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Faculty & Staff Honors

Faculty & Staff Honors

Yale: New Faculty Friday Spotlights Robert McDougal, Informatician, Neuroscientist, Computer Whiz

The Yale School of Public Health proudly welcomes 13 new tenure track faculty this academic year. These individuals bring a broad range of research, scholarship, and teaching expertise to the school and will be instrumental in helping us address many of the public health challenges of the 21st century.

Today we spotlight Dr. Robert McDougal, assistant professor in the health informatics division of the Department of Biostatistics. Dr. McDougal has a PhD and MS in mathematics from Ohio State University. He also holds an MS in computational biology and bioinformatics from Yale. Dr. McDougal did his postdoctoral training in computer science, neurobiology and medical informatics at Yale. From 2016 until this year, he was an associate research scientist in the Department of Neuroscience at the Yale School of Medicine.

Q: Describe your primary academic focus or research specialty?

RM: I am an informatician developing and applying computational strategies for gaining insight into the nervous system in health and disease. The dynamics that underlie brain activity occur across a vast range of spatial and temporal scales — from conformational changes that occur locally in a fraction of a millisecond to the patterns of connectivity across the brain over our lifetime. My work seeks strategies for efficiently inferring information across this vast range of scales; for example, I have used this to study the role of ion regulation during working memory tasks. I have developed approaches for extracting structural information from computational models and am working on approaches to automatically compare them to each other and to the literature to gain new insights on how details of neural structure affect processing.

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