May 29, 2022
Charles D. Gilbert ’71, P’19, Arthur and Janet Ross Professor of Neurosciences and Behavior and head of the Laboratory of Neurobiology at The Rockefeller University, is a pioneering neurobiologist and researcher of the neural mechanisms of visual perception, learning and memory. Gilbert seeks to understand the mechanisms of brain function at the circuit level. He has shown that, rather than having fixed functional properties, adult neurons are dynamically tuned, changing their specificities with sensory experience and behavioral context. This transformational understanding of plasticity in circuit interaction opens new avenues for research in perceptual dysfunction in neurological and behavioral disorders such as schizophrenia and autism. It also provides important insights into the process of recovery after brain lesions and neurodegenerative disease, including macular degeneration.
After graduating from Amherst College with a major in independent studies and a focus on biophysics, Gilbert earned his M.D. and Ph.D. in neurobiology from Harvard Medical School. He taught at Harvard for three years before joining the faculty of The Rockefeller University.
In recognition of his many scientific contributions, Gilbert has won numerous awards, including Columbia University’s 2002 W. Alden Spencer Award for outstanding research and the 2015 Edward M. Scolnick Prize in Neuroscience from MIT’s McGovern Institute for Brain Research. Gilbert has served on many scientific advisory committees for foundations supporting the research of earlycareer investigators, including the KlingensteinSimons Fellowship Awards program (as chair), the Rita Allen and McKnight Foundations, and the Pew Charitable Trusts. He has served on advisory committees for research institutions in various countries, and on the editorial boards of several neuroscience journals. Gilbert is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, as well as a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.