Marc Tessier-Lavigne, who became the tenth President of The Rockefeller University in March 2011, is a neuroscientist and former biotechnology executive.
Dr. Tessier-Lavigne and his research group pioneered the identification of molecules that direct the formation of connections among nerve cells to establish circuits in the brain and spinal cord during embryonic development. These mechanisms provide tools to assist regeneration of nerve connections following trauma or injury, including stroke and paralyzing injuries to the spinal cord. In addition, the processes that Dr. Tessier-Lavigne studies have implications for understanding neurodegenerative conditions such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases, and multiple sclerosis. The recipient of numerous scientific awards and prizes, Dr. Tessier-Lavigne is an elected member of the National Academy of Sciences, and a fellow of the Royal Society (UK), the Royal Society of Canada, the Academy of Medical Sciences (UK), and the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
Dr. Tessier-Lavigne was born in Trenton, Canada. He received undergraduate degrees from McGill University and Oxford University, where he was a Rhodes Scholar. He received a Ph.D. in neurophysiology from University College London in 1987, and performed postdoctoral work at University College London and at Columbia University. From 1991 to 2003, he held faculty positions at the University of California, San Francisco, and at Stanford University, where he was the Susan B. Ford Professor in the Humanities and Sciences. He was also an investigator with the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. He was then recruited to Genentech, a leading biotechnology company, where he became executive vice president for research and chief scientific officer, directing 1,400 scientists in disease research and drug discovery for cancer, immune disorders, infectious diseases, and neurodegenerative diseases. He was named President-elect of The Rockefeller University in August 2010.