Meet the Faculty
The multidisciplinary team of researchers and theorists are presented here in alphabetical order. The biomedical engineering team and support staff are on a separate page.
Kevin D. Beck Ph.D.
Kevin Beck, Ph.D. is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Neurology and Neurosciences at the New Jersey Medical School (NJMS) of the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (UMDNJ). He is also a Research Physiologist at the NeuroBehavioral Research Laboratory (NBRL) at the New Jersey Health Care System (NJHCS). His primary research interest focuses on the hormonal regulation of behavior with particular focus on learning, memory, and sensory reactivity. Currently, his lab is focused on understanding how ovarian hormones cause sex differences in behavior in response to stressor exposure, using stress-induced startle suppression as a model of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). He is also interested in exploring synthetic ovarian hormones influences on neuronal processing. Recent work has also expanded into understanding the underlying vulnerabilities associated with sex and temperament in acquiring and expressing avoidant behavior. Using active avoidance behavior as a model, identified sex and strain differences in the usage of signals in the environment has led the research to focus on individual differences in the processing of information between the prefrontal cortex and amygdala, as well as between the striatum and hippocampus, during the acquisition of avoidant behaviors. In addition to his primary research, Dr. Beck serves as the principal Investigator on multiple research studies for the Armament Research, Development and Engineering Center (ARDEC) at the Picatinny Arsenal in Morris County, NJ. These studies examine the behavioral and physiological effects of aversive stimuli on human subjects and animals.
Cynthia Bir, Ph.D.
Dr. Cynthia A. Bir is a Professor of the Department of Biomedical Engineering and Director of Research for Orthopaedic Surgery at Wayne State University. Her research interests include sports injury biomechanics, ballistic impacts, blast injury, and forensic biomechanics. She has studied the effects of blunt ballistic impacts to all regions of the body and is known world-wide for her work in this area. Dr. Bir's most recent research involves investigating mild Traumatic Brain Injury in a blast neurotrauma model.
James Kehoe, Ph.D.
Biographical sketch forthcoming.
Devin McAuley, Ph.D.
Devin McAuley, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor, in the Department of Psychology at Michigan State University, where he is also the Director of the Interdisciplinary Cognitive Science Program and a member of the Neuroscience Program. Dr. McAuley completed both his undergraduate and graduate education at Indiana University, receiving a B.A. in Computer Science and Mathematics in 1988, a M.S. in Computer Science in 1991, and a Ph.D. in Cognitive Science and Computer Science in 1995. He received additional post-doctoral training in Psychology at the University of Queensland (1995-1997) and at the Ohio State University (1997-1999). Prior to joining the Michigan State University faculty in 2009, Dr McAuley was on the faculty at Bowling Green State University (1999-2009) where he also served as Director of the J.P. Scott Center for Neuroscience, Mind and Behavior from 2005-2009. Dr. McAuley’s research interests include auditory perception, attention, and cognition, cross-modal processing, timing and temporal control of behavior, rhythm perception, and relationships between music and language processing. His work combines behavioral methods, mathematical modeling, and neuroimaging and has received funding from a variety of sources including the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation and the GRAMMY Foundation.
Daniel Miller, Ph.D.
Daniel Miller Ph.D. is Professor and Chair of the Department of Psychology and Program in Neuroscience at Carthage College in Kenosha, Wisconsin. Dr. Miller was a graduate student of Dr. Joseph Steinmetz at Indiana University from 1989-1994. While in the Steinmetz lab his research focused on the function of the hippocampus in rabbit eyeblink conditioning and the neural substrates of appetitive and aversive signaled leverpressing in rat. Currently his research interests involve the function of the amygdala in stress vulnerable rats using the signaled leverpress avoidance task. In collaboration with the faculty of the SMBI, Dr. Miller and his students are using selective lesion and temporary innactivation techniques to study how discreet areas of the amygdala contribute to facilitated avoidance learning in stress vulnerable rats compared to outbred controls. Dr. Miller and his students at the Carthage Neuroscience Laboratory regularly present at the annual meetings of the Society for Neuroscience and Pavlovian Society. When not doing research, Dr. Miller is a fan of all things two wheeled, spending time riding his bicycle and Harley Davidson motorcycle.
Tom Minor, Ph.D.
Thomas R. Minor, Ph.D. is a Professor in the Department of Psychology and the Brain Research Institute at the University of California, Los Angeles. Dr. Minor received his Ph.D. in Experimental Psychology in 1981 from the State University of New York at Stony Brook. He then spend two years as a Killian Postdoctoral Fellow in Psychology and Pharmacology at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, followed by two years as an National Institute of Mental Health Postdoctoral Fellow in Psychology and Biochemistry at the University of Colorado at Boulder. Dr. Minor joined the psychology faculty at UCLA in 1984, which remains his primary appointment today. Dr. Minor joined the SMBI in 2003. His research focuses on the psychobiology of anxiety and depression, stress, and stress resilience. This research includes extensive analyses of the role of brain adenosine signaling in mediating the transition between anxious and depressive states, mechanisms of helplessness, neuropeptide Y and stress resilience, avoidance learning, and aversive behavior. In addition to these primary research interests, Dr. Minor also contributes to research projects at the Targeted Behavioral Response Laboratory at the Picatinny Arsenal in New Jersey, and the Infantry Immersion Trainer at Camp Pendleton in California.
