Marc Tessier-Lavigne’s journey into neuroscience began a few hundred miles off the coast of Newfoundland, aboard the Queen Elizabeth II. It was 1980, and Dr. Tessier-Lavigne, then 20 years old, was headed to Oxford University with plans to pursue a Ph.D. in physics.
It takes several hundred billion nerve cells to put together the human brain, and they must be connected in an intricate and precise pattern in order to function properly. The formation of these connections — the brain’s neural circuits — during an organism’s embryonic development is what ultimately allows the brain to perceive, remember and issue commands to the rest of the body.
I am honored and delighted to be joining the university on March 16. The past six months have been a busy and exciting period of preparation — for my family and my lab as well as for me personally — as we planned our move to New York. Over these months I have had the opportunity to meet many of the faculty, students, administration and staff, and the excitement I felt on my appointment as president has only grown during that time.
As chairman of the Board of Trustees it is my great honor and pleasure to welcome Marc Tessier-Lavigne as our 10th president.
Marc Tessier-Lavigne’s arrival at Rockefeller means the addition of not one, but two active neuroscience research programs to campus. This summer, Mary Hynes — Dr. Tessier-Lavigne’s wife and a well regarded neuroscientist in her own right — will relocate from Stanford. As research associate professor, she will investigate the development of the key cells targeted by Parkinson’s disease: dopaminergic neurons.