Biophysicist Roberto Fernández Galán, Ph.D., who has studied and conducted research in both Europe and the United States, has been named an assistant professor in the Department of Neurosciences at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine. He will join the faculty in January of 2008.
"We are excited to have Roberto Fernández Galán join our faculty," said Dean Pamela Davis, M.D., Ph.D. "His area of research and his previous experience in collaborative works with other disciplines make him a welcome addition to the university and the School of Medicine. We are particularly eager to see him build bridges between our stellar departments of Neurosciences and Biomedical Engineering."
Galán most recently was a postdoctoral associate researcher at Carnegie Mellon University and the Center for Neural Basis of Cognition in Pittsburgh, Pa., where he had been since October 2003.
"I'm very excited about coming to Case Western Reserve University," said Galán. "The University is a very attractive place to do research."
His native main area of research interest combines theoretical and experimental approaches to neural dynamics and neural coding. His goal is to understand how complex activity patterns emerge in neural networks from the interactions between neurons. This "neuronal synchronization" is thought to play an important role in information processing by the brain, leading to oscillations – repeated fluctuations- better known as "brain waves."
"I'm hoping to expand the research lines of my new department in the direction of 'network/systems' and computational neuroscience," said Galán, whose doctoral thesis studied the olfactory system of the honeybee, finding that he was able to guess the odor smelt just by looking at the state of the insect's brain several minutes after it had smelt the odor.
His work with biology mathematics professor Bard Ermentrout and biology professor Nathan Urban to develop an experimental protocol concerning neural synchronization was chosen by Scientific America as one of 50 emerging trends in research, business and policy in 2005.
He has co-authored numerous works for journals and has been invited as a presenter and speaker at neuroscience conferences around the world.
A native of Madrid, Spain, Galán earned both his bachelor and master's degrees in physics from the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid in 1996 and 1999, respectively, and went on to obtain his Ph.D. in theoretical biophysics (computational neuroscience) at the Humboldt University Institute for Theoretical Biology in Berlin, Germany, in 2003.
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