Brain Awareness Week is March 11-17! To celebrate, we've invited Dr. Jim Olson, Ph.D., from the Wright State University School of Medicine to come explore neuroscience with students on Tuesday, March 19 as our CJ STEMM Idol Speaker.
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 before moving on to the University of California at Berkeley to complete his doctorate in Biophysics. In his research at UC Berkeley, 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 on to the nearby 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 to head up their research laboratory. View Dr. Olson's page at med.wright.edu >
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. In addition to science and science education, Dr. Olson enjoys taking pictures and printing black and white photography (from film), playing guitar, and flying.
In 2010, Dr. Olson was presented the Science Educator Award by the Society for Neuroscience (SfN). The annual award "recognizes an outstanding neuroscientist who has made significant contributions in promoting public education and awareness about the field," and includes a $5,000 prize. According to an SfN press release, Dr. Olson worked to promote the inclusion of neuroscience topics into Science Olympiad competitions and into the curriculum for more than 5,000 middle schools and high schools across the U.S.