As of April 1, 2023, Dr. Detlef Heck will take the helm of the Biomedical Sciences Department at the Medical School, Duluth Campus, as the new Department Head. Dr. Heck has over 30 years of experience in neuroscience research and higher education, and we are looking forward to his leadership. 

Dr. Heck hails from Germany, where he earned his PhD from the Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics and the University of Tübingen. Following postdoctoral work in both Germany and Washington University in St Louis, he then served as an assistant professor in the Department of Neurobiology and Biophysics at Albert Ludwigs University, Freiburg, Germany. In 2004, he joined the Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center where he is currently Professor and Vice-Chair of Research.

Dr. Heck has a wealth of knowledge and experience in the structure and function of the cerebellar cortical network, cerebrocerebellar interaction, neuronal mechanisms of cerebellar cognitive function and the influence of breathing on brain activity. He has an international research reputation and is currently working on projects that involve interdisciplinary neuroscience research, most notably a proposal for the NSF entitled “Brain-Inspired Computational Framework for Engineering Sustainable Artificial Intelligence for Critical Network Systems.”

Dr. Heck is also interested in community outreach and has shared his enthusiasm for neuroscience with brain awareness presentations in the US as well as beyond the US borders. He is well acquainted with India, where he traveled several times to teach neuroscience to Tibetan Buddhist monks on a project that was introduced by the Dalai Lama and Emory University.

Dr. Heck is looking forward to leading the Biomedical Sciences Department with a focus on neuroscience, multidisciplinary research and health issues relevant to rural and Native American communities.  Administrators, faculty, and staff are eager to support Dr. Heck’s vision and ambitions for the department.