Pioneering Caltech Neuroscientist Explores “The Nature of the Beast: How Emotions Guide Us”

Published on May 16, 2022

Pioneering neuroscientist David J. Anderson, Seymour Benzer Professor of Biology at Caltech, will talk about his book, “The Nature of the Beast: How Emotions Guide Us,” on Behind the Book, a Caltech Live virtual presentation Tuesday, May 17, starting at 5 p.m.

In “The Nature of the Beast,” Professor Anderson explains what studying emotions and related internal brain states in animals can teach people about human behavior, offering new insights into why isolation leads to being more aggressive, how sex and violence connect, and whether there’s a link between aggression and mental illness.

Dr. Anderson is also Director and Leadership Chair of Caltech’s Tianqiao and Chrissy Chen Institute for Neuroscience and an Investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. Dr. Anderson received his AB from Harvard, PhD from the Rockefeller University under Günter Blobel, and was a postdoctoral fellow with Richard Axel at Columbia University.

For the first 20 years of his career, Anderson’s research focused on the biology of neural crest stem cells.  He was the first to isolate a multipotent self-renewing stem cell for neurons and glia, and subsequently identified growth factors and master transcriptional regulators that control their differentiation into neurons vs. glia, as well as their self-renewal.

Anderson has also made important contributions to angiogenesis and nerve-blood vessel interactions, including the discovery that arteries and veins are genetically distinct from before the onset of heartbeat.

On Behind the Book, Caltech converses with authors who explore the intersection of arts, science, and society through the lens of their life experiences and family histories.

This virtual event is free, but advance registration is required. An audience Q&A follows each discussion.

To register, go to

For more information, call (626) 395-4652.

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