David John Parker, BSc (Wales), PhD. College Lecturer in Physiology. Director of Studies in Natural Sciences (Biological) for Parts II and III.
I am a College Lecturer in physiology. I give supervisions on areas of physiology and neuroscience, covering the IA Physiology of Organisms and 1B Neurobiology courses. My supervisions are fairly informal as I feel that students should be helped to learn in the areas they are either interested in or they are finding difficult, rather than following a prescribed sequence of material.
My work focuses on neuronal networks, groups of nerve cells that interact to generate specific outputs. I record the electrical activity from nerve cells to characterise their normal interactions, and how these interactions are altered as a result of changes to the nervous system. I specifically focus on spinal cord networks in a lower vertebrate model system. In addition to characterising normal network function I examine the physiological changes associated with recovery after spinal cord injury. We understand little of brain function, yet claims (either current or imminent understanding) that we can treat, enhance, or simulate the brain are rife. These claims are at odds with our actual understanding, even for supposedly “simpler” systems, including the one that I work on. This has led me to develop an interest in logic and the philosophy of science applied to neuroscience, psychology, and psychiatry.
I am the course organiser for 1B Neurobiology and organiser for Part II modules in Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience and Neuronal Networks, and senior examiner for the Part II Psychology, Neuroscience and Behaviour course. I lecture on motor systems on the 1B Neurobiology course, and on neuronal networks, spinal cord function, and synaptic transmission and plasticity at Part II. I am a demonstrator in neuroanatomy practicals for MVST 1B students, as well as in physiology and neurobiology practicals for 1B NST and MVST. I also supervise Part II research projects and BBS dissertations, and postgraduate MPhil and PhD dissertations.