School of Medicine

Paul Taghert to be Interim Head, Department of Neuroscience

Dear School of Medicine Community,

It is a pleasure for me to announce that Paul Taghert, PhD, has accepted the position of interim head of the Department of Neuroscience and will start in the role on July 1, 2019. Paul is professor of neurobiology and an exceptionally well-respected member of our faculty since establishing his own laboratory here in 1985. We are confident that he will continue the great tradition of leadership provided by Azad Bonni over the last 7 years.

Paul is a graduate of Reed College, with PhD studies at University of Washington and postdoctoral training with Corey Goodman at Stanford. Paul is internationally known for his research on mechanisms of circadian rhythm regulation using Drosophila as a model organism. He identified the role of the peptide “pigment dispersing factor” (PDF) in maintaining circadian rhythms and then discovered its receptor PDFR, a member of the G-protein coupled receptor family. His work has led to novel revelations about regulatory molecules as well as the neuronal sub-types and circuits that mediate circadian rhythm, including seminal papers in Science and Neuron in recent years.

Paul has played important leadership roles at WUSM involving graduate student training for many years and recently led a task force on cellular imaging that resulted in the establishment of the Washington University Center for Cellular Imaging.

On behalf of the Executive Faculty of our school, I want to express my thanks to Paul for taking on this role. I am looking forward to working closely with him and the rest of the faculty of the Department of Neuroscience, in particular as we delve more deeply into planning the design of the new Neuroscience Research Building.

I also want to take this opportunity to thank Azad Bonni, Edison Professor of Neurobiology and head of the Department of Neuroscience, for his marvelous leadership since 2012. Azad has built successfully and with great scientific taste on the outstanding tradition of neuroscience research at WUSM and its teaching mission within our medical education program. He has also been an important voice in leadership of the school as a member of the Executive Faculty. He will now be moving on to an exciting position at Roche in a senior vice president role as global head of neuroscience and rare diseases research and early development.

Please join me in thanking Paul for taking on this leadership role and wishing Azad the best in his new position.


David H. Perlmutter, MD
Executive Vice Chancellor for Medical Affairs and Dean
Spencer T. and Ann W. Olin Distinguished Professor
George and Carol Bauer Dean, Washington University School of Medicine