10 Facts About Richard Axel


Richard Axel was born on July 2,1946 and is an American molecular biologist and university professor in the Department of Neuroscience at Columbia University and investigator at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.


Richard Axel found his calling in research and returned to Columbia later that year, eventually becoming a full professor in 1978.


Richard Axel holds the titles of University Professor at Columbia University, Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics and of Pathology at Columbia University's College of Physicians and Surgeons, and Investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.


Richard Axel was elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and a member of the National Academy of Sciences in 1983.


In 2005, Richard Axel received the Golden Plate Award of the American Academy of Achievement.


Richard Axel developed gene transfer techniques that permit the introduction of virtually any gene into any cell permitting the production of a large number of clinically important proteins and leading to the isolation of a gene for CD4, the cellular receptor for the AIDS virus, HIV.


Richard Axel then applied molecular biology to neuroscience revealing over a thousand genes involved in the recognition of odours, a discovery for which he shared the Nobel Prize in 2004.

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Richard Axel currently explores how odour recognition is translated into internal representations in the brain.


Richard Axel is married to fellow scientist and olfaction pioneer Cornelia Bargmann.


Previously, he had been married to Ann Richard Axel, who is a social worker at Columbia University Medical Center.