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Fellows Directory

Martin Chalfie

Martin Chalfie

Professor Martin Chalfie ForMemRS

Foreign Member

Elected: 2018


Martin Chalfie, University Professor and former chair of the Department of Biological Sciences at Columbia University, shared the 2008 Nobel Prize in Chemistry with Osamu Shimomura and Roger Y. Tsien for his introduction of Green Fluorescent Protein (GFP) as a biological marker.
Dr. Chalfie was born in Chicago, Illinois, obtained both his A.B. and Ph.D. (in Physiology with Robert Perlman) from Harvard University, and did postdoctoral research with Sydney Brenner at the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology, Cambridge, England. He joined the faculty of Columbia University as an Assistant Professor in 1982. His research uses molecular, genetic, and electrophysiological means to address how different types of nerve cells acquire and maintain their unique characteristics and how sensory cells respond to mechanical signals. This research includes studies on neuronal degeneration, microtubule structure and function, neuronal outgrowth, mechanosensory transduction and its modulation, transcriptional robustness, neuronal circuitry, and neuronal ensheathment. Dr. Chalfie also chairs the Committee on Human Rights of the U.S. National Academies of Science.

Professional positions

University Professor, Department of Biological Sciences, Columbia University

Interest and expertise

Subject groups

  • Biochemistry and molecular cell biology
    • Biochemistry and molecular biology, Cell biology (incl molecular cell biology)
  • Microbiology, immunology and developmental biology
    • Developmental biology, Genetics (excluding population genetics)
  • Anatomy, physiology and neurosciences
    • Cellular neuroscience
  • Other
    • Science education at secondary level, Science policy, Other interests


Microtubule structure and function, neuronal differentiation, mechanosensation, human rights and science


  • Nobel Prize in Chemistry

    Jointly with Osamu Shimomura and Roger Yonchien Tsien ForMemRS

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