Bill Griesar, Ph.D.

  • Adjunct Instructor of Behavioral Neuroscience, School of Medicine

Biography

I am a Senior Instructor in Psychology at Portland State University, affiliate graduate faculty in Behavioral Neuroscience at OHSU, and co-founder and Neuroscience Coordinator for the nonprofit NW Noggin.

I LOVE teaching, and exploring how networks of linked neurons and glia underlie perception, cognition and behavior. My dissertation in Behavioral Neuroscience at OHSU examined nicotine effects on spatial attention, time perception, and boredom in non-smokers. I completed this research in Dr. Barry Oken's lab.

In addition to teaching at PSU, I supervise an OHSU graduate teaching practicum, and bring extra brains into K-12 classrooms, houseless youth centers, coffee shops, correctional facilities, art museums and pubs. I’m fascinated by the power of art to engage students in STEM fields, and my courses and outreach efforts involve art projects, and collaboration with artists and arts institutions.

Along with artist and educator Jeff Leake, I co-founded NW Noggin (Northwest Neuroscience Outreach Group:  Growing in Networks, www.nwnoggin.org), a robust, creative, entirely 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 to more than 45,000 academic priority students in Portland, Vancouver, San Diego, Chicago, rural Oregon, rural Washington and DC public schools!

We’ve arranged free cross-disciplinary public talks informing thousands of community members about research, and trained graduates to present their work to a lay audience.

In 2016, we presented brains in DC public schools, Congress, the Obama White House, and for Neuroscience Night at the Phillips Collection! We were recognized for innovation in outreach by the Obama White House for bringing together students from many institutions and disciplines, and connecting them to the broader community. We returned to the U.S. Capitol in 2017 to present at the Society for Neuroscience (SfN), run a mobbed “Art of Neuroscience” booth, teach 700+ K-12 students in DC area schools and bring more neuroscience and art to Congress! In 2018 we gave the keynote address on Brain Awareness at SfN in San Diego, and also brought our enthusiastic volunteers into San Diego public schools to talk research and make art. In 2019 we worked with over 500 students in Chicago, and presented at both SfN and the Society for Social Neuroscience. In 2020 we pioneered virtual pandemic outreach and presented two global webinars with SfN. LEARN MORE: Noggin @ SfN.

We partner with many local and national institutions, including Portland's p:ear houseless youth center, Portland Art Museum, Dana Foundation, ONPRC, OHSU Brain Institute, Regional Arts and Culture Council, Kúkátónón Children’s African Dance Troupe, Caldera Arts, Latino Network, BioGift, SfN, and the American Brain Coalition. We also organize the largest student-run free music, art and interdisciplinary neuroscience celebration in the Pacific Northwest:  NOGGINFEST!

Please check out nwnoggin.org and get involved!

Education

  • B.S., 1987, Neuroscience, Brown University
  • Ph.D., 2001, Behavioral Neuroscience, School of Medicine, OHSU

Honors and awards

  • John Elliot Allen Outstanding Teaching Award in Psychology (2020). Portland State University.
  • Juice Award (2018), Regional Arts & Culture Council (for nwnoggin.org)
  • John Elliot Allen Outstanding Teaching Award in Psychology (2017). Portland State University.
  • Faculty Community Partner of the Year Award (2016-17). To recognize outstanding support for the Neuroscience Club at PSU, and engagement with the broader community. Awarded by the Student Activities & Leadership Program (SALP) at PSU.
  • John Elliot Allen Outstanding Teaching Award in Speech & Hearing Sciences (2013). Portland State University.
  • John Elliot Allen Outstanding Teaching Award in Speech & Hearing Sciences (2010). Portland State University.
  • John Elliot Allen Outstanding Teaching Award in Speech & Hearing Sciences (2007). Portland State University.

Memberships and associations

  • Founder and Neuroscience Coordinator, nwnoggin.org
  • Board Member, NW Noggin (nwnoggin.org)
  • Member, Society for Neuroscience; Portland State University SfN Chapter representative
  • Member, American Brain Coalition

Publications

Selected publications

  • Griesar, Bill (2012 – present). Blog posts, lesson plans and pictures for NW Noggin, the arts-integrated neuroscience outreach nonprofit (EIN:  81-3885713) I co-founded with artist Jeff Leake. We’ve listened to and worked with over 45,000 academic priority K-12 kids and members of the public. https://nwnoggin.org/outreach-opportunities/ 
  • Griesar, W.S., Leake, J. (2017). Smell, Memory, and Place. Portland, OR: Portland Art Museum. Booklet for “Pitchering Oregon” exhibit; text by Griesar, illustrations by Leake. 
  • Griesar, W.S., Leake, J. (2016). Nature of Seeing (gallery installation). Washington DC:   Phillips Collection. Developed a NW Noggin “Nature of Seeing” gallery space, to describe   and explain the physiology of vision, as part of the “Seeing Nature” exhibit. Wrote text for a series of four large panels featuring brain images from the Allen Institute for Brain Science.  
  • Griesar, W.S., Leake, J. (2016), The Nature of Seeing: Explore connections between art and   your brain. Washington DC: Phillips Collection. A guide to help visitors explore paintings in the Allen Family Foundation Seeing Nature exhibit, and consider what’s happening in their own brains as they experience aspects of perception. 
  • Griesar, Bill (2015). Acknowledgement for editing assistance on paper. Ignacio Díaz-   Franulic, Romina V. Sepúlveda, Nieves Navarro-Quezada, Fernando González-Nilo, and David Naranjo (2015). Pore dimensions and the role of occupancy in unitary conductance of Shaker K channels. The Journal of General Physiology 146(2): 133. 
  • Griesar, Bill (2015). Acknowledgement for editing assistance on paper. Ignacio Díaz-   Franulic, Romina V. Sepúlveda, Nieves Navarro-Quezada, Fernando González-Nilo, and David Naranjo (2015). Pore dimensions and the role of occupancy in unitary conductance of Shaker K channels. The Journal of General Physiology 146(2): 133. 
  • Griesar, W.S., Zajdel, D.P. & Oken, B.S. (2002). Nicotine effects on alertness and spatial   attention in non-smokers. Nicotine & Tobacco Research, 4(2), 185-194.
  • Finn D.A., Patterson B., Douglass A.D., Mair J.J., Boehm S., Griesar W., Mitchell S.R.,   Washington S., Gionet S., Gallaher E.J. (1998). Genetic analysis of neuroactive steroid   sensitivity. Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, 22, 44A. 
  • Griesar, Bill (1992). The Underground Guide to University Study in Britain and Ireland.   Yarmouth, ME: The Intercultural Press. 

Publications

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