David Forrest Clayton

David Clayton


  • Associate Fellow
  • Child & Brain Development


  • Queen Mary University of London
Division of Biological and Experimental Psychology


  • United Kingdom


PhD (Molecular Cell Biology), Rockefeller University
BSc (Biochemistry), University of Georgia


David Clayton’s research focuses on how brain and genome interact to govern how experiences are filtered, stored and remembered.

Using the songbird as an experimental model, Clayton discovered that the formation of social memories is linked to the transcription of specific genes in songbird brain, in structures akin to auditory and association cortex. Further research led to the sequencing of the songbird genome and the identification of molecular networks involved in integrating social and developmental influences on perception and memory. Clayton’s approach is multidisciplinary and collaborative, as he seeks to understand the neurobiological mechanisms that promote or constrain successful adaptations to life experience.


Honorary Doctorate from the University of Antwerp, 2013
Fellow, American Association for the Advancement of Science, 2005
Scientific Advisory Board, National Parkinson Foundation, 1999
University Scholar, University of Illinois, 1996–1999
Whitehall Foundation Research Award, 1988–1992

Relevant Publications

George, J.M. et al. "Characterization of a novel protein regulated during the critical period for song learning in the zebra finch." Neuron 15, no. 2 (August 1995): 361–72.
Clayton, D.F., and J. M. George. "The synucleins: a family of proteins involved in synaptic function, plasticity, neurodegeneration and disease." Trends. Neurosci. 21, no. 6 (June 1998): 249–54.


Research Gate