• Delaney Lloyd

Bargmann in Neurobiology

Cornelia Bargmann is a 59-year-old American neurobiologist. With her doctorate degree, she studies “the relationships between genes, experience, and behavior” in C. Elegans. Her most significant study was on the olfactory sense mechanisms in roundworms. Bargmann's work has helped others further understand the intricate behaviors of roundworms.


From a young age, science had Cornelia Bargmann infatuated with it. She says, “my parents were immigrants from Europe, what they believed in was education.” Bargmann went on to begin her academic career by attending and graduating from the University of Georgia, in Athens, with a degree in biochemistry. She obtained her doctorate from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1987. Her newfound interest in the biology of the nervous system as she completed postdoctoral research is what began her studying of Caenorhabditis elegans.

Researching and Studying

Cornelia Bargmann's research that she is most widely known for is her studying of C. elegans that simply only have 203 neurons. Bargmann had told her peer that, “she wanted to study chemosensory behavior in C. elegans.” She discovered that by using laser ablation, she identified chemosensory neurons that manage whether or not the roundworm can enter a stage of no eating or reproducing. Cornelia also examined the roundworm's olfactory system and established that nematodes do have a sense of smell. While studying olfaction in these roundworms, she exhibited how the nematodes “could detect and respond to a number of volatile chemicals...” As she continued to advance her research due to her new findings, she also came across the C. elegans social feeding behaviors. The neurobiologist determined the behaviors to be “controlled by a gene known as npr-1, similar to some human proteins that affect appetite and anxiety.” Cornelia found many new breakthroughs by researching this simple organism.

Awards and Achievements

Cornelia Bargmann has proved through her hard work and analysis that such simple organisms such as roundworms do hold complexity and uniqueness. Bargmann has gone on to win numerous awards that are given to many others in the science field including the Benjamin Franklin Medal in Life Science. She also leads a laboratory at Rockefeller University in which they study neural circuits and behavior. Cornelia Bargmann is an evident role model for women in the science field on account of all her accomplishments.


Cori Bargmann


Neill, U. (2018, July 2). A conversation with Cornelia Bargmann.


Marino, M. (2005, March 01). Biography of Cornelia I. Bargmann.


Cornelia Bargmann. (2015, August 26)


Cori Bargmann awarded 2015 Benjamin Franklin Medal. https://www.rockefeller.edu/news/8907-cori-bargmann-awarded-2015-benjamin-franklin-medal/

Recent Posts

See All