John Parker

  • Post-Doctoral Associate

John holds the position of Postdoctoral Associate within the Department of Mathematics at the University of Pittsburgh, where he conducts research under the guidance of Dr. Jonathan Rubin. His current postdoctoral pursuits are concentrated in the realm of mathematical neuroscience, with a primary focus on the development of a dynamical model pertaining to a subregion of the basal ganglia, namely, the Substantia Nigra pars reticulata (SNr). Within the project, John is seeking to unravel the nuanced responses of SNr neurons to optogenetic stimulation of inhibitory input regions. Additionally, this research delves into the intricate alterations in these neuronal responses within a simulated model of Parkinson's Disease, characterized by dopamine depletion, as observed in rodent subjects. His research is largely informed from experimental data gathered from collaborators at Carnegie Mellon University. John's role within this interdisciplinary project is centered around data-driven tuning of the model, simulations, and analytical facets. Notably, he has recently devised a novel analysis software designed to robustly classify spike train responses in contrast to a baseline period in a user-friendly manner.

During his graduate studies at the University of New Hampshire (UNH), John completed his PhD with a specialization in nonlinear dynamics and chaos, under the mentorship of Dr. Kevin Short. His doctoral thesis represented a unique fusion of chaos theory and mathematical neuroscience, elucidating the intricate control mechanisms that enable the manipulation of neuron models operating within chaotic parameter regimes, particularly through interactions of "cupolets" (chaotic unstable periodic orbit-lets). This work has continued since completing his dissertation resulting in several published articles.

Outside of work, John enjoys traveling with his partner, trying different foods, and spending time with his cats. 

For more information on John’s career feel free to peruse his website ( John is happy to connect to discuss research interests or experiences within academia and postdoc life. He can be reached at or or