Howard Wachtel

Electrical and Computer Engineering; Member of the Center for Neuroscience

Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Campus Box 425
Engineering Center OT 626
University of Colorado at Boulder
Boulder, CO 80309-0425

Phone: 303-492-7713
FAX: 303-492-2758

Howard Wachtel received his doctoral degree in Physiology and
Biophysics in 1967 under the direction of Prof.. Eric Kandel, who recently (October, 2000) won the nobel prize in medicine . Prof. Wachtel’s Ph.D. thesis, and his subsequent research focus while on the Duke University faculty, dealt with synaptic plasticity mechanisms, neural network organization and neural signal processing.. His earlier education included a B.S. in Electrical Engineering from Cooper Union and a M.S. in Biomedical Engineering (BME) from Drexel University.

His dual interest in engineering and neurosciences has continued throughout his academic career -- first at Duke University where he held joint appointments in the Colleges of Engineering (BME) and of Medicine (Physiology and Pharmacology) and, since 1981 at the University of Colorado where he has been Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering and also Professor Attendant Rank of Physiology (UCHSC). Along with the late Professor Marvin Luttges he developed the interdepartmental "Neural Bioengineering sequence including courses in "Brains, Minds and Computers," "Neural Signals," and "Neural Systems," which he still teaches regularly in the ECE and the Aerospace Engineering departments.

In recent years, Professor Wachtel's research interests have broadened out to include other BME related areas such as bioelectromagnetics, epidemiology, and environmental sciences. His interest in putative neural and other health related effects of magnetic fields from power lines as well as other sources of electromagnetic fields (e.g., cellular phones, RF transmitters) continues along with related interests in other environmental epidemiology issues--- such as traffic emissions associated with increased cancer risks in children.

Prof. Wachtel’s interests in EMF health effects has also led him, in recent years, full circle, back to explore some basic neurophysiology issues - such as the exquisite electrosensing system in sharks (and related elasmobranchs) and a possible ion channel displacement basis for the reported analgesic effects of high gradient magnetic fields. These recent research efforts have been supported by a variety of agencies including NSF, NASA, EPRI, and the Magnetic Health Foundation of Japan (and earlier on by several NIH, ONR, FDA, and EPA grants). interested in Most recently he has become interested technological appproaches to Cognitive Dishabilities and in exploring the biophysical basis of traumatic brain injuries.

Selected Publications:

Howard Wachtel and Eric R Kandel, "A Direct Synaptic Connection Mediating Both Inhibition and Excitation" Science 158; 1206-1208, 1967.

Howard Wachtel and Eric R Kandel, "Conversion of Synaptic Excitation to Inhibition at a Dual Chemicval Synapse" J. Neurophysiology 34:56-68, 1971.

Wilkie A Wilson and Howard Wachtel, "Prolonged Inhibition in Burst Firing Neurons; Synaptic inactivation of the Slow RegenerAtive Inward Current" Science 202; 772-775, 1978.