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Board of Directors
Board of Directors
Policy Fellows
Institutes & Affiliates
1130 K Street, Suite 280, Sacramento, CA, 95814-3965, (916) 492-0996
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James L. Sweeney (Council Chair)
Stanford University
Judith Swain (Council Vice Chair)
Physiowave, LLC
Lori Bettison-Varga
Natural History Museum
Dona Crawford
Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory
Jeff Dozier
UC Santa Barbara
Ziyad "Zee" Duron
Harvey Mudd College
Bryan Hannegan
Holy Cross Energy
Susan Hubbard
Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
Michael Kavanaugh
Geosyntec Consultants, Inc.
Regis Kelly
QB3 Institute
Charles Kolstad
Stanford University
Patrick Lee
Sempra Energy
Henry Lester
California Institute of Technology
Jane Long
Climate Strategist
Amber Mace
Judy C. Miner
California Community College
Michael Norman
San Diego Supercomputer Center
Rob Oglesby
Prasad Ram
Steven Schroeder
Linda Dairiki Shortliffe, MD
Stanford University
Dan Sperling
UC Davis
Joseph Walkush
Science Applications International Corporation
Yulun Wang
InTouch Health
Jessica Westbrook
Sandia National Laboratory
Steven Zornetzer
David W. Martin, MD

CCST Council Member
Henry A. Lester,PhD

Bren Professor, Division of Biology and Biological Engineering, California Institute of Technology

Henry A. Lester serves as Bren Professor of Biology and Biological Engineering at the California Institute of Technology.As an undergraduate at Harvard, Lester intended to pursue neuroscience as a career. Such a major did not yet exist; but he reasoned that a background in fundamental science would prepare him for neuroscience research. He studied chemistry and physics, then earned a PhD in biophysics from the Rockefeller University. After two years at the Pasteur Institute in Paris, he came to Caltech in 1973. His research interests have included ion channels, nicotine receptors, and nicotine dependence. While its harmful effects are well documented, nicotine may also have the ability to protect neurons from Parkinson’s disease and other neurodegenerative disorders. Dr. Lester is also studying this poorly-understood phenomenon.

Lester’s interests include psychiatric medication, and he served on the Advisory Council of the National Institute of Mental Health. He and his colleagues are now exploring whether the intracellular effects they have discovered for nicotine also apply to several other central nervous system drugs, such as the mechanism underlying the antidepressant effects of low-dose ketamine. He is therefore developing the field he calls “inside-out” neuropharmacology.

He has taken sabbaticals at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, at the Florey Neurosciences Institute in Melbourne, and more recently at the Janelia Research Campus of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. He continues his visiting appointment at Janelia.

Dr. Lester is also active in education. He designed and taught a required course that introduced Caltech freshman non-biology majors to recent advances in biology, biomedical science, and applied biology. Dr. Lester now co-teaches a course focusing on the general principles of the organization and function of nervous systems. Dr. Lester has also taught an online course, Drugs and the Brain on Coursera, which has issued roughly 6500 statements of completion to students from more than 75 countries. Dr. Lester has over 320 publications; has served on numerous editorial and grant review boards; has directed various projects and centers; has served as Chair of the Caltech faculty and as President of the Biophysical Society; and holds eight US patents. He was elected to the American Academy of Arts & Sciences and holds the K.S. Cole Award of the Biophysical Society.

Updated 2/11/16