Thomas Gould named head of Department of Biobehavioral Health

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Thomas J. Gould has been named head of the Department of Biobehavioral Health in the College of Health and Human Development at Penn State. In this role, he will hold the Jean Phillips Shibley Professorship of Biobehavioral Health.

Gould joins Penn State, effective July 1, after serving as professor of psychology and director of the program in neuroscience at Temple University in Philadelphia.

Gould said he is excited to serve as department head because Biobehavioral Health is a leader in its field of study. Biobehavioral Health is a strong and growing department, and he looks forward to supporting its growth in a variety of ways.

“For college education to remain relevant, it must evolve to meet the needs of a complex and truly global world,” Gould said. “The ability to examine health issues with integrative and innovative approaches will aid in solving the problems of today while training the minds that will tackle the problems of tomorrow. To be a part of this mission with the accomplished faculty and the outstanding students is what makes Biobehavioral Health very appealing. One challenge is to find ways to not only maintain excellence but grow in novel and exciting ways.”

Gould’s research background has focused on nicotine addiction and understanding the contribution of genetics to changes in brain and behavior after nicotine exposure. He investigates the long-term impact of developmental nicotine exposure on brain and behavior, primarily examining changes in learning-related processes and in underlying brain regions. Additionally, he seeks to understand the comorbidity between nicotine exposure and anxiety disorders.

“Tom brings a great neuroscience skill set to Biobehavioral Health and is an award-winning teacher who brings relevant administrative experience to his new position,” said Ann C. Crouter, Raymond E. and Erin Stuart Schultz Dean of the College of Health and Human Development. “Tom's research interest in nicotine addiction is a terrific fit with the interests of some of our other faculty members. He will also be a thoughtful member of our college's executive committee, bringing valuable insight and experience that will help the college overall.”

Gould said he has a special connection to Big Ten schools, which is another reason Penn State was so attractive to him.

“The Big Ten has been very influential in who I have become,” he said. “It was as an undergraduate at the University of Wisconsin that I not only found my passion for research and learning but also fell in love with academia and all that it could be. And it was at Indiana University that this passion grew and new ones developed, and that is where I met my wife. When I walked across the campus of Penn State during my interview, I felt as if I had come back home.”

Gould received his doctoral degree in psychology and neural science from Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana, and his bachelor’s degree in psychology from University of Wisconsin in Madison, Wisconsin.

Contacts: 
Last Updated July 18, 2016