Martyn Goulding, PhD


Molecular Neurobiology Laboratory

Frederick W. and Joanna J. Mitchell Chair

Salk Institute for Biological Studies - News


Not all itches are the same, according to the brain

LA JOLLA—Itch is a protective signal that animals use to prevent parasites from introducing potentially hazardous pathogens into the body. If a mosquito lands on a person’s arm, they sense …

Salk Professor Martyn Goulding wins Brain Prize

LA JOLLA—Salk Institute Professor Martyn Goulding will receive the 2022 Brain Prize for pioneering research on the neuronal circuits that control movement, the Lundbeck Foundation announced today.

Goulding shares the prize—the …

When it comes to feeling pain, touch or an itch, location matters

LA JOLLA—When you touch a hot stove, your hand reflexively pulls away; if you miss a rung on a ladder, you instinctively catch yourself. Both motions take a fraction of …

Salk scientists awarded $14.3 million to map circuitry for movement, such as reaching and grasping

LA JOLLA, CA—A team of Salk scientists led by Professor Martyn Goulding has been awarded $14.3 million over five years by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to create a …

Scratching the surface of how your brain senses an itch

A cross-section from a dorsal root ganglion showing sensory neurons that transmit light-touch information from the skin to Y1 neurons within the spinal cord.

Click here for a high-resolution image.

Credit: Salk …

When your spinal cord takes charge

LA JOLLA—We think of our brain as masterminding all of our actions, but a surprising amount of information related to movement gets processed by our spinal cord.

Now, Salk Institute scientists …

To scratch an itch is a hairy problem

LA JOLLA–An insect lands on your arm, moving the tiny hairs on your skin just enough to make you want to scratch. Salk Institute researchers have uncovered evidence of a …

Walking on ice takes more than brains

LA JOLLA–Walking across an icy parking lot in winter–and remaining upright–takes intense concentration. But a new discovery suggests that much of the balancing act that our bodies perform when faced …

Salk and Harvard scientists chart spinal circuitry responsible for chronic pain

LA JOLLA–Pain typically has a clear cause–but not always. When a person touches something hot or bumps into a sharp object, it’s no surprise that it hurts. But for people …

Salk scientists reveal circuitry of fundamental motor circuit

LA JOLLA—Scientists at the Salk Institute have discovered the developmental source for a key type of neuron that allows animals to walk, a finding that could help pave the way …

Prestigious endowed chairs awarded to Salk scientists

The Salk Institute is pleased to announce that faculty members Geoffrey M. Wahl and Martyn Goulding were celebrated as the recipients of endowed chairs in recognition of their significant scientific …

A fine balance

La Jolla, CA – Once a toddler has mastered the art of walking, it seems to come naturally for the rest of her life. But walking and running require …

Salk neurobiologist receives Javits Neuroscience Investigator Award

La Jolla, CA – Dr. Martyn Goulding, an associate professor in the Molecular Neurobiology Laboratory at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies, has been awarded the prestigious …

Striking the right balance between excitation and inhibition

La Jolla, CA – Neurons in the brain and spinal cord come in two flavors, excitatory neurons that transmit and amplify signals, and inhibitory neurons that inhibit …

Salk researchers make fast strides towards understanding how our body controls walking

La Jolla, CA – Researchers at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies have identified an important circuit in the spinal cord that controls the speed with which our leg muscles …


MS (Honors) Cell Biology, University of Auckland, Nz
PhD, Cellular and Molecular Biology, University of Auckland, Nz
Postdoctoral Fellow, Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry, Germany

Awards & Honors

  • Brain Prize, 2022
  • NINDS R35 Outstanding Investigator Award, 2019
  • Javits Neuroscience Investigator Award, 2006
  • Pew Scholar, 1994-1998
  • Basil O'Connor Research Award, 1993-1995