The neurotransmitter serotonin is an evolutionary ancient molecule that has remarkable modulatory effects in almost all central nervous system integrative functions, such as mood, anxiety, stress, aggression, feeding, cognition and sexual behavior. After giving a short outline of the serotonergic system (anatomy, receptors, transporter) the author's contributions over the last 40 years in the role of serotonin in depression, aggression, anxiety, stress and sexual behavior is outlined. Each area delineates the work performed on animal model development, drug discovery and development. Most of the research work described has started from an industrial perspective, aimed at developing animals models for psychiatric diseases and leading to putative new innovative psychotropic drugs, like in the cases of the SSRI fluvoxamine, the serenic eltoprazine and the anxiolytic flesinoxan. Later this research work mainly focused on developing translational animal models for psychiatric diseases and implicating them in the search for mechanisms involved in normal and diseased brains and finding new concepts for appropriate drugs.