutagenesis project involving Northwestern, Columbia University, Duke University and the University of Iowa. He also directs the Neuromice.org project, an NIH-funded mouse distribution center involving Northwestern, the Jackson Laboratory (Bar Harbor, Maine) and the Tennessee Mouse Genome Consortium.

Takahashi recently received a Silvio O. Conte Center in Neuroscience Research Award from the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) to discover and analyze chemical and genetic tools to manipulate circadian rhythms in mammals.

Takahashi is an editorial board member of the journals Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA, PLoS Genetics, Current Opinion in Neurobiology and Genes, Brain and Behavior. He serves on the scientific advisory boards of the Klingenstein Fund, the Allen Institute for Brain Sciences, Searle Scholars Program and the Max Plank Institute for Biophysical Chemistry. He is a co-founder of Hypnion, Inc., a biotechnology discovery company in sleep/wake neurobiology and pharmaceuticals.

Takahashi, who joined the Northwestern faculty in 1983, is director of the Northwestern Center for Functional Genomics, associate director of the Center for Sleep and Circadian Biology, and a member of the Institute for Neuroscience, the Center for Reproductive Science and the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University.

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