"We all know intuitively what we mean by motion. Motion is change, evolution, development. A dove soars across a turquoise noon-day sky; a meteor plunges earthward from the night-black heavens; a train derails and falls off a bridge, plummeting to the jagged rocks below. The world is alive with motion."  -- Michael A. Morrison, Understanding Quantum Physics

Ashvin Shah

PhD, Neuroscience and Behavior, University of Massachusetts Amherst

BA, Physics, Wesleyan University

My e mail address is: my first name at gmail dot com

and my public Linkedin profile is right here

I'm an Editor and Writer at DynaMed (EBSCO Clinical Decisions), where I help medical doctors and other healthcare providers make evidence-based clinical decisions. I search for and find the best available evidence (from systematic reviews and high-quality randomized trials to cohort studies and case series). I critically appraise the evidence to identify strengths and weaknesses and summarize it, focusing on the most important outcomes. I present the evidence, along with recommendations from professional organizations and other important content from peer-reviewed published literature, in disease-oriented topics organized to minimize the time it takes to find answers. At each of these steps I work with medical doctors, including general practitioners and specialists, to ensure the content is as clear as possible and focuses on the most important options. I engage in a wide variety of areas including neurology (my main focus), psychiatry, palliative care, ophthalmology, ENT, oral health, primary care, gastroenterology, allergy, dermatology, oncology, and others.

From 2016 to 2018, I also co-wrote DynaMed's weekly EBM Focus, a free newsletter highlighting a very recent study that I and other editors considered most likely to inform clinical practice, and related CME questions. I am engaged in other science-related writing and editing projects as well.

In my previous life I conducted scientific research in theoretical and computational neuroscience, focusing on reinforcement learning (a type of artificial intelligence), skill acquisition, and motor control (see my publications below for details).

My last academic position was as a postdoc with Professor Kevin N. Gurney and the Adaptive Behaviour Research Group in the Department of Psychology at the University of Sheffield in England. While at Sheffield I was funded by the European Union grant Intrinsically Motivated Cumulative Learning Versatile Robots (IM-CLeVeR).

I did my PhD research with Professor Andrew G. Barto in the Autonomous Learning Laboratory, Department of Computer Science at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. While there, I was funded by grants from The National Institutes of Health, teaching assistantships from the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences at UMass, and the Neuroscience and Behavior Program at UMass.


(Digital Object Identifier) DOI link --> usually article at publisher's website.

Poster presentations
  • A Shah and KN Gurney (2011). Dopamine-Mediated Action Discovery Promotes Optimal Behaviour 'For Free'. CNS*2011, Stockholm, Sweden.[ DOI link (abstract) ]
  • A Shah and AG Barto (2007). Effect on Movement Selection of Evolving Sensory Representation. CCNC07, San Diego, CA.[ pdf ]
  • A Shah and AG Barto (2007). Functional Mechanisms of Motor Skill Acquisition. CNS*2007, Toronto, Canada. [ DOI link (abstract) | pdf ]
  • A Shah, AG Barto, and AH Fagg (2006). Biologically-Based Functional Mechanisms of Coarticulation. Neural Control of Movement Conference, Key Biscayne, FL. [ pdf ]
  • A Shah, AH Fagg, and AG Barto (2002). Cortical Involvement in the Recruitment of Wrist Muscles. Neural Control of Movement Conference, Naples, FL. [ abstract | pdf ]
  • A Shah, AH Fagg, and AG Barto (2001). A Computational Model of Muscle Recruitment for Wrist Movements. Neural Control of Movement Conference, Seville, Spain. [ abstract | pdf ]

Some nonacademic links

Awesome Music
Friends' Stuff (in somewhat arbitrary order)
Other Good Stuff
  • NPR's Science Friday
  • Safe Passage, which provides support for those affected by domestic violence.
  • Fact Check, a nonpartisan nonprofit which determines the factual accuracy of politicians' claims.
  • This is what the Cowboy Junkies think of my hometown of Poughkeepsie, NY.
  • The Hubris of the Humanities, an awesome Op-Ed (NY Times, Dec 6, 2005) by Nicholas Kristof that every non-scientist should read.
  • Clearwater, dedicated to environmental education and cleaning up the Hudson River.
  • Signature Sounds, record label based in Western Massachusetts focusing on Americana and modern folk.
  • Equality Now, works for the protection and promotion of the human rights of women around the world.