Turner was born in Seattle, Washington, and attended public schools
in that city. He then attended Stanford University, where he majored
in Biology. He returned to Seattle to attend the University of Washington
in the NIH-sponsored Medical Scientist Training Program, where his doctoral
advisor was Dr. Bennett Shapiro, and he was awarded an MD degree in
1986 and a PhD in Biochemistry in 1987. In his dissertation work Dr.
Turner studied fertilization and early development in marine invertebrates.
Following completion of his residency in Psychiatry, Dr. Turner entered
postdoctoral training at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, UC San
Diego, where he was an HHMI Physician Fellow, a NARSAD Young Investigator,
and the recipient of a Pfizer New Faculty Award. During his postdoctoral
training, he began investigations of the role of POU-domain transcription
factors in brain development, which remain a focus of his research.
He joined the faculty of the Department of Psychiatry, UC San Diego,
in 1994, where he maintains both a research program in developmental
neurobiology, and a clinical practice as Staff Psychiatrist of the San
Diego Veterans Healthcare System.