Robert Sapolky- 2008 Carl Sagan Prize Recipient

Robert Sapolsky received his B.A. in biological anthropology summa cum laude from Harvard University and subsequently attended Rockefeller University where he received his Ph.D. in Neuroendocrinology, working in the lab of Bruce McEwen, a world-renowned endocrinologist. He is currently a professor at Stanford University, holding joint appointments in several departments, including Biological Sciences, Neurology & Neurological Sciences, and Neurosurgery.


Sapolsky, a neuroendocrinologist, has focused his research on issues of stress and neuron degeneration, as well as on the possibilities of gene therapy strategies for help in protecting susceptible neurons from disease. Currently, he is working on gene transfer techniques to strengthen neurons against the disabling effects of glucocorticoids. Sapolsky also spends time annually in Kenya studying a population of wild baboons in order to identify the sources of stress of their environment, and the relationship between personality and patterns of stress-related disease in these animals. More specifically, Sapolsky studies the cortisol levels between the Alpha male and female and the subordinates to determine stress level.

He is the author of Why Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers: An Updated Guide to Stress, Stress-Related Diseases and Coping (1994), which explores the effects of prolonged stress and its contribution to damaging physical and mental afflictions. His other books include, The Trouble with Testosterone: And Other Essays on the Biology of the Human Predicament (1997), Junk Food Monkeys (1997), A Primate’s Memoir (2002) and Monkeyluv: And Other Essays on Our Lives as Animals (2005).


Sapolsky has received numerous honors and awards for his work, including the prestigious MacArthur Fellowship genius grant in 1987, an Alfred P. Sloan Fellowship, and the Klingenstein Fellowship in Neuroscience.

The UK hardcore band Johnny Truant have a song named after Sapolsky on their debut full-length album The Repercussions of a Badly Planned Suicide.