Pictured (left to right): Kaplan, Hobson, Abel, Heerding, Schmidt, Zach
|BBB Directors:||Abel, Ted||Schmidt, Marc|
|BBB Associate Director:||Heerding, Jennifer|
|BBB Program Coordinator:||Hobson, Maxine|
| McLean, Judith|
|BBB Minor |
Health Care Management
Originally from the Philadelphia area, Dr. Abel was an undergraduate at Swarthmore College, receiving a B.A. in Chemistry. He then attended the University of Cambridge (Christ’s College) as a Marshall Scholar, receiving an M. Phil. in Biochemistry working with Nobel laureate Dr. R. Tim Hunt. Dr. Abel then moved to Harvard University to work with Dr. Tom Maniatis on transcriptional regulation during Drosophila development as a National Science Foundation graduate fellow. After receiving his Ph.D., Dr. Abel moved to Columbia University to do his postdoctoral work with Nobel laureate Dr. Eric Kandel. Dr. Abel’s postdoctoral work focused on genetic approaches to study synaptic plasticity and memory storage. Dr. Ted Abel is currently the Brush Family Professor of Biology where his lab focuses on the transcriptional and epigenetic regulation in memory storage, sleep/wake regulation and mouse models of psychiatric disease. Dr. Abel has received numerous scientific awards including a Packard Foundation Fellowship in Science and Engineering. Dr. Abel is the Director of the NIMH Predoctoral Training Program in Behavioral and Cognitive Neuroscience, and he is an Associate Editor of the journal Behavioral Neuroscience.
Dr. Abel’s accomplishments in undergraduate teaching, research and advising were recognized in 2001 and 2005 when he was named BBB Society Professor of the Year. Dr. Abel also received the Dean's Award for Mentorship of Undergraduate Research in 2006. In addition to his duties as Director of the BBB Program, he teaches Cellular and Molecular Neurobiology (BBB251), Neurobiology of Learning and Memory (BBB442) and Advanced Topics in Behavioral Genetics (BBB488).
Raised in Belgium, Dr. Schmidt attended Swarthmore College where he majored in Biology and was a member of a national championship winning tennis team. Dr. Schmidt received his PhD in Colorado where he studied the developing nervous system and spinal cord regeneration. He then did his postdoctoral work at Caltech with Dr. Mazakazu Konishi studying the neural bases of vocal production and perception in songbirds. Dr. Schmidt is an associate professor in the Biology department where he continues his studies on neural aspects of vocal production and learning with a special interest in how social context shapes brain circuitry. Dr. Schmidt has received several scientific awards including a Basil O' Connor Award from the March of Dimes Foundation and an Alfred P. Sloan Fellowship award. He teaches Cellular and Molecular Neurobiology (BBB251), Neural Systems and Behavior (BBB479), Advanced Systems Neuroscience (NGG 598) and the program's Honors seminar (BBB499).
Dr. Jennifer Heerding has been associated with Penn for over 10 years, as a graduate student, a postdoctoral fellow and most recently the Associate Director for BBB. She is a native of California, with degrees in chemistry from both U.C. Davis and U.C. Berkeley. She earned her Ph.D. in Pharmacology at Penn in the laboratory of Dr. Steven Fluharty, investigating ligand binding to G protein coupled receptors. She teaches Autonomic Physiology (BBB 269) and Behavioral Pharmacology (BBB 481), using her Rhodesian Ridgeback (“Bob”) as a topic of numerous hypothetical medical conditions and situations. Bob is amazingly resilient, having survived acute hypertension, hyponatremia and various types of pituitary tumors. Dr. Heerding has been named a “Hall of Fame” instructor by Penn Course Reviews and has twice been chosen as the recipient of the BBB Society Teaching Award. Dr. Heerding has also been awarded the Dean’s Award for Distinguished Teaching by Affiliated Faculty in 2011.
Dr. Mike Kaplan has been associated with Penn for almost 20 years, as a graduate student, a postdoctoral fellow, and most recently a lecturer and lab instructor for the BBB program. Born and raised in Philadelphia, he graduated from Wesleyan University with degrees in biochemistry and philosophy, then sojourned in New York City to dabble in the music business, where he wrote non-hit songs with titles like “Brain in a Jar”. Perhaps unsurprisingly, he ended up back in science. His research here at Penn has focused on synaptic plasticity, both short-term (with Dr. Marc Dichter in the medical school) and long-term (with BBB director Dr. Ted Abel). He teaches Cellular Neurobiology (BBB251) in the fall and Experimental Methods in Synaptic Physiology (BBB492) in the spring, runs the labs for BBB251 and BBB109 (Introduction to Brain and Behavior), and is the Master of Ceremonies and head zookeeper at the Neurolab, an undergraduate teaching lab for electrophysiology and computer simulations. This spring, Mike will finally debut his course on music and the brain, as a freshman seminar (BBB060). Dr. Kaplan received the Dean’s Award for Distinguished Teaching by Affiliated Faculty in 2009.
