I firmly believe that success derives from commitment, curiosity, ethics, and a strong foundation. Ashland provided the solid foundation and ethics that have allowed me to prosper as a scientist and educator. Particularly important in that regard is the well-known philosophy of the institution to place “accent on the individual”. I chose Ashland because of that philosophy and am convinced that the subsequent growth and success of the university is directly related to its unwavering belief in the importance of that educational approach.
I attended Ashland from 1968 through 1972 as a science major. I took essentially every science course that was offered and, through interactions with my professors, discovered a fascination with the scientific process. Convinced that my future lay somewhere in the scientific enterprise I sought further experience through graduate study, successfully pursuing Masters and Doctoral degrees at Wright State and Wayne State Universities, respectively. Subsequently I embarked upon a career in research in both academic and industrial settings.
My research program is devoted to increasing understanding of the identity, organization, and function of neural systems that control behavioral state (sleep-wake cycles) and autonomic function. I am particularly interested in how neural systems that govern emotion influence the activity of each of those systems and how stress can compromise function in disorders of the nervous system such as posttraumatic stress disorder. Toward that end my laboratory has contributed to the development of technology using viruses to define neural circuit organization. Currently I am Co-Director of an NIH supported national center whose mission is to develop this technology and make it available to other neuroscientists who would like to use it in their research. Viral transneuronal tracing technology is integral to the research conducted in my laboratory.