Dr. Tessier-Lavigne was born in Trenton, Ontario, Canada. He received undergraduate degrees in physics from McGill University and in philosophy and physiology from Oxford University, where he was a Rhodes Scholar. He earned a Ph.D. in physiology from University College London (UCL) and performed postdoctoral work at UCL and at Columbia University. He then held faculty positions at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) and subsequently at Stanford University, where he was the Susan B. Ford Professor in the School of Humanities and Sciences. While at UCSF and Stanford he was also an investigator with the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.