Dr. Jean-Pierre Changeux is Professor Emeritus at the Collège de France and at the Department of Neurosciences at the Pasteur Institute in Paris. He is one of the world’s leading molecular biologists and scientific theoreticians, and a pioneer of modern molecular pharmacology and neuroscience. Although he is known for his research in several fields, his seminal work has been on the structure and function of allosteric proteins, on isolating and determining the structure of the first neurotransmitter receptor, on demonstrating allosteric properties, and on the early development of the nervous system. Recently, he has focused on building computer models of brain functions such as song recognition in birds, numerical ability and the acquisition of consciousness. His model of “neural Darwinism” has important implications for theories on brain development and long-term brain plasticity.
Jean-Pierre Changeux has published over 600 scientific articles and has been awarded numerous distinctions. Most notably, he has received the Wolfe Foundation Prize in Medicine, the Gairdner Foundation International Award, the Swedish Academy of Sciences’ Carl-Gustav-Bernhard Medal, Stanford University’s Linus Pauling Medal, the Balzan Prize in Cognitive Neurosciences, and the U.S. National Academy of Sciences Award in the Neurosciences. He has been named Grand Croix in both the Ordre de la Légion d’Honneur and in the Ordre National du Mérite, and Commandeur in the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres.
His passion for art has led Jean-Pierre Changeux to organize several noted expositions and to champion the conservation of France’s artistic heritage. He has published seven books ranging across the neurosciences, for which he was awarded the Lewis Thomas Prize for Writing about Science.
From 1992 to 1998, Dr. Changeux chaired France’s national advisory committee on bioethics. Throughout his career, Jean-Pierre Changeux has been deeply involved in reflections on recent advances in neuroscience, and has expressed his concerns on their ethical consequences for medicine, and for society in general.