Primary and Adjunct Faculty

Primary Faculty

Dr. Abel use a combined approach of molecular genetics, electrophysiology and quantitative behaviroal analysis to study the neural basis of learning and memory and its relation to sleep and various neuropsychiatric disorders. He is a faculty member in the department of Biology and co-director of the BBB program. He teaches BBB251 (Cellular and Molecular Neurobiology) and BBB442(Neurobiology of Learning and Memory).

Learn More

Dr. Balasubramanian use a combination of experimental and computational approaches to study how the retina encodes information about the visual world. He is a faculty member in the Physics department and serves as adviser for the newly established BBB minor in computational neuroscience. He teaches BBB585 (Theoretical and Computational Neuroscience).

Learn More

Dr. Brainard is interested in human vision and machine vision. He uses psychophysical and computational methods to study the general problem of how color appearance helps in perceiving object texture and identity. He is a faculty member in the department of Psychology and teaches PSYCH107 (Introduction to Cognitive Science).

Learn More

Dr. Cheney's research focuses on the communication and social behavior of non-human primates with much of her work being conducted on free-ranging baboons in the Okavango Delta, Botswana. She is a faculty member in the department of Biology and teaches BBB231 (Animal Behavior) and BBB432 (Animal Communication).

Learn More

Dr. Dinges studies the physiological, cognitive and functional changes resulting from sleep loss in humans, focusing on how sleep homeostasis and circadian rhythmicity control cognitive, affective, behavioral, endocrine and immunological processes. He is a faculty member in the Department of Psychiatry and teaches BBB240 (Human Chronobiology and Sleep).

Learn More

Dr. Doty studies the chemical senses (olfaction and taste) from both basic and clinical perspectives. Clinically, he is interested in the changes that occur in olfactory function in Parkinson's  and Alzheimer's Diseases since early stages of these disorders are associated  with major loss of smell function. He is a faculty member in the department of Otorhinolaryngology and director of the Smell & Taste Center. He teaches BBB020 (Lateralization of Sensation and Emotion).

Learn More

Dr. Epstein uses a combination of functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and behavioral methods to investigate how the human brain represents scenes, places, objects. He is a faculty member in the department of Psychology and teaches BBB249 (Cognitive Neuroscience).

Learn More

Dr. Farah is cognitive neuroscientist who works on problems at the interface of neuroscience and society.  These include the effects of childhood poverty on brain development, the expanding use of neuropsychiatric medications by healthy people for brain enhancement, novel uses of brain imaging in legal, diagnostic and educational contexts and the many ways in which neuroscience changes the way we think of ourselves as physical, mental, moral and spiritual beings. She is a faculty member in the department of Psychology and is the Director of the Center for Neuroscience & Society. She teaches BBB247 (Neuroscience and Society).

Learn More

Dr. Flanagan-Cato studies the neural circuits and receptor signaling mechanisms that underlie hormone-driven behaviors, such as water and sodium ingestion and reproductive behaviors.  She is faculty member in the Department of Psychology and teaches BBB109 (Intro to Brain and Behavior), BBB260 (Neuroendocrinology) and BB4260 (Neuroendocrinology Seminar).

Learn More

Dr. Grill's work focuses on the neural bases of obesity and anorexia by studying the neural circuits and neurochemical systems that control food intake and energy expenditure. He is a faculty member in the department of Psychology and teaches BBB227 (Physiology of Motivated Behavior).

Learn More

Dr. Kable's work aims at understanding how people make decisions, and in tracing out the underlying psychological and neural mechanisms of choice using an interdisciplinary approach that involves drawing on methods and ideas from social and cognitive neuroscience, experimental economics and personality psychology. He is a faculty member in the Department of Psychology and teaches BBB473 (Neuroeconomics).

Learn More

Dr. Kahana's work focuses on neurocomputational mechanisms of human episodic and spatial memory in humans. His laboratory uses mathematical modeling and computational techniques to study human memory applying these quantitative methods both to data from laboratory studies of human memory and from electrophysiological studies done on patients with implanted electrodes. He is a faculty member in the Department of Psychology and teaches BBB259 (Human Memory).

Learn More

Dr. Medina's laboratory studies the neural mechanisms that underlie motor learning using a combination of approaches that include quantitative behavioral analysis, neurophysiology and computational neuroscience. The goal of his research is to understand the link between neural activity, long-term plasticity and motor learning in genetically modifed mice. He is a faculty member in the Department of Psychology and teaches BBB109 (Introduction to Brain and Behavior) and BBB479 (Neural Systems & Behavior).

Learn More

Dr. Muzzio studies how explicit memories, such as memories of space, are stored and retrieved in the hippocampus. To approach this problem, her laboratory combines chronic recordings in freely moving mice with behavioral, genetic and pharmacological tools to determine the biophysical and molecular changes associated with memory consolidation.  She is a faculty member in the Department of Psychology and teaches BBB109 (Introduction to Brain and Behavior) and BIOL442 (Neurobiology of Learning and Memory).

Learn More

Dr. Price's research is focused on the genetics of complex traits, primarily obesity and related diseases, including type-2 diabetes and the metabolic syndrome.He is a faculty member in the Department of Psychiatry and teaches BBB451 (Behavioral Genetics).

Learn More

Dr. Rust is interested in understanding the visual processing that happens at the nexus of visual perception and cognition. Her work is focused on understanding the sequence of neural events that allows the visual system to extract information about the content of the world (i.e. specific objects) from the light patterns encoded by the eye and what role memory plays in this process.  She is a faculty member in the Department of Psychology and teaches BBB217 (Visual Neuroscience).

