Prof. Jon H. Kaas
Department of Psychology, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN
Jon H. Kaas (b. September 13, 1937 in Fargo, ND, USA) received a B.A. from Northland College (Ashland, WI) in 1959 and Ph.D. in 1965 from Duke University (NC, USA) with Irving Diamond as his thesis advisor where he studied brain organization in a variety of mammalian species. From 1965 to 1968 he was a postdoctoral fellow with Clinton Woolsey at University of Wisconsin, Madison, where he studied the visual system in monkeys. Dr. Kaas is currently Distinguished, Centennial Professor of Psychology at Vanderbilt University, where he has been since 1973.
Dr. Kaas was elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 2000, and the American Academy of Arts ¬and Sciences in 2001. He received the Distinguished Scientific Contribution Award from the American Psychological Association and the Karl Spencer Lashley Award from the American Philosophical Society. He has published over 450 papers and reviews, and edited many volumes including a four-volume series "The Evolution of Nervous Systems" in 2007.
Current research includes investigations of the somatosensory, auditory and motor systems in a range of mammals including a number of species of prosimian and simian primates, as well as the study of brain material obtained after natural death from apes and humans. Researchers in the Kaas laboratory have published extensively on the organization of sensory and motor systems in primates, the plasticity of these systems in developing and mature brains, and the coding properties of neurons in these systems, especially somatosensory cortex. Many studies are concerned with how brains differ in organization across species in order to deduce how complex brains such as the human brain evolved. A relatively new focus of investigation focuses on how numbers of neurons scale with brain size and size of brain parts.