Richard Aldrich graduated with high distinction from the University of Arizona in 1975 with a bachelor's degree in biological sciences. He received his doctorate in neuroscience from Stanford University in 1980, after which he did postdoctoral work at Yale University in physiology. He joined the faculty at Yale in the Section of Molecular Neurobiology before returning to Stanford in 1985 as a faculty member in the Department of Neurobiology and subsequently the Department of Molecular and Cellular Physiology, where he served as department chair from 2001-2004. Dr. Aldrich was a member of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute from 1990 until moving to The University of Texas in 2006, serving initially as chair of neurobiology until 2011. He has served on the council and as president of the Society of General Physiologists, and is a Fellow and president (2011-2012) of the Biophysical Society. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences.