Richard Axel starts studying at the University of Columbia. He receives his Bachelor degree in 1967. During his study he works in the laboratory of a Professor of Medicine, where he washes glassware and so becomes acquainted with the universality of the genetic code.

Together with his fellow Linda Buck, Richard Axel starts researching the representation of the chemosensory world in the brain. They specialize into olfaction and discover that there are one thousand odorant receptor genes in the rat genome.

In 1984 Richard Axel becomes Investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute at Columbia University.

Richard Axel is born as the first child to Polish immigrants in New York City. He spends much time of his early life on the streets of Brooklyn playing stickball and basketball. His father is a tailor and his mother is a homemaker. Since he is eleven years old he works as a messenger or server or lays carpets.

Richard Axel, Saul J. Silverstein and Michael H. Wigler are discovering a method which allows foreign DNA to be inserted into a host cell to produce certain proteins, so-called cotransformation.

Richard Axel becomes Assistant Professor at the Institute of Cancer Research, Columbia University in 1974. He studies the structure of genes in chromatin and participates in the recombination of DNA. Axel gets his own laboratory, where he among other things identifies the regulatory sequences responsible for control of specific gene expression.

Richard Axel becomes University Professor of the Columbia University in 1999. He is in a relationship with Cori Bargmann, a behavioral geneticist and has two sons from his previous wife Ann Axel, Adam and Jonathan.

Since 1978 Richard Axel is Professor of Pathology and Biochemistry at Columbia University.

Richard Axel returns to Columbia, first working as an intern in Pathology and later joining the Department of Genetics at the University. Furthermore he begins a second postdoctoral fellowship at the National Institutes of Health working on DNA and chromatin structure.

Richard Axel shares the 2004 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine with Linda Buck for their discoveries of odorant receptors and the organization of the olfactory system.

Richard Axel enters Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine at Baltimore, where he graduated in 1970.

Richard Axel attends Stuyvesant High School in Manhattan, New York City. He works in cafes and nightspots during his High School time.