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Erich Jarvis

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Information about Erich Jarvis

Profile image of Erich Jarvis

Profession

Category:
ScienceMakers
Occupation(s):
Neurobiologist

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Blue
Favorite Food:
Greens (Collard)
Favorite Time of Year:
Spring
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Brazil
Favorite Quote:
It doesn't matter what you do in life, do it well.

Birthplace

Born:
5/6/1965
Birth Location:
New York, New York

Profession

Category:
ScienceMakers
Occupation(s):
Neurobiologist

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Blue
Favorite Food:
Greens (Collard)
Favorite Time of Year:
Spring
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Brazil
Favorite Quote:
It doesn't matter what you do in life, do it well.

Birthplace

Born:
5/6/1965
Birth Location:
New York
See how Erich Jarvis is related to other HistoryMakers

Biography

Neurobiologist Erich D. Jarvis was born on May 6, 1965, in the Harlem neighborhood of New York City to musicians James Jarvis and Sasha Valeria McCall. Growing up in an artistic but poverty-stricken household, Jarvis found an early passion for dance, which led him to the High School of the Performing Arts. He graduated from high school in 1983 and turned down an audition for the African American dance company, Alvin Ailey to attend Hunter College. As an undergraduate, he worked as a Minority Access to Research Careers (MARC) Fellow and researched protein synthesis genes in bacteria. After obtaining his B.A. degree in mathematics and biology in 1988, Jarvis pursued his Ph.D. degree in molecular neurobiology and animal behavior at The Rockefeller University where he researched vocal learning in songbirds. He received his Ph.D. degree in 1995 and stayed at The Rockefeller University to conduct postdoctoral research.

After completing his postdoctoral research, Jarvis joined the faculty of The Rockefeller University as an adjunct assistant professor and also participated in the Science Outreach Program of New York where he taught laboratory skills to inner city high school students. He left Rockefeller in 1998 to become an assistant professor in the Department of Neurobiology at Duke University. Jarvis also served as an assistant professor in the Department of Cognitive Neuroscience and the Center for Bioinformatics and Computational Biology. In 2005, he led the Avian Brain Nomenclature Consortium, a team of twenty-eight neuroscientists, who proposed a new nomenclature for the bird brain to better reflect a bird’s similarities with mammals in cognitive abilities. Jarvis also became a tenured associate professor at Duke in 2005 and in 2008, he was chosen to become an Investigator for the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. He has been an invited contributor for several books and has published more than fifty scholarly articles.

Jarvis has been recognized as a young pioneer in his field, and his research and study of songbird neurology has won him many awards including the National Science Foundation Alan T. Waterman Award, the Dominion Award: Strong Men and Women of Excellence: African American Leaders and the National Institute for the Humanities’ Director’s Pioneer Award in 2005. He has served as the director of the Neuroscience Scholars Program for The Society of Neuroscience, a member of Duke University’s Council on Black Affairs and a founding member of the Black Collective at Duke. Jarvis and his wife, Miriam Rivas, live in Durham, North Carolina and have two children.

Erich Jarvis was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on February 20, 2012.

See how Erich Jarvis is related to other HistoryMakers
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  • Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Erich Jarvis Interview
  • Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Erich Jarvis lists his favorites
  • Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Erich Jarvis describes his mother's family history
  • Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Erich Jarvis tells about his mother
  • Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Erich Jarvis talks about life for African Americans in Harlem
  • Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Erich Jarvis talks about his parents' activism in the 1960s
  • Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Erich Jarvis describes his father's history (part 1)
  • Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Erich Jarvis describes his father's history (part 2)
  • Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Erich Jarvis talks about his family's African ancestors
  • Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Erich Jarvis talks about racial discrimination his ancestors faced
  • Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Erich Jarvis talks about ethnic diversity
  • Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Erich Jarvis talks about his father
  • Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Erich Jarvis tells how his parents met at High School of Performing Arts
  • Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Erich Jarvis talks about his father's schizophrenia and drug use
  • Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Erich Jarvis talks about his siblings
  • Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Erich Jarvis shares his earliest memories of growing up in the Bronx, Harlem and Queens
  • Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Erich Jarvis talks about his parents' separation
  • Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Erich Jarvis talks about the effects of his parents' separation
  • Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Erich Jarvis describes his elementary school and his desire to be a magician
  • Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Erich Jarvis talks about his move to Hartford, Connecticut
  • Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Erich Jarvis talks about his role models
  • Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Erich Jarvis discusses his interest in dance
  • Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Erich Jarvis talks about the cultural and religious attitudes of his family
  • Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Erich Jarvis talks about his early experience with dance
  • Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Erich Jarvis talks about his experience at the High School of Performing Arts
  • Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Erich Jarvis talks about his interest in science and his involvement in dance
  • Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Erich Jarvis talks about studying science at Hunter College
  • Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Erich Jarvis talks about his father's life and reunion with his family
  • Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Erich Jarvis describes his award-winning research on Bacillus subtilis
  • Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Erich Jarvis tells how he met his wife, Miriam, at Hunter College
  • Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Erich Jarvis describes the faculty at Hunter College
  • Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Erich Jarvis talks about his sickle cell research
  • Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Erich Jarvis talks about race and the graduate school application process
  • Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Erich Jarvis explains his research on Zebra Finches and canaries at Rockefeller University
  • Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Erich Jarvis talks about vocalization in songbirds
  • Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Erich Jarvis talks about brain mapping and animal intelligence
  • Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Erich Jarvis talks about the genetic similarity between dogs and humans
  • Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Erich Jarvis discusses increased intelligence among vocal learning species
  • Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Erich Jarvis shares his hypothesis about brain pathways in vocal learning species
  • Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Erich Jarvis talks about current research on speech pathways
  • Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Erich Jarvis talks about parrots and imitation
  • Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Erich Jarvis talks about how Snowball the cockatiel developed the ability to dance
  • Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Erich Jarvis talks about the relationship of singing, gesturing, and learning
  • Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Erich Jarvis shares his hypothesis about savants and brain connectivity
  • Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Erich Jarvis talks about his current research on vocal learning systems
  • Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Erich Jarvis talks about his father's death
  • Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Erich Jarvis discusses how his research relates to mental illness
  • Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Erich Jarvis reflects on his career at Duke University
  • Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Erich Jarvis talks about his children
  • Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Erich Jarvis talks about his hopes and concerns for the African American community
  • Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Erich Jarvis reflects on his career and his legacy
  • Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Erich Jarvis talks about his wife and their separation
  • Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Erich Jarvis comments on diversity at Duke University and the importance of perseverance
  • Tape: 8 Story: 5 - Erich Jarvis talks about how he would like to be remembered