"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 a medical writer at DynaMed, where I evaluate and write about medical research to help doctors and other health care providers make evidence-based clinical decisions. I am also engaged in other science-related writing and editing projects.

In my previous life I conducted scientific research in theoretical and computational neuroscience, focusing on reinforcement learning, 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, and I continue to finish up some work with them. 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 publisher's website.

Poster presentations
  • A Shah and KN Gurney (2011). Dopamine-Mediated Action Discovery Promotes Optimal Behaviour 'For Free'. poster presented at the Twentieth Annual Computational Neuroscience Meeting (CNS*2011), July 23 -- 28, 2011, Stockholm, Sweden. Abstract available in BMC Neuroscience 2011, 12 (Suppl 1):P138 (18 July 2011).
    [ DOI link (abstract) | PubMed link ]

  • A Shah and AG Barto (2007). Effect on Movement Selection of Evolving Sensory Representation. poster presented at the Third Annual Computational Cognitive Neuroscience Conference (CCNC07), in conjunction with Dynamical Neuroscience XV, November 1 -- 2, San Diego, CA.
    [ pdf ]

  • A Shah and AG Barto (2007). Functional Mechanisms of Motor Skill Acquisition. poster presented at the Sixteenth Annual Computational Neuroscience Meeting (CNS*2007), July 7th - 12th, Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Abstract available in BMC Neuroscience 2007, 8 (Suppl 2):P203 (6 July 2007).
    [ DOI link (abstract) | pdf ]

  • A Shah, AG Barto, and AH Fagg (2006). Biologically-Based Functional Mechanisms of Coarticulation. poster presented at Neural Control of Movement Conference, May 2-7, 2006, Key Biscayne, FL.
    [ pdf ]

  • A Shah, AH Fagg, and AG Barto (2002). Cortical Involvement in the Recruitment of Wrist Muscles. poster presented at Neural Control of Movement Conference, April 14-21, 2002, Naples, FL
    [ abstract | pdf ]

  • A Shah, AH Fagg, and AG Barto (2001). A Computational Model of Muscle Recruitment for Wrist Movements. poster presented at Neural Control of Movement Conference, March 25-30, 2001, Seville, Spain
    [ abstract | pdf ]

Some nonacademic links

Awesome Music
Friends' Stuff (in somewhat arbitrary order)
Other Good Stuff