Prof. Alon Chen

Department of Neurobiology Weizmann Institute of Science

Description: C:\Users\heidi.WISMAIN\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\Temporary Internet Files\Content.Word\10302F080.jpgBorn in Israel in 1970, Prof. Alon Chen received a BSc in biological studies from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in 1995, and a PhD from the Weizmann Institute of Science in the Department of Neurobiology, in 2001. Between 2001 and 2005, he served as a Research Associate in the Laboratories for Peptide Biology, at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies, La Jolla, California. In 2005, he joined the Weizmann Institute in the Department of Neurobiology. In 2013, he was nominated to head the Max Planck Society - Weizmann Institute of Science Laboratory for Experimental Neuropsychiatry and Behavioral Neurogenetics.

Prof. Chen’s research focuses on the neurobiology of stress, particularly the mechanisms by which the brain regulates the response to stressful challenges, and how this response is linked to psychiatric disorders. His lab studies the role of diverse genes, proteins and brain circuits that are associated with the stress response. Prof. Chen and his team use a combination of state-of-the-art methodologies, including molecular, cellular, behavioral and physiological tools, to “dissect” the contribution of specific genes or brain circuits to the initiation, maintenance, and termination of the stress response. His lab has made discoveries linking the action of specific genes with anxiety, depression, obesity, diabetes, and even the preservation of memories. They use both mouse genetic models and human patients to ultimately create the scientific groundwork for therapeutic interventions to treat stress-related emotional disorders such as anxiety, post-traumatic stress, anorexia nervosa, and depression.

His honors include a postdoctoral Rothschild Fellowship, and a postdoctoral Fulbright Fellowship (2001-2002). He received the ‘Alon Fellowship’; the most prestigious Israeli fellowship for returning scientists, granted by the Israeli Council for Higher Education, 2007-2009, and the Novartis Prize in Neuroendocrinology in 2009 and the Hans Lindner Prize in 2011, both from the Israel Endocrine Society; as well as the Sieratzki-Korczyn Prize for Advances in Neuroscience in 2010. In 2011, he was awarded the Morris L. Levinson Prize in Biology by the Scientific Council of the Weizmann Institute and the Teva Research Prize granted by the Israel Science Foundation.             
Prof. Chen is married with two children and has a keen interest in science education for youth.