Joseph Takahashi received his BA in biology from Swarthmore College, his PhD in neuroscience from the University of Oregon, and he was a post-doctoral fellow with Martin Zatz at the National Institutes of Mental Health. He then spent 26 years at Northwestern University where he was a faculty member in the Department of Neurobiology and Physiology and in 1997 he became an Investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. In 2009, Takahashi joined the University of Texas, Southwestern Medical Center as the Loyd B. Sands Distinguished Chair in Neuroscience.
Using forward genetic screens in mice, Takahashi identified the first mammalian circadian gene “Clock” in 1997. Since then, his lab has gone on to identify and clone numerous circadian genes in both the brain and tissues throughout the body. Takahashi has received numerous awards and honors for his ground-breaking research including election to the National Academy of Sciences.