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Joseph S. Takahashi is Chair of the Department of Neuroscience at UT Southwestern Medical Center. He currently holds the Loyd B. Sands Distinguished Chair in Neuroscience. Before moving to UT Southwestern, Dr. Takahashi was the Walter and Mary Elizabeth Glass Professor in the Life Sciences at Northwestern University. During his 26-year tenure at Northwestern, he held appointments as professor in the Department of Neurobiology and Physiology on the Evanston campus and professor in the Department of Neurology at Northwestern University Medical School. In addition, he was also the director of the Center for Functional Genomics.

Dr. Takahashi received a BA in biology from Swarthmore College in 1974 and a PhD in neuroscience from the University of Oregon, Eugene, in 1981. For postdoctoral training, he was a pharmacology research associate at the National Institute of Mental Health from 1981-1983.

Dr. Takahashi has pioneered the use of forward genetics and positional cloning in the mouse as a tool for discovery of genes underlying neurobiology and behavior, and his discovery of the mouse and human clock genes led to a description of a conserved circadian clock mechanism in animals.

He is the author of more than 330 scientific publications and the recipient of many awards including the Honma Prize in Biological Rhythms Research, NSF Presidential Young Investigator Award, Searle Scholars Award, Bristol-Myers Squibb Unrestricted Grant in Neuroscience, and the C. U. Ariens Kappers Medal. He received the W. Alden Spencer Award in Neuroscience from Columbia University in 2001, was elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2000, a Member of the National Academy of Sciences in 2003 and a Member of the National Academy of Medicine in 2014. He received the Gruber Neuroscience Prize at the Society for Neuroscience meeting in 2019.

Dr. Takahashi has served on a number of advisory committees for the National Institutes of Health, as well as scientific advisory boards for Eli Lilly and Company, Bristol-Myers Squibb Neuroscience Committee, the Genomics Research Institute for the Novartis Foundation, the Klingenstein Fund, the Searle Scholars Foundation, the McKnight Foundation, the Allen Institute for Brain Science, the Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry, and the Restless Legs Syndrome Foundation. He was also a co-founder of Hypnion, Inc., a biotech discovery company in Worcester, Mass., that investigated sleep/wake neurobiology and pharmaceuticals (now owned by Eli Lilly and Co.). He is a co-founder of Synchronicity Pharma., a biotech company that works on the role of clocks in metabolism and cancer.

He is or was on the Editorial Boards for Neuron, PNAS, eLife, J Biol Rhythms, Neurobiology of Sleep and Circadian Rhythms, Genes, Brain and Behavior, Aging Cell, and Specialty Lead, Genomics & Genetics/Animal Genetics, H1 Connect, Faculty Opinions.  


Swarthmore College (1974), Biology
Graduate School
University of Oregon (1981), Biology

Research Interest

  • Aging and longevity
  • Circadian Biology
  • Circadian clocks and parasites
  • Genetic Dissection of Behavior
  • Molecular Neuroscience
  • Mouse Genetics and Genomics
  • Oscillator dynamics


Featured Publications LegendFeatured Publications


Featured Books Legend Featured Books

Handbook of Behavioral Neurobiology: Volume 12 Circadian Clocks

Takahashi, J.S., F.W. Turek and R.Y. Moore (Ed.) (2001). New York, Kluwer Academic/Plenum Publishing

Honors & Awards

  • Gruber Neuroscience Prize
    The Gruber Foundation, presented at the 2019 Society for Neuroscience Annual Meeting (2019)
  • National Academy of Medicine
    Member (2014)
  • Outstanding Scientific Achievement Award
    Sleep Research Society (2012)
  • National Academy of Sciences
    Member (2003)
  • W. Alden Spencer Award
    College of Physicians and Surgeons, Columbia University (2001)
  • American Academy of Arts and Sciences
    Fellow (2000)
  • 6th C.U. Ariens Kappers Award
    Netherlands Society for the Advancement of Natural Sciences, Medicine and Surgery (1995)
  • Honma Prize in Biological Rhythms Research
    Honma Foundation of Life Sciences (1986)

Professional Associations/Affiliations

  • American Academy of Arts and Sciences (2000)
  • National Academy of Medicine (2014)
  • National Academy of Sciences (2003)