Teaching & Technology

Developing methodology and technology to enable learning

Intro to Neuroanatomy

This one-week intensive class provides an introduction to mammalian neuroanatomy. Teaching is through lectures (the introductory lecture focusing on structure, and the concluding lecture focusing on function), and through hands-on lab experience. The course covers human neuroanatomy which consists of a human brain demonstration dissection, plus a sheep brain dissection lab designed to ground the undergraduate/graduate students/postdocs in the basics of the three dimensionality of the brain. There is also an introduction to the different imaging modalities. The class is targeted to med  students, engineers, scientists (life, physical and computer) and business students. This is a class that I have been teaching for 10 years at MIT.


Neurotechnology Ventures

This is a class I co-developed and co-teach at MIT (via Skype, live conferencing, or in-person) each year that addresses the fundamentals of technology and the commercialization process. It is a seminar and project-oriented course on the challenges of envisioning, planning, and building startups to bring neurotechnology innovations to the world.

    It brings together people from many different disciplines and puts them together in a project-oriented class where the final project, in some cases, results in a company that develops and commercializes a new technology.

    No more than two engineers, two med students, two business students, and two scientists are put together on the teams. We, the professors, do not select what the students want to do; they decide based on presentations of ideas and science that have resulted in a new technology; or is an idea that will produce a new piece of technology. This class is centered on anything that has a component of 'neuro' in it.

    The results are numerous patents and patent applications in the past five years and some groups have gone on to win the MIT 100k competition and started viable companies. Not everyone is interested in taking their work to this end however; we provide the avenue for each to take the work to the conclusion they desire. This entire process is built on trust, which is not always easy for the international students. Also, not all of the team members are students; some are professors and others are from other institutions that want to be a part of the class.

    The class also provides a common language for communication, since neuroscience, as well as many areas of science and engineering, have different 'languages'. This common language better enables communication. It sounds simple, but it is actually more complicated than it first appears. Communication is the critical key to success; and after working in Asia and Europe I've learned that even when everyone is speaking English the meaning of words do not always translate.


Paperless Classroom

In 2001 I introduced the Paperless Classroom to MIT using TabletPCs. This was across three distinct fields: Humanities, Engineering and Brain and Cognitive Sciences (Chinese to Neuroanatomy). For Chinese, students spent their time learning the language instead of figuring out how to use the keyboard workarounds. In 2005 I introduced it to the University of Hong Kong. All course reading materials were scanned at the beginning of the semester and available for download at any time, eliminating the need to carry books around. The PowerPoint class lectures were available for download before each class. The class lectures were digitized and were available at the end of each class. The students used their TabletPCs to take notes directly on the PDF reading materials and class lectures. They could listen to the lecture as many times as necessary. It was easy for them to carry a light TabletPC in a backpack with all class materials on it. Students were able to study anytime, anywhere. At both MIT and the University of Hong Kong the students learned 25% more material and the bottom 25% of the class improved by one letter grade.





Medical Faculty Mannheim

2010-present    Introduction to Nanomedicine � interdisciplinary course that begins with the basic concepts and explores practical translation of nanotechnology in medicine


Massachusetts Institute of Technology

2007-present   NeuroTechnology Ventures � Co-creator, -developer and �instructor across 4 departments at M.I.T. (Science, Engineering, Business and Media Lab)

         In 2008 and 2009 I taught it via live link with University of Hong Kong and China Medical University Hospital in Taiwan

2004-present    Introduction to Neuroanatomy - Independent Activities Period (IAP) at MIT

2002-2005       Paperless classroom, introduced the TabletPC to the classroom at MIT and the University of Hong Kong as part of the migration to the paperless classroom to deliver all course materials and texts to the students digitally

2002-2003       Open Courseware Initiative (drive to put all MIT courses online for worldwide  viewing); put 60 of the first 500 courses online

2001-2002       Stellar System (MIT internal courseware management system), led the pilot program by putting all Brain & Cognitive Sciences courses online

2001-2002       Teaching Assistant for Introduction to Psychology

1999-2002       Teaching Assistant for Comparative Neuroanatomy and Development

1999-2002       Teaching Assistant for Introduction to Neuroscience 


University of Hong Kong Faculty of Medicine

2008-2009       Central Nervous System Review (Lectures) - University of Hong Kong 4th year medical students

2007-2010       Ethics in Medical research (Lectures and case studies), University of Hong Kong medical students

2007-2010       Responsible Conduct in Research (Lectures and case studies), University of Hong Kong medical students

2007-2010         Problem-Based Learning (PBL) in Central Nervous System Diseases - University of Hong Kong 2nd year medical students

2007-2010         Problem-Based Learning (PBL) in Hematology - University of Hong Kong 2nd year medical students

2007-2010         Problem-Based Learning (PBL) in Neurology - University of Hong Kong 2nd year medical students

2007-2010         Cranial Nerves (Lectures) - University of Hong Kong 2nd year medical students

2007-2010         Sensory Systems (Lectures) - University of Hong Kong 2nd year medical students

2007-2010         Central Nervous System Anatomy (Lectures) - University of Hong Kong 2nd year medical students

2004-2010       Head and Neck Anatomy, University of Hong Kong 2nd year medical students

OCW (Open Courseware at MIT)

Transformed 60 of the first 500 courses for BCS so they could be shared with the rest of the world