Carnegie Mellon University

DJ Brasier

DJ Brasier

Assistant Teaching Professor & Neuroscience Program Coordinator, Biological Sciences

4400 Fifth Ave
Pittsburgh, PA 15213


DJ Brasier has been at CMU since Fall 2012


Postdoctoral Fellow, University of California, San Francisco, 2008-2012
Postdoctoral Fellow, Salk Institute, 2007-2008
PhD, Neurosciences, University of California, San Diego, 2007
MS, Neurosciences, University of California, San Diego, 2005
BA, Biology & Philosophy, Rice University, 2002


In working with students to get them involved in understanding how scientists ask questions, think about problems, and communicate their results, I also serve as CMU's faculty advisor to a team of reviewers who work for IMPULSE: The Pemier Undergraduate Neuroscience Journal.  In working with undergraduate students, I help them to publish their results in IMPULSE or in other peer-reviewed journals.


  1. Feedforward model of inputs to layers 2 & 3 of somatosensory cortex
  2. Modeling release probability and postsynaptic sensitivity of inhibitory interneurons in somatosensory cortex
  3. Compartmental models of inhibitory inputs onto excitatory neurons in layer 2 of somatosensory cortex
  4. The role of dendritic inputs in a compartmental model of spontaneously firing neurons in the motor system


Gittis AH, Brasier DJ. (2015) Astrocytes Tell Neurons When to Listen Up. Science 349(6249):690-691. (Neuroscience preview)

Pedagogical Research

The story of science is not merely the story of facts and theories, it is a story of the lives and passions of scientists. 

As part of my mission to teach biology and neuroscience, I am interested in doing research into how to best teach students in collaboration with CMU's Eberly Center for Teaching Excellence & Educational Innovation.  My primary research interest is to demonstrate that students, even in early stages of their undergraduate career, learn concepts effectively and engage more deeply in material when they are exposed to critical evaluation of original scientific publications, rather than traditional textbook-and-lecture approaches.

Pedagogical Publications

Willard AM, Brasier DJ. (2014) Controversies in Neuroscience: A Literature-Based Course for First year Undergraduates that Improves Scientific Confidence While Teaching Concepts. J Undergrad Neurosci Educ 12(2):A159-A166.

Harrington IA, Grisham W, Brasier DJ, Gallagher SP, Gizerian SS, Gordon RG, Hagenauer MH, Linden ML, Lom B, Olivo R, Sandstrom NJ, Stough S, Vilinsky I, Wiest MC. An Instructor's Guide to (Some of) the Most Amazing Papers in Neuroscience. J Undergrad Neurosci Educ 14(1):R3-R14. (Neuroscience review)

Compiled playlists on biology and neuroscience (and other topics) here.