John O’Keefe, Class of ’63, Wins Nobel Prize

Neuroscientist is CCNY’s 10th Nobel Laureate

Dr. John O'Keefe, a 1963 alumnus of The City College of New York, was today awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine. He is CCNY's tenth Nobel laureate.

The award, by the Nobel Assembly at Karolinska Institutet in Sweden, is for Professor O'Keefe's co-discovery of cells "that constitute a positioning system in the brain." The Guardian newspaper dubbed it an "inner GPS" in the brain.

The New York native is Director of the Sainsbury Wellcome Centre in Neural Circuits and Behaviour at University College London (UCL) in England. He will share the Nobel Prize with the Norwegian husband-and-wife team May-Britt Moser and Edvard Moser.

After earning a bachelor's degree in psychology from City College, Professor O'Keefe received his doctorate in physiological psychology from McGill University, Canada, in 1967. He later moved to England for postdoctoral training at UCL and was appointed Professor of Cognitive Neuroscience there in 1987.

CCNY's nine previous Nobel Laureates are:

  • Dr. Julius Axelrod, '33 (medicine 1970);
  • Dr. Robert Hofstadter, '35 (physics 1961);
  • Dr. Jerome Karle, '37 (chemistry 1985);
  • Dr. Herbert A. Hauptman, '37 (chemistry 1985);
  • Dr. Arthur Kornberg, '37 (medicine 1959);
  • Dr. Kenneth Arrow, '40 (economics 1972);
  • Dr. Leon M. Lederman, '43 (physics 1988)
  • Dr. Arno A. Penzias, '54 (physics 1978);
  • Dr. Robert J. Aumann, '50 (economics 2005)

About The City College of New York
Since 1847, The City College of New York has provided low-cost, high-quality education for New Yorkers in a wide variety of disciplines. More than 16,000 students pursue undergraduate and graduate degrees in: the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences; the Bernard and Anne Spitzer School of Architecture; the School of Education; the Grove School of Engineering; the Sophie Davis School of Biomedical Education, and the Colin Powell School for Civic and Global Leadership. U.S. News, Princeton Review and Forbes all rank City College among the best colleges and universities in the United States.  


Jay Mwamba
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