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Glenn I. Hatton

Professor of Cell Biology and Neuroscience

UC Riverside

1934 – 2009


Glenn I. Hatton, 74, distinguished professor in the Department of Cell Biology and Neuroscience, University of California, Riverside, died peacefully on Friday, January 16, 2009, in Riverside following a brief illness from cancer. 

Hatton was born in Chicago, Illinois, on December 12, 1934. He received his B.S. from North Central College, Naperville, Illinois in 1960 in psychology, and M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in psychology and physiology, from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1962 and 1964, respectively.


In 1965 Hatton joined Michigan State University as an assistant professor, and rose through the ranks to become professor of psychology and physiology, serving as director of the neuroscience graduate program from 1978 to 1991. In 1992 he joined the University of California, Riverside as professor and founding chair of the Department of Neuroscience, which later became the Department of Cell Biology and Neuroscience. During this time, he founded the neuroscience graduate program at UC Riverside and served as its first director. Hatton stepped down as chair and director in 2002. During his career he advanced twice to the rank of distinguished professor, first at Michigan State University in 1986 and then at UC Riverside in 1997.


Glenn Hatton was internationally recognized for his scientific contributions that advanced key concepts in neuroscience. Until three decades ago it was assumed that the structure of the brain is fixed once the process of development is completed in early life. In pioneering studies that began in 1976, Hatton helped to transform this thinking by showing brain structure is dynamic, with marked changes in the shapes and spatial relationships between different types of brain cells that occur over minutes to hours. The offshoots of his revolutionary contributions continue to the present time. Hatton’s work defined how glial cells regulate neuronal activity. In recent years, his studies defined how one type of glia, the astrocyte regulates oxytocin production and the maternal milk reflex. Hatton was one of a relatively small but growing number of neuroscientists to tackle another fascinating problem – the interaction between neurons (cells traditionally regarded as delivering all signals in the brain) and glial cells (cells formerly thought to provide little more than metabolic and structural support for neurons).


Hatton’s work showing that glial cells play active roles in functioning nervous systems helped launch the burgeoning field of glial-neuronal interactions, which has emerged as one of the most active fields in brain research. His work and leadership was pivotal in the founding of the Center for Glial-Neuronal Interactions at UC Riverside.


Hatton’s prolific research record is documented by more than 170 very high quality technical articles he published in scientific journals. He also had an outstanding record of research grants, exemplified by continuous funding throughout his entire career by the National Institutes of Health.


Hatton's expertise was widely recognized by his peers. He was president of the Association of Neuroscience Departments and Programs and a member of numerous review panels at the National Institutes of Health. He was on the editorial boards of several neuroscience journals. In recognition of his research, he received numerous honors, including the National Institutes of Health Research Career Development Award, Fogarty Senior Fellow, Guggenheim Foundation Fellow, Corpus Christi College, University of Cambridge Senior Scholar, Michigan State University Distinguished Faculty Award, and Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Hatton was twice chosen for the prestigious Jacob Javits Neuroscience Investigator Award from the National Institutes of Health.


Hatton is survived by Patricia, his wife of 54 years, his children James, William, Christopher, Jennifer, and Tracey Silla, daughter-in-law Caroline, and son-in-law Sam, and granddaughter, Aubrey. 


Michael Adams

Monica Carson

Edwin Rubel

Glenn Stanley

Sarjeet Gill