I earned my PhD in the Department of Physiology and Biophysics at Harvard Medical School (Boston) and have since taught many subjects including Cell Biology and Microbiology at the University of Colorado, Calcium Signaling and Memory at SUNY Stony Brook, and many courses at Northeastern University since joining the faculty in 1997 [Anatomy and Physiology, Neurobiology, Biological Imaging, Neurobiology of Aging, Computational Neuroscience, Neuroregeneration, Descending Motor Control and Research Problem Solving]. I have involved many undergrads and high-school students in my research program and have published papers on neurotransmission, calcium imaging, brainstem and spinal motor systems, retinal and thalamic physiology and memory systems.
Telling jokes and using absurdist humor (e.g. super intelligent talking mice) is my preferred method to engage students and keep them on their toes. I employ the nuances of language and images/diagrams in equal measure to best engage student attention. My students are encouraged to draw figures and diagrams from memory when they study; these same images are used in class to ensure comprehension and retention. I relate topics to real world concerns and also focus on scientific literacy. For my advanced courses, we critically evaluate the scientific literature and try to crisply delineate the boundaries of our knowledge. I sometimes give away candy bars.
I received a 4-year ROTC scholarship and served 4 years active duty and 7 years in the US Army Reserve in the Chemical Corps. I received an NIH postdoc award and was an HHMI fellow at SUNY-SB. I've been funded as a principal investigator via NSF and NIH grants for my neural systems research and was a co-investigator on the NU Keck Microscope project. My work in EdTech was initially funded by the Massachusetts Technology Transfer Center and by NCIIA. In 2014, I completed the NASI course and was a National Academies Teaching Fellow.
My B.S. in Chemical Engineering was earned at Lehigh University in 1979. While in the US Army I completed the Chemical Officers Course, as well as the Radiation Safety Officers course and Medical Management of Chemical Casualties. I received a PhD in Physiology and Biophysics from Harvard University in 1989. In addition to attending many workshops at the annual SFN meetings, I completed the Neural Systems and Behavior course and the Analytical and Quantitative Light Microscopy course at the MBL Labs in Woods Hole. In recent years, I’ve been immersed in the EdTech space and have attended (and presented at) many LearnLaunch events, CampusTech2015 and the Mass STEM Summit the past 3 years.
My current research focuses on Synaptic Learning Theory and our Day-Long Memory Records (which work is available in poster form on the DMR page at zfhindbrain.com). Of special interest is the evolution of the neural systems underlying Biological Intelligence--in particular memory systems, language and problem solving. I am fascinated by our ability to effortlessly store a day’s worth of new memories in our neocortical networks. The means by which new Knowledge is stored and integrated into existing Knowledge Architectures in neocortex is a true mystery. This work influences the design and creation of the Digital Maze games offered at MazeFire.com, a STEM education company that I co-founded. By engaging our natural motivation to solve maze puzzles (and our 20 billion neocortical processors), MazeFire games helps students to discover knowledge gaps and transition from *remembering* facts to *knowing* them.