Cornelia Bargmann

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Cornelia Bargmann
Born Cornelia Isabella Bargmann
Fields Biochemistry
Institutions Rockefeller University
Alma mater University of Georgia, M.I.T.
Doctoral advisor Robert Weinberg
Other academic advisors H. Robert Horvitz
Known for Olfaction research
Spouse Richard Axel

Cornelia Isabella "Cori" Bargmann (born 1961)[2] is an American neurobiologist. She is known for her work on the behavior in the C. elegans, particularly olfaction in the worm. She has been elected to the National Academy of Sciences and is currently a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator at Rockefeller University. For her work, in 2012 she was awarded the $1 million Kavli Prize, and in 2013 the $3 million Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences.


Bargmann was born in Virginia and grew up in Athens, Georgia, one of four children, and the daughter of Rolf Bargmann, a statistician and computer scientist at the University of Georgia.[3]

She completed undergraduate studies at the University of Georgia in 1981, with a degree in biochemistry. She completed graduate studies in 1987 at M.I.T. in the lab of Robert Weinberg. She examined the molecular mechanisms of oncogenesis, and helped identify the role of Ras in bladder cancer. She also did significant work on neu, an oncogene that later lead to significant treatments in breast cancer.[4]

Bargmann then completed a postdoc with H. Robert Horvitz at MIT, working on molecular biology mechanisms of neuroscience. She began working on chemosensory behavior in C. elegans, and achieved several breakthroughs, demonstrating, among other things, that nematodes have a sense of smell.[4]

Bargmann accepted a faculty position at UCSF, focusing on olfaction at the molecular level. This work led to discoveries of the mechanisms underlying complex behaviors, such as feeding behaviors.[4] The work has continued to lead to a deeper understanding of the brain, sensory abilities, and neuronal development. Bargmann also identified SYG-1, a "matchmaker" molecule—a molecule that directs neurons to form connections with each other during development.[5][6]

In 2004, Bargmann moved to Rockefeller University.[5]

Bargmann is married to fellow olfactory scientist and Nobel laureate Richard Axel. Previously, she had been married to Michael J. Finney, who also completed graduate studies at M.I.T. and is now a Director at Sage Science, Inc.

For a vivid portrait of Bargmann as a young scientist working in Weinberg's lab, see Natalie Angier's "Natural Obsessions: The Search for the Oncogene".

Bargmann was featured in the New York Times on June 21, 2011.

Notable papers[edit]




  1. ^ The Kavli Prize: "Cornelia Bargmann"
  2. ^ a b "Book of Members, 1780-2010: Chapter B" (PDF). American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Retrieved May 17, 2011. 
  3. ^ a b Crevar.
  4. ^ a b c Marino.
  5. ^ a b Rockefeller, Jan. 5, 2004.
  6. ^ Friend, 2003.
  7. ^ UCSF (description of paper)


External links[edit]