I was recently awarded my Ph.D. in Neuroscience from the University of Michigan and received my B.S. in Electrical Engineering from Kettering University. My work bridges the gap between engineering and neuroscience, allowing me to go straight from meaningful questions to developing technology to answer them.
My family-tribe is ever-growing, and I am the proud uncle to two nieces and one nephew. My parents and siblings encompass an inspiring range of talent and expertise, from theatre to fashion, photography and travel, to meteorology and architecture.
In 2009 Michael J. Fox hosted a documentary called Adventures of an Incurable Optimist, traveling the world in the name of research, health, and happiness. In one episode he visited Bhutan, a Buddhist nation on the Himalayas’ eastern edge, where he described a sudden alleviation of his Parkinson’s disease symptoms.
Fox’s anecdote was of particular interest because my graduate research was focused on Parkinson’s disease, but it began me wondering. What are we doing at these extremes? Are we living or are we dying?
I am excited by the thought that extreme pressures from the environment can augment internal physiology for better or worse. Exploring this unique relationship is full of medical, scientific and technical challenges. Despite a rich understanding of how the body reacts to these situations, we know very little about the brain, especially in regard to electrical activity.
My past work leveraged in-vivo electrophysiology and optogenetics to investigate how distinct neural pathways contribute to motor function. My findings described how neural activity coalesces to enable ballistic movements precisely in time. In moving forward, I am extending this work to understand how other motor behaviors are accomplished in the wild. My aim is to develop innocuous implantable devices that record neural and peripheral physiology. Using these devices, I can begin to answer several questions related to how animals perform under the stress of extreme environments. These insights have profound implications for conservation efforts and translate into the fields of human performance and resilience.
Causes & ethos
I live by the words, wake up, be you, do good.
Fitness & Wellness. There is one intervention that unanimously works to address obesity, age-related cognitive and motor decline, stroke recovery, depression, [...the list continues]: move. I have served as a Health Ambassador to Project Healthy Schools for two years—teaching youth about food and lifestyle choices—and continue to seek opportunities to motivate people towards the best proven prevention and treatment strategy we have available.
Conservation & Limited Impact. There is nothing quite as important than preserving nature. This means that exploration has to be conducted with little impact to the environment (see Leave No Trace) and the undeclared value of the wild must be respected. I've contributed to Adventurers and Scientists for Conservation, and try to embody their adage, "Explore. Collect. Protect."
Code for Good. I believe doing good takes many forms. I like the idea that we can all help from anywhere, and that charity is maximized when we leverage our expertise. Over time, I’ve spent more effort answering questions on Quora, MATLAB forums, and contributing to my own weblog. You can always email me if you think I can help you.