January/February 2015's A&S Researcher of the Month
Dr. John Bickle, professor and head, Department of Philosophy & Religion
Dr. John Bickle is a professor of philosophy and currently serves as the department head for the Department of Philosophy & Religion. He is also a fellow at MSU's Institute for Imaging and Analytical Technologies (I2AT). Dr. Bickle has been at Mississippi State University since 2009. Before coming to MSU, he held several leadership positions at the University of Cincinnati, including department head for philosophy and religion, professor in the neuroscience graduate program in the College of Medicine, and director of the undergraduate neuroscience program. At Cincinnati, he was nominated to be a graduate fellow in 2004, the highest research honor awarded at that university to faculty.
In addition to this experience, he has also held faculty and research positions at Duke University, East Carolina University, and Ludqig-Mazimilians-Universitaet Muechen in Munich, Germany. He received his Ph.D. in philosophy, with a concentration in philosophy of science and neuroscience, from the University of California, Irvine, in 1989.
Dr. Bickle's research is in philosophy of neuroscience, and on cellular and molecular mechanisms of cognition and consciousness. Previously his research has been supported by grants from NSF and NIH. He is best known for advocating "ruthless reductionism" about mind in philosophy of science and neuroscience.
Dr. Bickle has authored or co-authored four books, and he was the author or co-author of more than seventy research articles, book chapters, and book reviews in philosophy, neuroscience, and cognitive science journals and volumes. Furthermore, he has been invited to give lectures in twenty-one different countries.
Next for Dr. Bickle is his recent appointment as an affiliate faculty member in the Department of Neurobiology and Anatomical Sciences at the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson. Working with Dr. Lique Coolen and Dr. Ian Webb, he is starting a research project investigating the molecular mechanisms of a form of mammalian social memory using optogenetics, an experimental technique that uses light to control individual neurons' activities after genetically altering neurons' sensitivity to light.