Graduate Studies Faculty

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Bill Griesar, Ph.D.

Instructor, Psychology, Portland State University
Instructor, Psychology & Neuroscience, WSU-Vancouver
Affiliate Graduate Faculty, Behavioral Neuroscience, OHSU
Admin Unit: -- None --
Phone: (503) 914-7487
Behavioral Neuroscience
Research Interests:
Preceptor Rotations
Dr. Griesar has not indicated availability for preceptor rotations at this time.
Faculty Mentorship
Dr. Griesar has not indicated availability as a mentor at this time.

I love teaching, and explaining how networks of linked neurons carry out complex behavior.  My dissertation in Behavioral Neuroscience at OHSU examined nicotine effects on spatial attention, time perception, and boredom in non-smokers. Some earlier (pre-2001) studies of nicotine reported cognitive improvements, but assessed changes in habitual smokers, where results may have been linked to relief from withdrawal.  I completed this research in Dr. Barry Oken's lab. 

In addition to teaching in Psychology at PSU, I supervise an OHSU graduate teaching practicum (BEHN 650), and routinely bring brains (rat, monkey, human) into K-12 classrooms in area public schools.  I’m fascinated by the power of art to engage students in STEM fields, and several of my courses (and outreach efforts) involve art projects, and collaboration with artists and arts institutions.  I also offer the chance for graduate students in psychology and neuroscience to partner with artists and jointly present lectures and events at Velo Cult, a bike shop/pub in NE Portland.

Along with Portland artist and educator Jeff Leake, I co-founded NW Noggin (Northwest Neuroscience Outreach Group:  Growing in Networks,, a robust, creative, and largely volunteer driven non-profit (EIN:  81-3885713) that brings scientists, artists and students of all ages together to share their expertise, enthuse young people about science and art, share educational resources, and inform and excite the public about ongoing, taxpayer supported psychology and neuroscience research.

Since 2012, we've offered graduates and undergraduates opportunities to communicate science through the arts to more than 12,000 academic priority students in Portland, Vancouver, San Diego and DC public schools!  We’ve arranged free cross-disciplinary talks at Portland’s Velo Cult, informing thousands of community members about research, and training graduates to present their work to a lay audience. 

In spring of 2016, we were invited to bring 26 outreach volunteers to Washington DC to present brains in public schools, Congress, the White House, and the Phillips Collection!  In October of 2016, we were recognized for our innovative outreach model by the Obama White House  –  for bringing together students from multiple institutions, and multiple academic disciplines, connecting them directly with the broader community.

We also partner with many local and national institutions, including Portland’s P:ear homeless youth center, the Portland Art Museum, the Oregon National Primate Research Center, the OHSU Brain Institute, the Regional Arts and Culture Council, Caldera Arts, BioGift, the Society for Neuroscience, and the American Brain Coalition.

Please join us in outreach!  Visit us at