Born and raised in the Philadelphia area, Dr. Kane received his undergraduate degree in psychology at Penn State University. For the next several years, he worked as a research assistant in the neuroimaging lab of Dr. Bradley Peterson, first at Yale University, then at Columbia University. Dr. Kane went on to UCLA (“The West is the Best” as fellow Bruin Jim Morrison proclaimed) where he completed his Ph.D. in neuroscience in the fields of neurogenetics and neurodevelopment under the guidance of Dr. Joanna Jen. He then completed a post-doctoral fellowship in molecular neurobiology at the Bay Pines Veterans Affairs Medical Center in St. Petersburg, FL under the direction of Dr. Bruce Citron. He went on to complete a second post-doctoral fellowship in Molecular Neurochemistry at the Wayne State School of Medicine under the direction of Dr. Donald Kuhn. In 2012, Dr. Kane returned to the Philadelphia area and served as an adjunct faculty member at both Temple University and Penn State Abington. Prior to arriving at Penn in July of 2015, Dr. Kane was a Science Writer at Thomas Jefferson University. Dr. Kane teaches BBB109 and BBB270.
Dr. Judith McLean has been associated with Penn for 35 years, as an undergraduate BBB major, a graduate student, a senior research investigator, and as a lecturer and lab instructor for the BBB program, the School of Veterinary Medicine and the School of Medicine. Dr. McLean was born in Northern Ireland but spent most of her youth in a Philadelphia suburb and entered Penn to become a BBB major in the second year of the program. She received her PhD in Anatomy at Penn in the laboratory of Dr. Larry Palmer, investigating the contribution of linear mechanisms to the velocity selectivity of simple cells in primary visual cortex. After completing a post-doctoral fellowship with Dr. Barry Waterhouse at Hahnemann University, where she investigated how norepinephrine could modulate neuronal responses to moving visual stimuli, she returned to Penn and has studied plasticity in the adult primary visual cortex (with Dr. Larry Palmer), efficiency of information transmission by retinal ganglion cells (with Dr. Peter Sterling), and most recently the neural circuits involved with breathing and vocal control in the songbird (with Dr. Marc Schmidt). She teaches Introduction to Brain and Behavior (BBB109), Visual Neuroscience (BBB217), Neuroethology (BBB233), and Laboratory in the Structure of the Nervous System (BBB310).
Ms. Maxine Hobson is Program Coordinator for The Biological Basis of Behavior major. She began her career at Penn in 1999 working in Wharton Entrepreneur Programs at the Wharton School. Since then, she has held positions in Multicultural Recruitment in the Undergraduate Admissions Office, working with incoming high school freshmen, as well as Practice & Community Affairs, engaging in community outreach for the School of Nursing, before settling in the Biological Basis of Behavior Program. Miss Hobson is responsible for the day-to-day operations of the program providing academic advising and coordination of major programs, the Annual Research Symposium, Kids Judge! Neuroscience Fair as well as the BBB Graduation Reception. Off-campus, Miss Hobson is an active member of her church in South West Philadelphia where she serves as the Department Head of Victorious Parents under PRAY Youth Ministries. She is also an active member of the Voice Mass Choir.
Dr. Balasubramanian grew up in India and Indonesia and attended high school at the Jakarta International School . He holds a Bachelor and Master’s degree in Physics and Computer Science from M.I.T and received his Ph.D. in Theoretical Physics from Princeton University. He then went on to be a Junior Fellow of the Harvard Society of Fellows  and a Fellow-at-Large of the Santa Fe Institute . He is currently the Merriam Term Associate Professor of Physics  at the University of Pennsylvania . Dr. Balasubramanian divides his time working in particle physics, focusing on basic questions concerning the nature of space and time, and neuroscience, where he is interested in the way information is produced, processed and transmitted in the nervous system. He teaches the capstone course for the Computational Neuroscience Minor (BBB 594: Theoretical and Computational Neuroscience). He received the Ira H. Abrams Memorial Award for Distinguished Teaching in 2006.
Dr. Medina was born in Madrid, but moved at the age of three to sunny Malaga in the heart of the Costa del Sol, where he grew up. After high-school stints in Bath (England) and Montana (USA), he went to Drexel University in Philadelphia for undergraduate studies, majoring in Physics and Computer Science. His PhD work with Dr. Michael Mauk at The University of Texas in Houston, and his post-doctoral work with Dr. Stephen Lisberger at The University of California in San Francisco, have a common thread that continues to drive his research program today: to understand how the brain learns to control our movements. Currently, Dr. Medina is an assistant professor in the Psychology Department at The University of Pennsylvania, where he is investigating the neural mechanisms underlying motor learning using a combination of tools including computational neuroscience, genetics, pharmacology and in vivo neurophysiology. He teaches Introduction to Brain and Behavior (BBB 109), and Neural Systems and Behavior (BBB 479). He was the recipient of the BBB Society’s Teaching award in 2011.
June Kinney has been associated with Penn for many years starting as a doctoral student in City Planning, a Research Associate at Leonard Davis Institute, and Lecturer in Urban Studies. After spending four years in New Jersey State Government working on a federal demonstration of the DRG reimbursement system subsequently adopted by Medicare, she returned to Penn as Associate Director of the MBA Program in Health Care Management and Advisor to the Wharton Undergraduate Concentration in Health Care Management and Policy.