Martin Lee Chalfie is an American scientist. He is University Professor at Columbia University. He shared the 2008 Nobel Prize in Chemistry along with Osamu Shimomura and Roger Y. Tsien “for the discovery and development of the green fluorescent protein, GFP”. He holds a Ph.D. in neurobiology from Harvard University.
After graduating in 1969, he worked at a variety of temporary jobs, such as selling dresses for his parents’ dress manufacturing business in Chicago and teaching at Hamden Hall Country Day School in Hamden, Connecticut. In the summer of 1971, his research at the laboratory of Jose Zadunaisky at Yale University resulted in his first publication. With revived confidence. He returned to Harvard for graduate studies under Robert Perlman, and received his Ph.D. in 1977.
He conducted his postdoctoral research at the LMB with Sidney Brenner and John Sulston, and the three published a paper in 1985 on “The Neural Circuit for Touch Sensitivity in C. elegans. Chalfie then left the LMB in 1982 to join the faculty of Columbia University in the department of biological sciences and continued to study C. elegans touch mutants.
Chalfie’s lab uses the nematode C. elegans to investigate aspects of nerve cell development and function. The wealth of developmental, anatomical, genetic, and molecular information available for C. elegans provides a powerful and multifaceted approach to these studies.
He traces his work on Green fluorescent protein to a 1988 seminar from Paul Brehm about bioluminescent organisms, which led to some crucial experiments in 1992, detailed in his paper “Green fluorescent protein as a marker for gene expression”, which is among the 20 most-cited papers in the field of Molecular Biology & Genetics. Chalfie won a Golden Goose Award for this work in 2012.
Martin Lee Chalfie delivered the B.M. Birla Memorial Lecture and gave away the B.M. Birla Science Prizes on January 27, 2018.