Walter M. Yamada, III., PhD

Professional Biography (Curriculum Vitae attached and Abbreviated Resume here): Dr. Walter Yamada is currently an associate professor in the Department of Psychology at Azusa Pacific University. He is also a collaborator of the Laboratory of Applied Pharmacokinetics (LAPK) at the Keck School of Medicine of USC. His current research involves Monte Carlo simulation of compartmental models describing aminoglycoside distribution. These models will then be used in LAPK software incorporating Bayesian adaptive control techniques for obtaining desired drug concentration in individual patients.

Walter Yamada began his science training as a high school freshman while spending a summer in the lab of Peter Kelly at the University of Southern California, Medical School. There he learned how to place cannulas for target specific kainic acid brain lesioning, care for and train rats in a behavioral task, and assay d-amphetamine induced circling behavior in a study of dopamine release in the nigrostriatal pathway. Walter spent the rest of his high school years working part time with Stanley Pine at the California State University Los Angeles, in an NMR study of sulfone stabilized cations (Paper attached).

During his college years, Walter was a technician with the US Forest Service carrying out cellulose gel electrophoresis experiments in a study of gene drift in separated pine stands between Mexico and Washington State; and also worked in George Barlow's lab under Axel Meyer as a scientific illustrator, creating ink drawings of Cichlasoma Managuenza (A paper w/picture attached). Walter became interested in computational neuroscience as a college senior while taking courses in circuit theory and neuroanatomy. To pursue his interest, he moved into Christof Koch's lab at the California Institute of Technology, where he worked under Koch and Paul Adams (at SUNY Stony Brook) writing graphical interactive programs to study membrane voltage dynamics and intracellular calcium diffusion (Book chapter attached). Several years later, he went back to UC Berkeley, to study for his PhD under Edwin Lewis. Walter also worked during this time refining his programming abilities under Robert Zucker, again modeling calcium diffusion, but this time with the goal of describing presynaptic facilitatory mechanisms (Paper attached). He also took two side trips into the rainforest of Puerto Rico to study with Lewis, Peter Narins, and Catherine Cortopassi, the call-timing algorithm of the white lipped frog (Paper attached). Walter's PhD thesis was an electrophysiological and functional analytical study of gerbil cochlea and amphibian papillae and saccule responses to sound. Walter was the first to analyze the functional descriptions of hearing in order to determine a biophysical model of sensory transduction applicable to the entire frequency sensitivity of the end-organ and applicable to diverse end-organs (Papers attached). Dr. Yamada spent several years at UC Los Angeles with Peter Narins, to extend his techniques to combined seismic/auditory stimulation of the VIIIth nerve of Leopard Frogs.

After his postdoctoral years, Walter came to USC to work with Theodore Berger at the Center for Neural Engineering and Biomedical Simulations Resource center, where he spent 8 years helping to apply biophysical models of synaptic function to acoustic processing tasks (Paper attached), with the goal of building biologically-based sensors for computer voice interfaces (Project in collaboration with the Naval Undersea Warfare Center, Newport, RI) and security applications (Paper attached). Dr. Yamada recently joined the team at the LAPK (led by Profs. Roger Jelliffe and Michael Neely), where he is supporting their effort to apply dynamic models of combination drug behavior and interactions to determine individualized dosage regimens for patient care, especially for the critically ill.

Personal Interests