The Cell Press - TNQ India Distinguished Lectureship Series 2018

Featured Speaker - David J. Anderson

Lecture - “The Neural Circuitry of Sex and Violence”

Neurobiologist of Emotion Dr. David J. Anderson Toured India in January for the Eighth Cell Press-TNQ India Distinguished Lectureship Series

California Institute of Technology neurobiologist Dr. David J. Anderson, a leader in the neurobiological foundations of emotion, was the Featured Speaker of the Eighth Annual Cell Press-TNQ India Distinguished Lectureship Series. As part of the series, he gave lectures in January 2018, in New Delhi, Bengaluru and Mumbai. In addition to the lectures, he visited scientific institutions in each city and met with students and faculty to learn about the work going on in their labs. The Annual Lectureship series is aimed at bringing the highest calibre of global scientists to interact and exchange knowledge with the Indian scientific community.

Dr. Anderson aims to understand how emotions are encoded in the circuitry and chemistry of the brain and how this combines with an animal’s experience of the outside world to trigger specific behaviours, such as aggression or attraction. His lab uses the latest tools in genetics, electrophysiology, and functional imaging to mark, map, and manipulate specific neurons in mice and fruit flies.

His most recent work challenges the widespread presumption among neuroscientists that brain circuits responsible for innate behaviours are hardwired. His lab found that mice that have socialized with their peers activate specific and different neurons upon detection of an intruder, depending on whether the intruder is male or female. Conversely, mice that had never been exposed to other rodents activate similar neurons in response to intruders of either sex. This provides evidence that mice do not have sex-specific neural assemblies from birth, but rather that these pathways develop in response to life experience.

Dr. Anderson began his career in neurobiology by studying neural crest stem cells, which, during development, generate many cells and tissues, including brain cells. He was the first to isolate a multipotent self-renewing stem cell for neurons and glia and to identify growth factors and master transcriptional regulators involved in this switch.

Dr. Anderson received his AB from Harvard University in 1978 and his PhD from Rockefeller University in 1983 under the supervision of Nobel Laureate Dr. Gunter Blobel. He was a postdoctoral fellow at Columbia with another Nobel Laureate, the neurobiologist Dr. Richard Axel. In 1999, he received the Alden Spencer Award in Neurobiology from Columbia University. Dr. Anderson was elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 2007. He is currently the Seymour Benzer Professor of Biology at the California Institute of Technology; the Tianqiao and Chrissy Chen Institute for Neuroscience Leadership Chair; a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator; and director of the Tianqiao and Chrissy Chen Institute for Neuroscience.

Awards and Honours

  • 2016 Perl-UNC Neuroscience Prize
  • 2010 Allen Distinguished Investigator
  • 2007 Elected Member, National Academy of Sciences
  • 2005 Alexander von Humboldt Award
  • 2002 Elected Fellow, American Academy of Arts and Sciences

Professional Activities

  • 2016 present Cell Types and Connections Scientific Advisory Council, Allen Institute for Brain Science
  • 2013 Working Group for the Advisory Committee to the NIH Director, Obama BRAIN Initiative
  • 2011 present Mindscope Advisory Council, Allen Institute for Brain Science
  • 2009 present Scientific Advisory Committee, Helen Hay Whitney Foundation

Lecture Schedule

Date, Time, and Venue: Introduction by:
New Delhi:

January 15, 2018. 4.30 p.m. AICTE Auditorium, JNU Campus, New Delhi

Professor K. VijayRaghavan

Secretary, Department of Biotechnology, Government of India


January 17, 2018. 4.30 p.m. National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences (NIMHANS)

Professor Sanjeev Jain

Department of Psychiatry National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences


January 19, 2018. 4.30 p.m Homi Bhabha Auditorium, Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR)

Professor Shubha Tole

Principal Investigator, Department of Biological Sciences, Tata Institute of Fundamental Research

The Cell Press-TNQ India Distinguished Lectureship Series

The Cell Press-TNQ India Distinguished Lectureship Series is co-sponsored by Cell Press and TNQ. Planned as an annual event, the lectures are aimed at bringing internationally renowned scientists face to face with the Indian scientific community.

Previous Speakers:

  • 2008: David Baltimore, President Emeritus and Professor of Biology at Caltech. He shared the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine with Howard Temin and Renato Dulbecco for their work on viruses and cancer.
  • 2009: Elizabeth Blackburn, now the President of the Salk Institute for Biological Studies. She was awarded the 2009 Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine with Carol Greider and Jack Szostak for their research on telomeres.
  • 2012: Shinya Yamanaka, an adult stem cell researcher with Kyoto University and UCSF. He and John Gurdon won the 2012 Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine for the discovery that mature cells can be converted to stem cells.
  • 2014: Huda Y. Zoghbi, known for her study of Rett syndrome and spinocerebellar ataxias. She is a professor at Baylor College of Medicine and Director of the Neurological Research Institute at Texas Children’s Hospital.
  • 2015: Eric S. Lander, a mathematician turned biologist turned geneticist, who is President and Founding Director of the Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT.
  • 2016: Karl Deisseroth, a Stanford University neuroscientist and psychologist who pioneered the groundbreaking technique known as optogenetics, which has revolutionized our ability to visualize and manipulate brain circuits.
  • 2017: Mary-Claire King, a University of Washington geneticist who pioneered the idea that breast cancer could be a heritable disease.

About Cell Press

Based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Cell Press, an imprint of Elsevier, publishes 39 highly cited journals featuring research and reviews and biomedical and physical sciences, including its flagship journals, Cell, Chem, and Joule. Other primary journals include: Neuron, Immunity, Developmental Cell, Structure, Current Biology, Cancer Cell, Molecular Cell, Cell Chemical Biology, Cell Metabolism, Cell Host & Microbe, Cell Stem Cell, Cell Reports, and Cell Systems; 15 Trends review titles; and eight society journals—the American Journal of Human Genetics, Biophysical Journal, Stem Cell Reports, Molecular Plant, and the Molecular Therapy family of journals

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About TNQ

Chennai-based TNQ is a publishing technology and services company founded in 1998. The technology products and services from TNQ are widely used by leading publishers of scientific, technological, and medical (STM) books and journals worldwide. They form a comprehensive suite covering authoring, manuscript submission, review, proofing, and paging.

AuthorCafe, a knowledge management system for academia (see, launched in April 2017 by TNQ, is gaining acceptance by the scientific community.

In 2016, TNQ announced the annual Inspiring Science Award for the best published paper in the life sciences by an author at the doctoral/post-doctoral level from India. The selection is made by an eminent jury and is announced at the Cell Press-TNQ Lectures every year.

Today, TNQ has around 2,300 employees, almost all with a strong educational background in science. The company's mission is to provide the highest-quality content for both print and web, using cutting-edge technologies and creative solutions.

TNQ is an equal opportunity employer and is blind to gender, religion, caste, and ethnicity. The Company has a firm commitment to employee and community welfare and to the world of Indian science and its development.