Kenneth C. Catania

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Kenneth C. Catania
Born 1965
Fields Neurobiology
Institutions Vanderbilt University
Alma mater University of Maryland, College Park, University of California, San Diego
Doctoral advisor Glenn Northcutt
Notable awards MacArthur Fellowship, C. J. Herrick Award, NSF Career

Kenneth C. Catania (born 1965) is a biologist and neuroscientist working at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee. He studies animal sensory systems, brain organization, and behavior in diverse species including star-nosed moles, water shrews, naked mole-rats, alligators and crocodiles, and snakes at Catania lab. He studies specialized animals because “they reveal general principles of brain function.” Catania has written many publications in scientific journals and has written for Scientific American, Natural History Magazine, and The Scientist.

He did his post-doctoral work with Jon Kaas at Vanderbilt University before joining the Vanderbilt Biological Sciences Faculty in 2000 where he is currently a Stevenson Professor of Biological Sciences. In 1989, Catania received a BS in zoology from the University of Maryland. In 1992, he received an MS in Neurosciences from the University of California, San Diego, followed in 1994 with a Ph.D. from UCSD working with Glenn Northcutt.


2013 Pradel Award in Neuroscience, National Academy of Sciences

2006 MacArthur Award

2005 C. J. Herrick Award in Neuroanatomy

2001 National Science Foundation Career Award

2001 Searle Scholar Award

1998 Capranica Foundation Award in Neuroethology

Named Vanderbilt's "Most Shocking Dude" in 2015. He was awarded this title after he not only recorded a "mechanism similar to a taser" from an electric eel, but he himself absorbed the shock through his fingertips.[1]


  1. ^ "Electric Eels Use Built-In "Taser" to Remotely Stun Their Prey". 2014-12-04. Retrieved 2016-02-17. 
  • Haines DE (March 2006). "AAA award winners". The Anatomical Record Part B: The New Anatomist. 289 (2): 48–52. doi:10.1002/ar.b.20096. PMID 16568422. 
  • Huslin, Anita (2006-09-18), "Two U-Md. Grads Among MacArthur 'Genius' Awardees", The Washington Post, pp. C01 

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