Robert Malenka, M.D., Ph.D.

Founder, Board Member

Robert C. Malenka, M.D., Ph.D
Pritzker Professor of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences
Director, Nancy Pritzker Laboratory
Deputy Director, Wu Tsai Neurosciences Institute
Associate Chair, Dept. of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences
Stanford University

Dr. Robert C. Malenka is the Pritzker Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Director of the Nancy Pritzker Laboratory and Deputy Director of the Wu Tsai Neurosciences Institute. After graduating from Harvard College (1978: summa cum laude, phi beta kappa), he received an M.D. and a Ph.D. in neuroscience in 1983 from Stanford University School of Medicine. Over the ensuing 6 years he completed residency training in psychiatry at Stanford and 4 years of postdoctoral research at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF). In 1989, he was appointed Assistant Professor of Psychiatry and Physiology at UCSF, at which he reached the rank of Full Professor in 1996. In addition to running his research program at UCSF he was the Director of the Center for the Neurobiology of Addiction and Associate Director of the Center for Neurobiology and Psychiatry. He returned to the Stanford University School of Medicine in 1999.

He is an elected member of the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Medicine as well as an elected fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology. He has served on the National Advisory Council on Drug Abuse and as a Councilor for the Society for Neuroscience and the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology. He is a member of the scientific advisory boards of numerous non-profit foundations and on the editorial boards of several prominent journals including Neuron and Trends Neuroscience.

He has been the recipient of numerous awards including: the Society for Neuroscience Young Investigator Award (1993); the Daniel Efron Award from the American College of Neuropsychopharmacolgoy (1998); the Kemali Foundation International Prize in Neuroscience (2000); the CINP-Lilly Neuroscience Basic Research Award (2002), the Perl/UNC Neuroscience Prize (2006), the NARSAD Goldman-Rakic Prize for Outstanding Neuroscience Research (2010), the Pasarow Foundation Award for Extraordinary Accomplishment in Neuropsychiatry Research (2011), and the Society for Neuroscience Julius Axelrod Prize (2016).

Dr. Malenka’s findings have been published in >285 research papers in leading science journals (H-index 150; ~91,000 citations). He has also co-authored a textbook entitled Molecular Neuropharmacology: A Foundation for Clinical Neuroscience (McGraw Hill, 3rd edition, 2015). His many years of investigation have provide textbook knowledge on the molecular basis of brain plasticity and how neural circuit modifications contribute to the core symptoms of brain disorders including depression, addiction, autism and Parkinson’s disease.  His interest in applying the knowledge gained from scientific investigation to therapeutic development began over 20 years ago when he joined the scientific advisory board of Renovis.  Subsequently, over the last 20 years he has served on the scientific advisory boards for Merck and Pfizer as well as a broad range of biotechs.