Michael J. Zigmond


Michael Zigmond received his PhD at the University of Chicago, did postdoctoral work at MIT, and then joined the faculty at the University of Pittsburgh (Pitt) in 1970. He ran a research program sponsored by NIH and DOD that was focused on brain neurobiology in health and disease until his retirement in 2017. He continues his research programs though collaborations with other labs. Zigmond was instrumental in developing the graduate neuroscience training program at the University of Pittsburgh and initiated pre- and post-doctoral training grants funded by the NIH in the mid-1980s, which he then directed for almost 30 years. He also initiated and taught courses in various aspects of neurobiology, including the neurobiology of disease at Pitt, and in 2011 he co-directed a course together for faculty members from a variety of institutions that was designed to help the them initiate such courses at their home institutions. He was senior editor of Fundamental Neuroscience (1979) and Neurobiology of Neurological and Psychiatric Disorders (2014) and served as Editor-in-Chief for Progress in Neurobiology (2000-2018). In 1985 he began to run workshops on professional skills that incorporated training in the responsible conduct of research at Pitt, workshops that came to be called the “Survival Skills and Ethics Program.” Since initiating these training programs at Pitt, comparable workshops have been provided across the United States and in many other countries, particularly those in Africa, Asia, and the Middle East. The workshops have been offered directly to students and junior faculty as well as in a train-the-trainer format to more senior faculty.

Zigmond was president of the Association of Neuroscience Departments and Programs in 1991 and received its Award in Education in 1999. He also served on the Minority Education, Training, and Professional Advancement Committee (1997-2000), the Social Issues Roundtable Committee (1996-2002), and the Committee on Women (1999-2003) of the Society for Neuroscience (SfN). He was elected to be the SfN Secretary for two years (1994-96). He also chaired the committee that wrote the first SfN Guidelines for Responsible Conduct Regarding Scientific Communication.

Zigmond served as an advisor to the National Academy of Science (NAS) in the production of several of their manuals, including On Being a Scientist; Advisor, Teacher, Role Model, Friend, and Enhancing the Postdoctoral Experience. He was also a member of a U.S. Institute of Medicine taskforce on research integrity that produced Integrity in Scientific Research and a member of the editorial board that oversaw the revision of the NAS booklet, On Being a Scientist (3rd edition). He has organized a number of efforts to promote diversity, made presentations at conferences of underserved individuals, chaired the Program Advisory Committee for the NIH-sponsored program at Universidad Central del Caribe in Puerto Rico, and served on an advisory committee at the University of Puerto Rico. Zigmond is now professor emeritus from the University of Pittsburgh but continues to work actively on professional development, mentoring, and research ethics instruction. Dr. Zigmond can be contacted at zigmond@pitt.edu.