Neurobiology of Superpowers
Systems Neuroscience and Dynamic Control Course, Instructor
Biomedical Engineering and Mechanics, Virginia Tech, Fall 2018
A lecture and discussion-style course of my own creation. This course was an applied systems neuroscience, with extensive focus on comparative biology and biomechanics. Comic book and mythical super powers are used as motivation to:
1) compare physiology, nervous systems, and behavior across Animalia
2) survey current technological developments that may help modify human physiology and nervous systems.
Students learned the nervous system roles and locomotor system components required to achieve a particular behavior with a given body form. Weekly assignments required researching current bioengineering and neuroengineering methods and techniques. This research was applied to science communication practices, where students contributed to the course blog, with the aim of communicating to readers with a high school science education.
At the end of the course students were able to:
- Compare physiology and nervous systems of a singular behavior between species
- Research behavioral functions across organisms, to aide in bioinspired design
- Describe basic control/nervous system demands for a given behavioral function and physical form
- Understand population and timing encoding in nervous systems, and examples of both
- Identify limitations of control, based on constraints of nervous and physical systems
- Research current bioengineering developments for specific applications.
Introduction to Systems and Behavioral Neurobiology
Lecture & Lab, Graduate Teaching Assistant
Neurobiology and Behavior, University of Washington, Spring 2010.
This course introduced neuroethology, the mechanisms by which nervous systems produce perceptions and behaviors. Teaching assistant responsibilities involved teaching two laboratory sections, hosting office hours, grading lab reports, practicals and course exams.
Although the course syllabus and lab assignments were set by the course administrator and professor, I wrote short problem sets, augmented weekly rubrics to improve retention of scientific writing methods, and fixed an artifact in a recording program, which required modification of related course assignment. I also assembled a guide for students explaining sections of science papers (abstract, materials & methods, etc.) for students to use as a resource when writing for the class and beyond.
Lecture & Lab, Undergraduate Teaching Assistant
Biological Sciences, Cornell University, Fall 2006.
This lecture and lab course covered the evolution, ecology, behavior and physiology of amphibians and reptiles (herpetofauna). Undergraduate teaching assistant roles involved assisting with labs and lab practicals and some exam grading.
During this TA appointment, I developed my use of the Socratic method. When students needed assistance, I would help guide them to the answer through a series of logic-based questions. I have since found this practice to be an excellent way to help students practice the logical deductions that are universally applied in research.
Foundations of Engineering
Engineering Education, Virginia Tech, November 2018.
“A first-year sequence to introduce general engineering students to the profession, including data collection and analysis, engineering, problem-solving, mathematical modeling, design, contemporary software tools, professional practices and expectations (e.g. communication, teamwork, ethics), and the diversity of fields and majors within engineering.”
My lecture described the application of engineering techniques in biology. I specifically highlighted how modern biological research investigations mandate applied engineering; from tracking software required to quantify locomotive behavior patters to biomimetic robotics, and from electronic devices to record and amplify signals from neural tissue to virtual reality used to explore behavioral control.