Kevin B. Clark BCS Alumni News | Psychology | SIU

Southern Illinois University



College of Liberal Arts

Kevin B. Clark

Kevin B. Clark earned his Ph.D. from the SIU Department of Psychology in 1999. He has held basic and/or clinical research appointments at Oregon State University, Southern Illinois University, and the Max-Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics. Among other professional activities, Dr. Clark has served as member of many professional societies, editor for professional journals and technical books, governing board member of a Harvard-based science and technology think tank, and long-time consultant and collaborator to the Veterans Affairs Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System. He also has (co)authored over 50 peer-review scientific journal articles and book chapters, helped generate around 2,000,000 USD in research funding, and licensed several patents. Dr. Clark has spent much of his research career using his training in disciplines of engineering, psychology, biochemistry/biophysics, physiology, neuroscience, and microbiology to study the evolution and biological basis of learning, memory, and intelligence. Dr. Clark’s award-winning research and patented inventions improving learning, memory, and recovery from traumatic brain injury through peripheral neuromodulation gained recognition from MacArthur fellow Dr. James McGaugh and other members of the National Academy of Sciences, USA. Later comparative primate studies conducted with systems neuroscientist Dr. Nikos Logothetis focused on Dr. Clark’s interests in the neural basis of cognition across animal phylogeny, particularly cross-taxa models of perceptual and conceptual priming. Some of this research provided impetus for Dr. Clark’s current work on statistical mechanics properties of cognitive processing. His broader interests in the evolution of intelligent behavior largely began in graduate school while working with molecular and cellular evolutionist Dr. Sidney Fox, student and colleague of Nobelists Thomas Morgan and Linus Pauling, on protocell models of learning and memory and continue today with studies involving microbial socialty. By creating paradigms comparing microbial goal-directed behavior with animal decision making, Dr. Clark has shown microbes learn to behave as soft-matter quantum computers, abilities mediated by quantum Hebbian network attributes and Ca2+-dependent molecular logics and cell-response regulation. The major implications of Dr. Clark’s ground-breaking findings extend to many topics, including host-parasite and pathogen-pathogen interactions, cellular decision making, natural computing, pharmaceutical and epidemiological control of infectious diseases, neural and aneural plasticity, adaptation to extreme environments, emergence of evolutionary and developmental transitions, and next-generation smart medical, industrial, and national defense biotechnologies.