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Professor Hoffman joined ASU in 1986 in the Department of Botany and Microbiology, which more recently has become the School of Life Sciences. He is an immunologist, neuroscientist and philosopher who has studied how the immune system and brain interact. He and his collaborators explored how the immune system can affect the nervous system and lead to mental disorders, and also how psychosocial factors can influence the immune system. Currently, he approaches his prior research from philosophical perspectives. He investigates how new scientific areas (such as immunoneuropsychology) impact age-old philosophical issues, and conversely, how philosophy impacts these sciences. His work has implications for understanding the mind and its relation to the brain, as well as to self and personal identity, thereby, influencing views on bioethical and social issues. Recently, his research has contributed to discussions of enhancement technologies in medicine and transhumanist philosophies.
Professor Hoffman's bachelor’s degree was in Chemistry, while his doctoral degree was in Philosophy. His philosophical studies focused on the philosophy of science and mind with his thesis research, under the guidance of Professor David Hawkins, on consciousness and neurophysiological processes. While pursuing graduate studies in philosophy, I continued my studies in science. Most of my early independent laboratory research concerned the molecular basis of memory. This work was conducted at the Institute of Behavioral Genetics in Boulder in the laboratory of Dr. J.W. MacInnes. The major goal of this work was concerned with determining the role of glial cells in learning and memory, studying the relative changes in protein synthesis in neuronal and glial cell fractions of the hippocampus and diencephalon after avoidance conditioning.
Prior to coming to ASU, he was an assistant professor in the Brain Sciences Laboratories, directed by Dr. David Shucard at the National Jewish Hospital and Research Center (NJHRC), and the Department of Psychiatry, University of Colorado Health Sciences Center. His research dealt with relations between mind, the central nervous system (CNS) and the immune system (IS). This work began with his postdoctoral training in the laboratory of Dr. Ron Harbeck, Section of Immunology, Department of Medicine, NJHRC. It involved understanding the molecular and cellular foundations of specific immunological assault, in the CNS, on behavioral and neurophysiological processes.
My current research focuses on philosophic interests, viz., ImmunoPhilosophy, trying to integrate philosophy and immunology, including: (1) The Immunologic Self. Problems associated with self and personal identity. Can immunologic perspectives help philosophers better understand the concept of self and, conversely, can philosophers help immunologists in their research. ; (2) Immunoneuropsychology (INP) and the mind-body problem. Does INP have implications for better understanding how neurophysiological processes and mind are related? What are the conceptual/theoretical foundations of INP? (3) Immunoneuropsychology and socio-ethical issues.
<p>American Philosophical Association American Association of Immunologists Society for Neuroscience</p>