TUESDAY, June 3, 2008 at 8:00 p.m.
Columbia University Center for Psychoanalytic Training and Research,
Myron A. Hofer, M.D.
The Emerging Synthesis of Development and Evolution:
Myron A. Hofer M.D. is Sackler Professor and Director of the Institute for Developmental Psychobiology in the department of psychiatry at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, and on the research faculty of the Columbia Psychoanalytic Center. During his career in research at Albert Einstein College of Medicine and at Columbia, Dr. Hofer and his colleagues have explored the basic developmental processes of the mother-infant relationship and their effects on later vulnerability to illness, in a laboratory model system. Through an experimental analysis of the psychobiological events that enmesh the infant rat and its mother, he has discovered hidden regulatory processes that have become the basis for a new understanding of the early origins of attachment, the dynamics of the separation response, and the shaping of development by that first relationship.
Recently, Dr. Hofer has become interested in theoretical aspects of development and its role as a participant, as well as a product of evolution, with the aim of deriving a set of principles that can help bridge the gap between our thinking about developmental processes at the biological and psychoanalytic levels. The emerging field of Evolutionary Developmental Biology, or "Evo- Devo" that has been fueled by a wave of new genetic knowledge, is beginning to unite the two great historical life processes that were of such interest to Freud as theoretical models during the early formation of psychoanalysis.
After graduating from Harvard College and Medical School, Dr. Hofer began his research at Cornell-Payne Whitney, the National Institutes of Mental Health , and the American Museum of Natural History. He did his psychiatric residency at Columbia. He has served on the editorial boards of the journals, Psychosomatic Medicine, Behavioral Neuroscience, and Developmental Psychobiology, and is the author of many research papers, theoretical chapters and several books, including “The Roots of Human Behavior", published in 1981. He has been president of the American Psychosomatic Society and the International Society for Developmental Psychobiology. Among his awards are the NIMH. Research Scientist and Merit Awards, and the Salmon Award Lectures. Dr. Hofer lives in New York City with his wife, Lynne Hofer, a psychoanalyst.