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Mark Johnson, PhD
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William T. Newsome, PhD, is the Harman Family Provostial Professor of Neurobiology, Investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, and Director of the Neuroscience Institute at Stanford University. Dr. Newsome is also the co-chair of the NIH BRAIN Working Group, an initiative from President Obama seeking interdisciplinary solutions to unraveling the mysteries of the brain.
Dr. Newsome is a leading investigator in the fields of visual and cognitive neuroscience. He has made fundamental contributions to our understanding of the neural mechanisms underlying visual perception and simple forms of decision making. His research focuses on the neural mechanisms underlying visual perception, visually based decision making, and related issues in cognitive neuroscience. He seeks to understand how higher mammals acquire sensory information about the world, how that information is processed within the brain, and how behavioral responses to that information are organized. He has special interest in understanding the neural basis of motivation and reward, and their influence on decision-making. Dr. Newsome has recently found that the same parietal cells that integrate visual motion information for making decisions are also used when monkeys base their decision on reward probabilities. But his research group does not believe that the reward probabilities are actually calculated in the parietal cortex. Rather, other parts of the brain tell the parietal cells what to do, and Newsome is trying to identify those regions and the mechanism that is used to calculate the probabilities. He also is beginning to explore altruistic behavior. Economic and altruistic behaviors probably follow different circuitry in the brain, Newsome suggests. They all, however, must converge on the motor pathways in the brain for an action to occur.
Dr. Newsome has numerous honors including an Honorary Doctor of Science degree from the State University of New York, the Rank Prize in Optoelectronics, the Spencer Award for highly original contributions to research in neurobiology, the Distinguished Scientific Contribution Award of the American Psychological Association, the Dan David Prize of Tel Aviv University, the Karl Spencer Lashley Award of the American Philosophical Society, and the Champalimaud Vision Award. He has given numerous distinguished lectureships, including the 13th Annual Marr Lecture at the University of Cambridge, the Sherrington Centenary Lecturer at the University of Oxford, the Evnin Lecture at Princeton University, and more recently the Max Birnstiel Lecture at the Institute for Molecular Pathology in Vienna. Dr. Newsome is member of the National Academy of Sciences, and of the American Philosophical Society.
Dr. Newsome received a B.S. degree, summa cum laude, in physics from Stetson University and a Ph.D. in biology from the California Institute of Technology. Dr. Newsome served on the faculty of the Department of Neurobiology and Behavior at the State University of New York at Stony Brook before moving to Stanford in 1988.
Dr. Wei-Xing Shi is a Professor of Pharmaceutical and Basic Sciences at Loma Linda University Schools of Pharmacy and Medicine. He received his Ph.D. in Pharmacology from Yale University School of Medicine. After a postdoctoral fellowship at Colombia University College of Physicians and Surgeons in New York, he returned to Yale, first as an Assistant Professor and then as an Associate Professor. Dr. Shi joined Loma Linda University in 2007. He is a recipient of many awards including two times NARSAD Young Investigator Award, NIMH FIRST Award, and NARSAD Independent Investigator Award. Dr. Shi’s research interests are in the neurobiology and pharmacology of brain disorders, particularly disorders related to the central dopamine system including schizophrenia, Parkinson’s disease, and drug addiction.
Dr. Lee is an Assistant Professor of Neuropsychology in the School of Behavioral Health, Department of Psychology at Loma Linda University. She received her bachelor’s degree in Computer Science and Electrical Engineering from MIT and later went on to earn her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from the Graduate School of Psychology at Fuller Theological Seminary. She completed her internship in Geropsychology at the VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System in West Los Angeles, and a postdoctoral fellowship in the Neuropsychology of Aging and Dementia at the Easton Center for Alzheimer’s Disease Research at UCLA. Dr. Lee’s main areas of interest are in the study of cognitive aging and neurodegenerative disorders. She utilizes neuropsychological and neuroimaging methods to examine the associations between cognition, behavior, and neurobiological markers of brain structure. Using a technique known as tensor-based morphometry, her work has looked at neuroanatomical changes on magnetic resonance imaging associated with prodromal risk factors of Alzheimer’s disease, including cognitive function, neuropsychiatric symptoms, and genetic markers. She is also interested in studying the neuropsychological and neurobiological changes characteristic of other age-related disorders as well as healthy aging.
Dr. Wilson is an Associate Professor of Pediatrics and Physiology in the Center for Perinatal Biology at Loma Linda University. Trained as a neurophysiologist, he is interested in the neural control of breathing and understanding disorders of autonomic function. In the past decade his work has focused on apnea of prematurity and developmental changes in cardio-respiratory regions of the brainstem. Dr. Wilson earned his Ph.D. in Physiology at the University of California, Davis and then did post-doctoral work at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, MD. He then moved to Case Western Reserve University before moving to Loma Linda University. Dr. Wilson's laboratory makes extensive use of electrophysiology techniques (extracellular single-unit recording, whole cell patch-clamp, electrochemistry) and fluorescence imaging (calcium indicators, pH sensitive dyes, cell specific markers) to explore the dynamic relationship between cells that are physically active during breathing. His most recent work focuses on the interaction between the immune and nervous systems in modulating autonomic function.
Dr. Obenaus serves as the Director of the Non-Invasive Imaging Laboratory in the Radiation Biology Program at Loma Linda University. His laboratory is well known for its state-of-the-art equipment. His expertise is in the area of neuroimaging of disease, and the Noninvasive Imaging Laboratory has experience with a broad range of topics and models of disease including Alzheimer and neurorepair using stem cells. He has been involved in teaching Biomedical Imaging and Radiation Biology, and he has supervised a number of undergraduate and graduate students. He earned a Ph.D. in Neurophysiology from University of British Columbia, Vancouver in 1989. Currently he is an associate professor from the Department of Pediatrics and from the Department of Basic Sciences at Loma Linda University. Dr. Obenaus has long-standing interest in the pathophysiology of central nervous system disorders, including epilepsy, stroke and traumatic brain injury (TBI). One of his key interests is the use of non-invasive imaging and novel computational analysis approaches to understand tissue physiology in health and disease. Dr. Obenaus lab has rigorously explored the effects of TBI (mouse/rat/human). While the overarching goal has been to assess biomarkers of mild to moderate injury, one of the areas he has focused on is the unexplored but critical question of long-term white matter alterations in the brain following TBI.
Dr. Farida Sohrabji is a Professor and Associate Department Chair of Neuroscience and Experimental Therapeutics at the Texas A&M Health Science Center College of Medicine. She received her bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Bombay University, St. Xavier’s College, a master’s degree in Clinical Psychology from Bombay University and a joint doctoral degree in Neurobiology & Biopsychology from the University of Rochester, Rochester, NY. Her post-doctoral training was completed at Columbia University, New York. She joined the faculty of Texas A&M University in 1998. Dr. Sohrabji has an active research program in Neuroscience. She is interested in a critical issue in women's health and aging, specifically, in understanding how the decline of hormones at menopause affects brain function, and the impact of hormone replacement therapy on cognitive function in the aging female brain. Specifically, her lab studies the neural effects of estrogens on those regions of the brain that govern cognitive function in an animal model