David Anderson is the Seymour Benzer Professor of Biology at the California Institute of Technology (CalTech) and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator. Anderson received his Ph.D. from the Rockefeller University under Günter Blobel and was a postdoctoral fellow with Richard Axel at Columbia University, becoming a faculty member at CalTech in 1986.
Research in the Anderson laboratory is focused on understanding the neurobiology of emotion and how emotional states, such as arousal, are encoded in the circuitry and chemistry of the brain. The laboratory is also interested in understanding how these internal states combine with sensory stimuli to elicit specific emotional behaviors, such as fear or aggression, and how these circuits go awry in emotional disorders such as depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder.
The laboratory’s work employs molecular genetic tools in mice and flies to mark, map and manipulate specific circuits to determine how identifiable populations of neurons contribute in a causal manner to behavior. These studies are complemented by the use of electrophysiology and functional imaging to measure activity in neural circuits.