Primary Institution:Coastal Marine Biolabs
Current SEPA Project
A native Rhode Islander, Ralph is one of CMB’s founding Scientific Co-Directors. He received his M.A. in behavioral neuroscience from the Department of Psychology at Bucknell University (PA), where he studied the brain pathways that control ultrasound production and other forms of reproductive behavior in mammals. During his doctoral studies at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine (NY), Ralph redirected his focus of study to nervous system development and the identification of molecular navigational cues that control the hard-wiring of the spinal cord. Ralph later pursued his postdoctoral studies in the Department of Biological Chemistry at UCLA/Howard Hughes Medical Institute, and later in the Molecular Neurobiology Laboratory at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies (La Jolla, CA). Throughout his postdoctoral research, Ralph learned and applied genetic tools to study visual system development and to develop new genetic technology for the identification and study of neural circuits. Ralph made a radical shift to marine science and coral reef biology as a research associate at UCSB’s Institute for Collaborative Biotechnologies, where he initiated studies of coral recruitment and development using tools borrowed from the area of genomics. In the field, Ralph has served as a volunteer for the NOAA/Southwest Fisheries Science Center Green Turtle Project in San Diego, and as a UCSB research team member for coral reef restoration projects conducted in the Caribbean (Caraïbisch Marien-Biologisch Instituut, Curacao, Netherlands Antilles) and West Pacific (Palau International Coral Reef Center, Koror, Republic of Palau). Ralph’s unusually diverse scientific training and technical skills are reflected in CMB’s teaching philosophy and program design.
Our goal isn’t to make scientists out of every student. Instead, we’re using science as a strategy to put students in the center of an authentic working environment where they’re free to ask questions, to communicate and work together as a team, to think creatively about tough questions, and to tackle these questions with advanced tools. This is what characterizes scientific research settings. It’s a time tested approach that works remarkably well for students at higher levels of education — and it’s what we’ve modeled our entire program around.
Associated SEPA Project(s)
NeuroLab M3: Discovery-Based Explorations of Scientific Models Model Organisms and Model Systems in Developmental Neuroscience
R25OD16513-1 : 07/15/2014 - 06/30/2019