Dr. John Hildebrand joined the faculty of the University of Arizona in 1985 after serving as a faculty member at Harvard (1970–80) and Columbia (1980–85) Universities. He is Regents Professor of Neuroscience and Professor of Chemistry & Biochemistry, Ecology & Evolutionary Biology, Entomology, and Molecular & Cellular Biology. He earned his baccalaureate degree at Harvard University (1964) and his Ph.D. (in biochemistry, 1969) at the Rockefeller University. He was founding Director of the ARL Division of Neurobiology at the University of Arizona (1985–2009) and subsequently founding Head of the Department of Neuroscience after the Division of Neurobiology became the Department of Neuroscience (2009–13).
Dr. Hildebrand’s research has focused mainly on the neurobiology and behavior of insects. This work teaches us about mechanisms that are common to vertebrate and invertebrate nervous systems and at the same time contributes to knowledge that will help alleviate the harm done by insects that are predators of the human food supply or vectors of disease. He is author of more than 220 peer-reviewed research papers and reviews and editor of five books.
He is past president of several scientific societies, including the Association for Chemoreception Sciences (AChemS), International Society of Chemical Ecology, and the International Society for Neuroethology, and a frequent consultant to federal agencies, private foundations, and companies. Among his strongest interests is education at all levels, and in that connection he served for many years as chairman of the Board of Neuroscience Schools of the International Brain Research Organization (IBRO) and as a member of the Training Advisory Committee of the APA/ANDP/NIH Diversity Program in Neuroscience. He is a member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences and currently serves as its elected International Secretary. He also is an elected member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, American Philosophical Society, Brazilian Academy of Sciences, German National Academy of Sciences ‘Leopoldina’, Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters, and Royal Norwegian Society of Sciences and Letters. He is an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Entomological Society (UK), and a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Entomological Society of America, and the International Society for Neuroethology. Among his other honors are an Einstein Professorship in the Chinese Academy of Sciences, the Outstanding Service Award for Contributions to the Biological Sciences from the American Institute of Biological Sciences, the Silver Medal of the International Society of Chemical Ecology, the Founders Memorial Award of the Entomological Society of America, and a Max Planck Research Award and a Humboldt Research Prize from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation.
In addition to his extensive activities as an academic scientist, John long served as a consultant to the Sherman Fairchild Foundation and a member of the Advisory Board of UAPresents, and currently is a member of the Community Advisory Board of Arizona Public Media. For nearly thirty years (until 1985), he enjoyed a parallel career as a free-lance professional musician (bass trombone and other low-brass instruments) in Boston and New York City.