Dr. Robert C. Malenka is the Pritzker Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Director of the Pritzker Laboratory, and Deputy Director of the Stanford Neurosciences Institute at Stanford University. Rob's research focuses on how brain cells communicate with each other through chemical and electrical signals. They examine how the connections between neurons (synapses) work at a molecular level. He also studies the molecular mechanisms involved in changes to our nervous system (plasticity). Rob is an avid tennis player, and he likes to get out on the court 2-3 times per week. He also spends his free time watching sci fi and spy thriller movies, as well as sampling and collecting wines. Travel is a big part of Rob’s life, and he enjoys immersing himself in different cultures, meeting people, and navigating public transportation systems. He received his Bachelor's degree from Harvard College and his MD and PhD in Neuroscience from the Stanford University School of Medicine. Rob conducted postdoctoral research at the University of California, San Francisco and completed his residency in Psychiatry at the Stanford University School of Medicine. He served on the Faculty at the University of California, San Francisco for 10 years before joining the faculty at Stanford where he is today. Rob is a recipient of the Medical Research Award in Neuropsychiatry from the Pasarow Foundation, the Julius Axelrod Mentorship Award from the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology, and the NARSAD Goldman-Rakic Prize for Outstanding Cognitive Neuroscience Research. In addition, Rob is a Member of the National Academy of Sciences, a Member of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences, a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and a Fellow of the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology. In our conversation, Rob tells us more about his journey through life and science.
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