By Jeff “JHo” Hoyland
Alec Hoyland, a 2014 graduate of Bedford High School, volunteered as a guest lecturer for the Brookline High School Neuroscience Club where he spoke about “Hodgkin-Huxley formalism” (1).
Hoyland taught Theoretical Neuroscience during Brandeis University’s “SPLASH” program (2) last fall. Christina Yeo, co-head of Brookline High School Neuroscience Club, later invited him to speak at Brookline High School. In a gesture of reciprocity, Hoyland invited Yeo and her club’s executive board to a dinner with Brandeis biological physics professor Jané Kondev, sponsored by the university’s Quantitative Biology Research Community.
“Although, I was not the best physics student at Bedford High,” Hoyland remarked, “Mr. Stief, my AP Physics teacher, instilled a love of physics in me. I wanted to pass it along to other high school students to fire their passion. The Hodgkin-Huxley formulation is not a simple math computation equation,” he continued, “there is a lot more behind it, I was pleased that the Brookline High Neuroscience Club chose this topic for discussion.”
Hoyland is a BS/MS candidate in Neuroscience and Biological Physics at Brandeis University. He works in the Marder Lab and is part of the Quantitative Biology Research Community.
Footnotes: Alec is pleased that you are looking at the footnotes for more information
(1) Sir Andrew Fielding Huxley and Sir Alan Lloyd Hodgkin described mathematically the biology of the neurons comprising the squid giant axon in 1952. They were awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology for Medicine in 1963. The mathematical formalism they described has been modified and expanded but remains the core of much computational neuroscience research. The squid’s giant axon governs the escape reflex when a squid encounters a predator. The size of the axon makes the reflex quicker. Giant squids, amusingly, do not have a giant axon. They don’t need one; they’re giant squids.
(2) SPLASH is a program founded by Learning Unlimited which is independently run by students at dozens of institutions. SPLASH began in 1957 at MIT through their Educational Studies Program (ESP). Brandeis runs SPLASH through a student club Education by Students for Students (ESS) since 2013 (https://brandeis.learningu.org/).
Correction on March 3, 2017: Nick Collins is the founder of the Brookline High School Neuroscience Club. Christina Yeo is one of the co-heads.