Roberta Moldow, Ph.D.
Biographical sketch forthcoming.
Catherine Myers, Ph.D.
Catherine Myers, Ph.D. is a Research Scientist affiliated with the Neurobehavioral Research Lab (NBRL) at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center-New Jersey Health Care System in East Orange, NJ. Her present academic affiliation is as a Professor in the Department of Psychology at Rutgers University-Newark. She is trained in computational neuroscience, including the development of systems-level models of the hippocampus other brain structures, as well as in human experimental psychology, including the development and use of behavioral tests of hippocampal function based on predictions of the computational models. These tests have been used to assess hippocampal-dependent function in individuals with hippocampal damage (e.g. amnesia) and also in individuals with milder degrees of hippocampal atrophy, such as occurs in prodromal Alzheimer's disease, in schizophrenia, and in anxiety-related disorders such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Dr. Myers currently has several ongoing projects at the NBRL in collaboration with the Dr. Richard Servatius, Dr. Kevin Beck and Dr. Kevin Pang, including an NIH/NSF grant to develop and test computational models of the brain substrates of PTSD, and a DoD-funded study that will attempt to screen active-duty military personnel for PTSD risk, and re-assess clinical status (including PTSD) 1-2 years later, to validate the screening tests.
Kevin Pang, Ph.D.
Kevin Pang, Ph.D. is a Professor in the Department of Neurology and Neurosciences at the New Jersey Medical School (NJMS) of the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (UMDNJ). He is also a Research Physiologist at the NeuroBehavioral Research Laboratory (NBRL) at the New Jersey Health Care System (NJHCS). Prior to joining the SMBI, he was a professor of Psychology at Bowling Green State University. Dr. Pang received his Ph.D. in Pharmacology in 1986 from the University of Colorado Medical Center. His education and experience includes a NIH post-doc research fellowship at John Hopkins University 1988 - 1990. Dr. Pang is the recipient of multiple grants including awards from the National Institutes and Health (NIH) and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). Dr. Pang's research interests include understanding the neurobiology of learning, memory and attention and the importance of these processes in mental health disorders and neurodegenerative diseases. Specific questions include how does abnormal learning and attention contribute to anxiety and anxiety vulnerability, what kinds of memory and attention are impaired (and spared) in individuals traumatic brain injury or aging, and what role do specific brain areas such as the basal forebrain, hippocampus and cortex play in disorders of learning, memory and attention.
Glenn Shwaery, Ph.D.
Dr. Shwaery is currently the Assistant Dean of Research at the University of New Hampshire in the College of Engineering and Physical Sciences. He is also a principal partner in Non-lethal Concepts, LLC, and ArgenTech Solutions, Inc, two private companies that provide expertise in security engineering and safety studies. He has extensive experience in the development, safety and effectiveness of non-lethal technologies. His experience and understanding of laboratory and field experimentation methodologies are crucial to developing protocols necessary to qualify materials and technologies for military, law enforcement, and related security applications. While serving as director of the Non-lethal Technology Innovation Center, funded by the Department of Defense from 2000-2007, Dr. Shwaery provided oversight of twenty three (23) Science & Technology projects and related activities with expenditures of $7.1M. These projects supported the research and development of materials science and directed energy projects that utilized high energy and low energy lasers, visible light modulation, micro- and macro-encapsulation techniques, thermal and electrical energy impulse effects on biological and non-biological materials, underwater plasma generation and the subsequent light and acoustic impulse propagation to name a few.
Kirsten VanMeenen, Ph.D.
Kirsten M. VanMeenen, Ph.D. is a Research Scientist with the Stress and Motivated Behavior Institute (SMBI) of the VA New Jersey Health Care System (VANJHCS) and New Jersey Medical School (NJMS). She received her Ph.D. in Human Development from the University of Maryland. Dr. VanMeenen's expertise is in the effects of stress and anxiety on behavioral and physiological functioning. She has served as Principal Investigator on Department of Defense (DoD) funded research projects at the Target Behavioral Response Laboratory (TRBL; Picatinny Arsenal) examining the effectiveness of non-lethal weapons, performance under realistic stress, and the physiological and psychological implications of training in military personnel. Dr. VanMeenen is also a Co-Investigator of a National Institute of Justice (NIJ) funded study examining the potential health effects of non-lethal human electromuscular interference devices (e.g., TASERS). In addition, Dr. VanMeenen's research interests include vulnerability to anxiety disorders. She has received funding from VANJHCS to examine physiological measures of avoidance conditioning in veterans in an attempt to elucidate risk factors of psychopathology.