This issue of Who Makes Millersville Special features Dr. John Hoover, professor of neuroscience and physiology.
Q: How long have you been employed at Millersville University?
A: My first semester at Millersville was fall 1993.
Q: What made you want to work at the University?
A: Before coming to Millersville, I was in a full-time research position at a medical school. I came to MU because I enjoy teaching, interacting with college students and love the liberal arts environment with its many different disciplines. I was excited to join Millersville’s biology department because of the faculty’s collegiality and varied interests.
Q: What courses do you teach? Do you have a favorite?
A: I mostly teach Human Anatomy & Physiology I and II, Functional Human Anatomy, Neurobiology and Human Biology. I also contribute, as needed, to the General Biology and Zoology courses. My favorite course to teach is Human Anatomy & Physiology because it covers all the organ systems of the body in some depth.
Q: You are a sensorimotor systems neuroscientist. Could you tell us what that means?
A: I study the brain systems that control movement and the integration of movement with touch. These systems include parts of the cerebral cortex, thalamus, basal ganglia, cerebellum and spinal cord.
Q: What influenced you to become a biologist?
A: I love nature. I have as much interest in knowing the names of wildflowers and trees as I do bones and muscles.
Q: What studies have you done for the brain dysfunctions such as Parkinson’s and schizophrenia?
A: Dysfunction of the brain’s basal ganglia contributes to Parkinson’s disease and schizophrenia. My colleagues and I have mapped the neural circuits that connect the basal ganglia with sensory and motor areas of the cerebral cortex in experimental animals.
Q: What is your involvement with the Millersville Navigators?
A: Actually, the correct name of the group is The Navigators at Millersville but often this is just shortened to the Navs. I am the group’s faculty advisor and liaison between Millersville University’s chapter and the national organization. My main contribution is to mentor and advise the student leaders.
Q: What are the Navs? How did you get involved?
A: The Navs are a collegiate ministry. We are an interdenominational Christian fellowship that helps students “navigate” life with a strong spiritual focus. I first became involved with the Navs when I was a college student.
Q: Where are you from?
A: I grew up in the Navy so I’ve lived everywhere from the California coast to the Jersey shore. However, my family has its historical roots in Indiana County, Pa.
Q: What college/university did you attend? Major?
A: I attended college at Indiana University of Pennsylvania. I majored in biology and completed a minor in chemistry.
Q: What was your first job?
A: While in college, I worked at the local Kmart in the Sporting Goods Department. Because of its rural location, I sold a lot of hunting and fishing items.
Q: What did you want to be when you were growing up?
A: At first, I wanted to be a veterinarian or a physician; however, when I was in college, I saw that my biology professors had a pretty sweet job. That observation led me to change career goals. It was a good choice for me.
Q: What do you like to do for fun?
A: I enjoy reading, hiking, biking, gardening and feeding the birds in my backyard.