Learn More

Dr. Schmidt studies the neural basis of vocal communication in songbirds using an approach that combines electrophysiology, reversible inactivation of select brain regions and quantitative behavioral analysis. Some of his work, in collaboration with David White, also examines the neural basis of sociality.  He is a faculty member of the Department of Biology and co-director of the BBB program. He teaches BBB251 (Cellular and Molecular Neurobiology) and BBB476 (Neural Systems & Behavior).

Learn More

Dr. Seyfarth's research focuses on the communication and social behavior of non-human primates with much of his work being conducted on free-ranging baboons in the Okavango Delta, Botswana. He is a faculty in the Department of Psychology and teaches BBB231 (Animal Behavior) and BBB431 (Animal Cognition).

Learn More

Dr. Stocker's work is aimed at understanding how our visual percept of the world is shaped by our beliefs and expectations about what there is to be perceived. Using both theory and experiments, research in his laboratory explores how the statistical properties of our visual environment shape our expectations (i.e. objective expectations), and how our expectations reflect our own previous perceptual decisions (i.e. subjective expectations). He is a faculty member in the Department of Psychology and teaches PSYC111 (Perception).

Learn More

Dr. Thompson-Schill  is interested in the neural bases of memory and language in humans. Research in her lab mainly focuses on the investigation of semantic memory, the memory for knowledge about objects, facts, concepts, and words and their meanings. Her work employs cutting edge behaviroal and fMRI techniques to study the role of the frontal lobes in the semantic retrieval of information. She is a faculty member in the Department of Psychology and teaches BBB249 (Cognitive Neuroscience).

Learn More

Adjunct Faculty

Dr. Heerding was trained as a neuropharmacologist working on ligand binding domain of receptors involved in the neural control of body fluid homeostatsis. She is Associate Director of the BBB program and teaches BBB269 (Autonomic Physiology) and BBB481 (Behavioral Pharmacology).

Dr. Kaplan was trained as a synaptic physiologist working on mechanisms of synaptic facilitation and depression. He is a lecturer for the BBB program and is a recipient of the Dean's award for Distinguished Teaching. He teaches BBB251 (Cellular and Molecular Neurobiology) and BBB492 (Experimental Methods in Synaptic Physiology). He is also the coordinator for the laboratory sections of BBB109 (Introduction to Brain and Behavior).

Dr. Lexow currently teaches BBB 475 Cellular and Molecular Mechanisms of Neurodegenerative Disease, BBB 480 Biological Basis of Psychiatric Disorders, and BBB 482 Clinical Psychopharmacology.  In the past, she has taught a variety of courses including  BBB 270 Drugs, Brain, and Mind and BBB 229 Cellular Neuroscience at Penn and as a visiting professor at the University of the Sciences she taught biomedical statistics and medical writing.  Her doctoral work in neuroscience and pharmacology was completed at the University of Pennsylvania under the guidance of Dr. Andrew Winokur and Dr. James Eberwine and post doctoral work was conducted with Dr Hank Kung, also at Penn. Additionally, Dr. Lexow has 15 years clinical research experience in the pharmaceutical and biotech industries.

Dr. McGurk was trained as a developmental neurobiologist and neurophysiologist, studying the molecular mechanisms of synapse development. She teaches Intro to Brain and Behavior (BBB109) and Developmental Neurobiology (BBB350).  Dr. McGurk is an Associate Director at the Center for Teaching and Learning, where she supports STEM teaching at the university.

Learn More

Dr. McLean was trained as a neurophysiologist working in the visual system. Currently she is working on the mechanisms involved in the integration of breathing and vocalization in the bird song system in the laboratory of Dr. Marc Schmidt. She is a lecturer for the BBB program and teaches BBB 109 (Introduction to Brain and Behavior) and BBB217 (Visual Neuroscience).

Dr. Nelson was trained as a behavioral neuroscientist investigating the role of dopamine in motivation and reward.  She is a lecturer for the BBB program and teaches Introduction to Brain and Behavior (BBB109), Cognitive Neuroscience (BBB249), and Drugs, Brain and Mind (BBB270). She is also the coordinator for the program’s Independent Research (BBB399) and Honors Seminar (BBB499).

Learn More

Dr. Newberg is considered a pioneer in the neuroscientific study of religious and spiritual experiences, a field frequently referred to as neurotheology and is interested in understanding the relationship between the brain, religion, and health. His research has included brain scans of people in prayer, meditation, rituals, and various trance states. He is a faculty member in the Department of Integrative Medicine and Jefferson Medical School. He teaches BBB421 (Functional Imaging of the Human Brain).

Dr. Ulm was trained as an Experimental Psychologist with a concentration in the areas of Learning and Motivation.  He is a Professor Emeritus from Salisbury University and has taught Behavioral Medicine at UPenn for 20 years.  In addition to sabbaticals with Dr. Martin Seligman and the late Dr. Richard Solomon at Upenn, he completed a full year post doctoral fellowship with the Treatment Research Unit under Dr. Charles O’Brien.   He continued research into the biopsychosocial aspects of substance abuse with Dr. Joseph Volpicelli with whom he has numerous publications which led to the use of naltrexone for alcohol addiction.  He teaches BBB410 (Behavioral Medicine: Experimental and Animal Models).