AB Biology, University of Chicago
PhD Neuroscience, Emory University
Network function in the spinal cord
Dr. Jacob Shreckengost grew up in rural Western Pennsylvania about 60 miles northeast of Pittsburgh. As a child, he witnessed a car accident that left his younger brother Jesse, then 5, quadriplegic due to spinal cord injury between the first two cervical vertebrae. This inspired Dr. Shreckengost to focus on neuroscience throughout his academic career with a particular interest in the functioning of spinal networks before and after injury. Attending the University of Chicago as an undergraduate, Dr. Shreckengost pursued a bachelor’s in Biology, while working throughout college in the genetics laboratory of Dr. Daphne Preuss, in the Renaissance Society art gallery on campus, and playing offensive guard on the football team. Upon graduation, Dr. Shreckengost was awarded a German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) Scholarship to conduct research on developmental biology and genetics with Dr. Detlef Weigel at that Max-Planck Institute in Tuebingen, Germany. While there, he also joined the Landsmannschaft Ulmia academic fraternity. Returning the United States, his research continued under Dr. William Lynch at NEUCOM in Rootstown, Ohio, examining mechanisms of virally-induced neurodegeneration.
Dr. Shreckengost then moved onto Emory University to pursue a PhD in neuroscience in the laboratory of Dr. Shawn Hochman, where his work focused on understanding sensory gating in mammalian spinal circuits. Following his PhD, he was awarded an IRACDA (https://www.nigms.nih.gov/Training/CareerDev/Pages/TWDInstRes.aspx) post-doctoral fellowship, which allowed him to continue researching at Emory with Dr. Shawn Hochman, moving his focus to autonomic dysreflexia in the spinal cord following injury. At the same time, he began his training as a science educator at Spelman College under the mentorship of Dr. Kai McCormack. Wishing to increase his mentoring and program management experience, Dr. Shreckengost then spent two years as the interim Director of Undergraduate Research at Emory College, directing seven competitive research fellowships of ~165 students each year across the entire College, before taking his first faculty position as a Professor of Practice at Syracuse University. At SU, Dr. Shreckengost taught in both the graduate and undergraduate neuroscience programs and served as the advisor for all 135 undergraduate neuroscience majors. Dr. Shreckengost then decided to return to Atlanta to be closer to his wife and their 3 dogs. Back in Atlanta, Dr. Shreckengost worked briefly with Dr. Kyle Frantz on the IMSD program here at GSU, before returning to Emory to serve as the Biology and Neuroscience Curriculum Developer for the Emory Tibet Science Initiative (ETSI; https://tibet.emory.edu/emory-tibet-science-initiative/). Through ETSI, Dr. Shreckengost built educational materials for distance learning and intensive summer programs for three Tibetan Buddhist Monastic Colleges in South India.
In January 2018, Dr. Shreckengost joined the Neuroscience Institute at GSU, where he serves as a Lecturer. He plans to assess student learning in interactive science classrooms, looking at the impact of various pedagogical interventions on enhancing student learning. He also remains involved in the Emory Tibet Science Initiative, and plans on returning to India in the summers of 2018 and 2019 to teach biology and neuroscience to Tibetan Buddhist monks and nuns.