Anne E. West is a professor of Neurobiology at the Duke University School of Medicine. She is a member of the Duke Institute for Brain Sciences, the Duke Cancer Institute, and the Center for Advanced Genomic Technologies. She also serves as the Scientific Director of the Viral Vector Core at Duke University.
West is a molecular geneticist whose research focuses on identifying the regulatory mechanisms that control the development and plasticity of the brain. She is especially interested in discovering how environmental experiences are transduced into changes in brain function via epigenetic modification of the genome. Her lab uses transgenic mice, sophisticated behavioral analyses, biochemical and cell biological methods, and high-throughput sequencing techniques to elucidate the mechanisms by which chromatin regulatory proteins promote adaptations in neuronal function. In addition to enhancing understanding of normal brain development and plasticity, her studies have revealed new insights into how dysregulation of gene transcription contributes to cognitive impairment and mental illnesses such as addiction.
West obtained her B.A. in 1989 from Cornell University, College of Arts and Sciences, where she did undergraduate research in chemical ecology. She received her M.D. and Ph.D. degrees in 1998 from Harvard Medical School, with research in neuronal cell biology. She then did postdoctoral research at Children’s Hospital in Boston, studying signal transduction and activity-dependent plasticity in neurons. She came to Duke as an assistant professor in 2005.