Chiye Aoki majored in biology at Barnard College, Columbia University. She entered the world of neuroscience during those years by participating in research that monitored brain activities of animals undergoing the natural transition from wakefulness to REM sleep to answer the question: Why do we need to sleep? The next year, she began tackling the question: What’s special about juvenile brains that make the learning of so many things (such as language) so effortless? For this work, she received a PhD from Rockefeller University in 1985 and wrote her first popular science article in Scientific American. After finishing post-doctoral training at Weill Cornell Medical College, she joined the faculty of Neural Science and Biology at New York University, where she has taught and fostered research by undergraduates since 1990. Her current passion is to understand the biological basis of individual differences in resilience to stress and mental illnesses, especially during adolescence.