CJ welcomed Professor Jim Olson, PhD, as March's guest speaker for the CJ STEMM Idol Speaker Series. In commemoration of "Brain Awareness Week," he shared his experiences as a professor and lab director of neuroscience, cell biology and physiology at Wright State School of Medicine and how lab research is translated into medical practice. Project Lead the Way biomedical students had the opportunity to examine brain specimens and learn first hand how the organ and spinal cord are constructed.
Dr. Olson graduated from Cornell University with a degree in Engineering Physics. While there he expanded his interest from physics to biology and spent some time working in a laboratory in the Chemistry Department. He then went to the University of California at Berkeley and completed his doctorate in Biophysics. In his research there, Dr. Olson studied the interaction of laser light with nerve cells in culture and performed some experiments using the billion electron volt heavy ion particle accelerator at Lawrence Berkeley Laboratories. He also taught physics in small group sessions and laboratories. He then moved to Stanford University School of Medicine for more research training in Neurochemistry and additional experience teaching in the medical cardiovascular course. Dr. Olson also developed and taught physics courses in the respiratory therapy program at a local community college.
Next, he took a faculty position at Tulane University in New Orleans where he began teaching medical neuroscience and continued his research on a variety of conditions that affect the brain. Finally, Dr. Olson moved to join the Department of Emergency Medicine at Wright State University in 1986 and head up their research laboratory. Dr. Olson's research has been funded by the National Institutes of Health, the American Heart Association, the Emergency Medicine Foundation, among others. He also participates in medical and graduate neuroscience courses and helps direct medical research projects for residents in the department's resident training program