Samuel Barondes Lectureship in Biological Psychiatry

Each year, the UCSF Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences invites a distinguished scholar to speak on campus as part of a special distinguished visiting lectureship series highlighting the integration of biological sciences and psychiatry in honor of Jeanne and Sanford Robertson Endowed Chair and Chair Emeritus Samuel Barondes, MD.

The 3rd annual Samuel Barondes Lecture in Biological Psychiatry

The UCSF Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences hosted the 3rd annual Samuel Barondes Lecture in Biological Psychiatry on April 22, 2019, featuring noted developmental biologist and neuroscientist David J. Anderson, PhD. (Events planned for 2020 and 2021 were postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.)

David J. Anderson, PhD

2019 Barondes Lectureship honoree David J. Anderson, PhD

Dr. Anderson is the Seymour Benzer Professor of Biology at the California Institute of Technology, where he has been on the faculty since 1986. He is also an investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. Dr. Anderson received his AB from Harvard, PhD from the Rockefeller University under Günter Blobel, and was a postdoctoral fellow with Richard Axel at Columbia.

For the first 20+ years of his career, Anderson’s research focused on the biology of neural crest stem cells. He was the first to isolate a multipotent self-renewing stem cell for neurons and glia, and subsequently identified growth factors and master transcriptional regulators that control their differentiation into neurons vs. glia, as well as their self-renewal. He has also made important contributions to angiogenesis and nerve-blood vessel interactions, including the discovery that arteries and veins are genetically distinct from before the onset of heartbeat.

Beginning in the early part of the last decade, Anderson gradually switched his research focus from neural development to the study of neural circuits underlying innate behaviors that are associated with emotional states, including defensive behaviors and inter-male aggression. His work employs both mice and the fruitfly Drosophila melanogaster as model organisms, and incorporates optogenetics, pharmacogenetics, electrophysiology, in vivo imaging, and quantitative behavior analysis using machine vision-based approaches.

Dr. Anderson played a key advisory role in the initial foundation of the Allan Institute for Brain Sciences and the Allen Brain Atlas, and now serves on their scientific advisory board, as well as on the advisory council for Project MindScope and the Connectional Atlas. He has also been a visiting scientist at HHMI’s Janelia Farm Research Campus. Dr. Anderson received the Alden Spencer Award in Neurobiology from Columbia University in 1999 and was elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 2007.

Previous lectureship honorees

About Samuel Barondes, MD


The official department portrait of Samuel Barondes, MD, the Jeanne and Sanford Robertson Endowed Chair and Chair Emeritus.

Samuel Barondes was educated at Columbia and Harvard and learned to do research at the National Institutes of Health as a postdoc with Gordon Tomkins and with Marshall Nirenberg, in whose laboratory he contributed to the Nobel Prize-winning studies that deciphered the genetic code.

Thereafter, Barondes devoted himself to integrating psychiatry with molecular biology and neuroscience. He has been a professor at the University of California since 1969, first at UC San Diego, where he was a founding member of the Department of Psychiatry and the Neuroscience Program and, since 1986 at UC San Francisco, where he initially served as chair of the Department of Psychiatry and director of the Langley Porter Psychiatric Institute. Since 1994, he has served as the Jeanne and Sanford Robertson Endowed Chair and Director of the Center for Neurobiology and Psychiatry. Throughout his time at UCSF, Barondes chaired the Chancellor’s Art Committee, overseeing the acquisition and commissioning of hundreds of works, with special emphasis on the J. Michael Bishop Collection at Mission Bay.

Barondes is a member of the National Academy of Medicine, and a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. In 1976, he was a founder of the McKnight Neuroscience Program, and served as its president for 10 years. His books include Cellular Dynamics of the Neuron (1969); Neuronal Recognition (1976); Molecules and Mental Illness (1993); Mood Genes (1998); Better Than Prozac (2003); Making Sense of People (2011, 2016); and Before I Sleep: Poems For Children Who Think (2014).