Renowned Neuroscientist Dr. David Felten Rejoins Keuka College’s Faculty

The nationally known educator marks his return to campus as the College’s first Distinguished Scholar in Residence.

Friday, October 15, 2021

A nationally recognized neuroscientist has made Keuka College his professional home.

In collaboration between Keuka College’s School of Health and Human Services and the Division of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, Dr. David Felten, who taught on campus in the mid-1990s, has rejoined the College’s faculty as a Visiting Clinical Professor of Neuroscience and the College’s first Distinguished Scholar in Residence. 

“At that time, I taught neuroscience courses to occupational therapy students and I absolutely loved it,” says Dr. Felten said of his first College spell. “I love teaching OT students, and I am adamant that OTs are the key to neurorehabilitation. They are very good at figuring out how to help people either regain independence or become independent.”

His return was quite serendipitous, says Founding Dean of the School of Health and Human Services and Professor of Occupational Therapy Dr. Chris Alterio
“One of our current OT students had a conversation with Dr. Felten’s wife, who then relayed the encounter back to Dr. Felten, who then reached out to me,” says Dr. Alterio, who co-taught neuroscience labs with Dr. Felten in the 1990s. “His return is tremendous for our students.”

The principal author of the widely used Netter’s Atlas of Neuroscience, Dr. Felten’s research contributions helped establish the field of psychoneuroimmunology (which studies the effect of the mind on health, immune reactivity, and resistance to disease) and lay the foundations for the physiological understanding of complementary and integrative medicine.

“The field of neuroscience is endlessly fascinating and endlessly challenging,” says Dr. Felten. “How the brain works is still one of the awesome fields of knowledge we don’t know. And I have said that, even after 50 years, I have the equivalent understanding of how the brain works as perhaps a teaspoonful of water out of the Pacific Ocean.”
Dr. Felten is contributing to the College’s BIO 343 Neuroanatomy course and is assisting with several other initiatives, including the development of additional clinical neuroscience courses, adding his knowledge of stress responses and cell-mediated immunity to the Mental Health and Wellness Taskforce. He’ll also be offering lectures and presentations on campus and in the community.

“In addition, other neuroscience courses and guest lectures for the divisions of Nursing and Applied Health and Wellness are being planned, as are presentations with more broad appeal related to the neuroscience of stress and mental health and how that impacts our overall health,” says Dr. Alterio. “Dr. Felten is a prolific scholar and we are incredibly fortunate to have him back on our campus.”
The feeling is mutual.

I have an inherent joy in teaching. I just really love this stuff, and it’s fun and rewarding putting together understandable collections of information for students.

Dr. David Felten

The author of more than 200 peer-reviewed publications in research, medicine, and business, most on links between the nervous system and immune system, Dr. Felten has delivered 100 major addresses and presentations at national and international symposia and scientific meetings, including many prestigious lectureships. 
Dr. Felten received a B.S. from MIT, and an M.D. and Ph.D. in anatomy/neuroscience from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. For his pioneering findings in neural-immune interactions, he received the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Prize Fellowship and has twice been nominated for a Lasker Prize.