Meet: David Neri Ph.D.
Clinical Trial of Melatonin as Hypnotic
Who I am
I am an active-duty Naval Officer and have a Ph.D. in experimental psychology.
My interests are in the effects of circadian rhythms, sleep deprivation,
and fatigue on performance and alertness in operational situations.
I have served at a number of Navy labs, including the Naval Submarine
Medical Research Laboratory, the Naval Aerospace Medical Research Laboratory,
and the Naval Health Research Center. The two-year postdoctoral fellowship
I spent in Dr. Czeisler's lab at the Brigham and Women's Hospital/Harvard
Medical School was part of the Navy's "outservice training" program. It
allows Naval Officers the opportunity to obtain additional training or
degrees in university and research settings.
Ironically, I am now stationed at NASA. I recently joined the Fatigue
Countermeasures Program at NASA Ames Research Center where, among other
things, we research countermeasures to the effects of fatigue and sleep
loss. I am heavily involved in the transfer of this information to the
Navy and other military services. My association with Neurolab helped
pique my interest in remaining in the NASA environment. It's part of the
reason why the opportunity to be stationed at NASA appealed to me and
why I pursued it.
Influences in my career
Recently it has been Dr. Czeisler. It was he and his work that first
generated my interest in the area of circadian rhythms. Just before meeting
him I had collected some data on U.S. Navy air crews during the Gulf War.
I was looking at the impact of combat on their work/rest schedules and
fatigue levels. It was when I was presenting some of that data at a scientific
meeting that I first met Dr. Czeisler. He pointed out to me an entirely
different way of looking at and interpreting the data. A visit to his
lab followed and these interactions spurred my interest in circadian rhythms
and their impact on performance and alertness. These experiences resulted
in somewhat of a career redirection for me. So I'll say he and his work
probably had the most influence on my current interests.
I would recommend that anyone who wanted to go into experimental psychology,
or psychology in general, obtain a broad background. The better your grounding
in all of the sciences -- the life sciences, the other natural sciences,
physics, mathematics, the better off you'll be in experimental psychology.
There's plenty of time and adequate opportunity to focus later on in more
narrow areas. The broader the background you get in high school and college,
the better prepared you will be, no matter what you want to do at the
graduate level in psychology.
None of us have a lot of spare time, I suppose, but most of mine is
spent playing with my kids. One just turned eleven yesterday [in March
1997] and the other is eight. They're both very active - I have two boys
- and we tend to play whatever sport happens to be in season. Basketball
season has just ended so we were playing a lot of basketball in front
of our house where we have a hoop. Now it's Little League time. We are
going out on weekends, playing catch, hitting balls, things like that.
In the summer it is swimming in the pool and in the fall it's soccer.
Altogether it serves to keep me pretty active.