Douglas Fields

  • National Institutes of Health

R. Douglas Fields is Chief of the Nervous System Development and Plasticity Section at the National Institutes of Health, NICHD, in Bethesda, Maryland, and author of the new book about sudden anger and aggression “Why We Snap,” published by Dutton, and a popular book about glia “The Other Brain” published by Simon and Schuster. Dr. Fields is a developmental neurobiologist with a long-standing interest in brain development and plasticity, neuron-glia interactions, and the cellular mechanism of memory. He received degrees from UC Berkeley, San Jose State University, and UC San Diego. After postdoctoral fellowships at Stanford and Yale Universities he joined the NIH in 1987.

Dr. Fields also enjoys writing about neuroscience for the general public. In addition to serving on editorial boards of several neuroscience journals, he serves as scientific advisor for Odyssey and Scientific American Mind magazines. He has written for Outside Magazine, The Washington Post Magazine, Scientific American and Scientific American Mind, and he publishes regularly for The Huffington Post, Psychology Today, and Scientific American on-line. Outside the lab he enjoys building guitars and rock climbing.

Articles by Douglas Fields

In any major mapping expedition shouldn’t the first priority be to survey the uncharted regions?
  • BrainFacts/SfN
If you ever feel sorry for yourself, visit a neurologist’s waiting room.
  • BrainFacts/SfN
The financial and political torrent now undermining the foundation of scientific research creates a unique calamity for scientists in training, which will have profound and long-lasting consequences for society.
  • BrainFacts/SfN
More recently research to relieve PTSD using propranolol and other drugs to quell traumatic memories has edged fiction closer to fact, but the method has produced mixed results.
  • BrainFacts/SfN
The last time I was on Boylston Street it was to give a lecture in November at a scientific meeting in the Weston Hotel.
Is it possible to identify a murderer from facial features alone? Supporting evidence comes from a new brain imaging study.
  • BrainFacts/SfN
Human brain cell transplantation makes mice smart. The transplanted cells are not neurons and the cells communicate without using electricity.
  • BrainFacts/SfN
If you’ve ever been backpacking you know the problem neuroscientist Mathias Pessiglione and his colleagues are interested in solving: when to take a break.
  • BrainFacts/SfN
What is an itch? That insistent tickle demanding that you cease whatever you are doing and claw with your fingernails at a particular spot on your skin.
  • BrainFacts/SfN
A reader called me to say how much he enjoyed my book, The Other Brain, and then confided the true reason for his call: he wanted to share with me an extraordinary change in his brain and ask for my neurobiological insight. “After having a stroke I found that I could read other people’s minds,” he said.