Douglas Fields

  • National Institutes of Health

R. Douglas Fields is Chief of the Nervous System Development and Plasticity Section at the National Institutes of Health, NICHD, in Bethesda, Maryland, and author of the new book about sudden anger and aggression “Why We Snap,” published by Dutton, and a popular book about glia “The Other Brain” published by Simon and Schuster. Dr. Fields is a developmental neurobiologist with a long-standing interest in brain development and plasticity, neuron-glia interactions, and the cellular mechanism of memory. He received degrees from UC Berkeley, San Jose State University, and UC San Diego. After postdoctoral fellowships at Stanford and Yale Universities he joined the NIH in 1987.

Dr. Fields also enjoys writing about neuroscience for the general public. In addition to serving on editorial boards of several neuroscience journals, he serves as scientific advisor for Odyssey and Scientific American Mind magazines. He has written for Outside Magazine, The Washington Post Magazine, Scientific American and Scientific American Mind, and he publishes regularly for The Huffington Post, Psychology Today, and Scientific American on-line. Outside the lab he enjoys building guitars and rock climbing.

Articles by Douglas Fields

On September 23, 1976, while the nation’s attention was focused on the battle between Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter for President of the United States, a 42-year-old woman half way around the world was engaged in a personal battle.
  • BrainFacts/SfN
A shark’s ability to home in on the scent of blood is legendary, but many people are surprised to learn that sharks have a stealthy sixth sense to find prey and explore the world around them.
  • BrainFacts/SfN
A lady’s choice for a first date may be swayed by factors extending back in time to when sharp stones, rather than Sharp computers, were the most advanced technology.
“Experts” lament that there is no way to track lone wolf killers, but nothing could be farther from the truth.
  • BrainFacts/SfN
I awoke this morning to a ferocious lightning storm. The house shook from thunderous booms. The predawn darkness blanched in blazing white flashes.
  • BrainFacts/SfN
Beginning on October 1, researchers seeking NIH grants must balance male and female cells and animals in their NIH funded research.
  • BrainFacts/SfN
Guys who need it have Viagra; Ladies with the similar needs have nothing now that the FDA has denied approval of a new drug, flibanserin, which would treat sexual dysfunction in women.
  • BrainFacts/SfN
A new way to alter traumatic memories
Would we have Poe’s Raven today if the tormented author had taken lithium to suppress his bipolar illness?
Women suffer depression and anxiety disorders at higher rates than men; a new study finds an interesting new explanation for this.
It seems paradoxical that crying could trigger murdering a child on impulse.
Scientists have now pinpointed the brain circuitry that compels us to behave according to social norms.
  • BrainFacts/SfN