Ralph Imondi

A native Rhode Islander, Ralph is one of CMB’s founding Scientific Co-Directors.  He received his M.A. in behavioral neuroscience from the Department of Psychology at Bucknell University (PA), where he studied the brain pathways that control ultrasound production and other forms of reproductive behavior in mammals.  During his doctoral studies at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine (NY), Ralph redirected his focus of study to nervous system development and the identification of molecular navigational cues that control the hard-wiring of the spinal cord. Ralph later pursued his postdoctoral studies in the Department of Biological Chemistry at UCLA/Howard Hughes Medical Institute, and later in the Molecular Neurobiology Laboratory at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies (La Jolla, CA).  Throughout his postdoctoral research, Ralph learned and applied genetic tools to study visual system development and to develop new genetic technology for the identification and study of neural circuits. Ralph made a radical shift to marine science and coral reef biology as a research associate at UCSB’s Institute for Collaborative Biotechnologies, where he initiated studies of coral recruitment and development using tools borrowed from the area of genomics. In the field, Ralph has served as a volunteer for the NOAA/Southwest Fisheries Science Center Green Turtle Project in San Diego, and as a UCSB research team member for coral reef restoration projects conducted in the Caribbean (Caraïbisch Marien-Biologisch Instituut, Curacao, Netherlands Antilles) and West Pacific (Palau International Coral Reef Center, Koror, Republic of Palau).  Ralph’s unusually diverse scientific training and technical skills are reflected in CMB’s teaching philosophy and program design. 

Our goal isn’t to make scientists out of every student.  Instead, we’re using science as a strategy to put students in the center of an authentic working environment where they’re free to ask questions, to communicate and work together as a team, to think creatively about tough questions, and to tackle these questions with advanced tools.  This is what characterizes scientific research settings. It’s a time tested approach that works remarkably well for students at higher levels of education — and it’s what we’ve modeled our entire program around.


Licenses and Certifications

United States Coast Guard (USCG) licensed Captain, Master of Steam and Motor Vessels (1133168)

Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI) certified Rescue Diver (0507059538)

American Academy of Underwater Sciences (AAUS) certified Research Diver

Emergency First Response Corp. certified Emergency First Responder (0508061884)


Selected Publications

Imondi, R.
, Jevince, A.R., Helms, A.W., Johnson, J.E. and Kaprielian, Z. (2007). Mis-expression of L1 on pre-crossing spinal commissural axons disrupts pathfinding at the ventral midline. Molecular and Cellular Neuroscience, 36, 462-471.

Imondi, R. and Thomas, J.B. (2003).  The Ups and Downs of Wnt Signaling.  Science, 302, 1903-1904.

Imondi, R. and Kaprielian, Z. (2001).  Commissural Axon Pathfinding on the Contralateral Side of the Floor Plate: a Role for B-Class Ephrins in Specifying the Dorsoventral Position of Longitudinally-Projecting Commissural Axons. Development, 128, 4859-4871.

Imondi, R., Wideman, C. and Kaprielian, Z.  (2000).  Complementary expression of transmembrane ephrins and their receptors in the mouse spinal cord:  a possible role in constraining the orientation of longitudinally-projecting axons. Development, 127, 1397-1410.

Imondi, R. and Floody, O.R. (1998).  Separation of septal influences on lordosis, ultrasound production, and body weight. Physiology and Behavior, 63, 481-488.


Personal Interests

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