Bill Griesar, Ph.D.

Department of Psychology
317 Cramer Hall
Portland State University
P.O. Box 751
Portland,OR 97207-0751

Office: Cramer Hall 309

phone (503) 914-7487
fax (503) 725-3904



Courses Taught

  •  PSYCH 410 Neuroscience Outreach (for those interested in teaching science in local public schools)
  • PSYCH 200 Psychology as Natural Science
  • PSYCH 347 Perception
  • PSYCH 451 Introduction to Neurophysiological Psychology
  • PSYCH 410 Advanced Neurophysiological Psychology
  • PSYCH 410 Psychopharmacology

Professional Affiliation

  • Senior Instructor, Psychology, Portland State University
  • Adjunct Instructor, Speech & Hearing Sciences, Portland State University
  • Adjunct Instructor, University Studies (Neuroscience of Creativity FRINQ), Portland State University
  • Affiliate Graduate Faculty, Behavioral Neuroscience, Oregon Health & Science University
  • Neuroscience Coordinator, NW Noggin (
  • Member, Society for Neuroscience
  • PSU Chapter Representative, Oregon/Southwest Washington Society for Neuroscience


 Sc.B., Neural Sciences, Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island

 Ph.D., Behavioral Neurosciences, Oregon Health & Science University, Portland, Oregon


Professional Background & Interests

I love teaching, and explaining how networks of linked neurons carry out complex behavior.  My dissertation in Behavioral Neuroscience at OHSU examined nicotine effects on spatial attention, time perception, and boredom in non-smokers. Some earlier (pre-2001) studies of nicotine reported cognitive improvements, but assessed changes in habitual smokers, where results may have been linked to relief from withdrawal.  I completed this research in Dr. Barry Oken's lab.


In addition to teaching in Psychology at PSU, I supervise an OHSU graduate teaching practicum, and routinely bring brains (rat, monkey, human) into K-12 classrooms in area public schools.  I’m fascinated by the power of art to engage students in STEM fields, and several of my courses (and outreach efforts) involve art projects, and collaboration with artists and arts institutions.  I also offer the chance for graduate students in psychology and neuroscience to partner with artists and jointly present lectures and events at Velo Cult, a bike shop/pub in NE Portland.


Along with Portland artist and educator Jeff Leake, I co-founded NW Noggin (Northwest Neuroscience Outreach Group:  Growing in Networks,, a robust, creative, and largely volunteer driven non-profit (EIN:  81-3885713) that brings scientists, artists and students of all ages together to share their expertise, enthuse young people about science and art, share educational resources, and inform and excite the public about ongoing, taxpayer supported psychology and neuroscience research…

Since 2012, we've offered graduates and undergraduates opportunities to communicate science through the arts to more than 20,000 academic priority students in Portland, Vancouver, San Diego and DC public schools! We’ve arranged free cross-disciplinary talks at Portland’s Velo Cult, informing thousands of community members about research, and training graduates to present their work to a lay audience.



In 2016, we brought 26 outreach volunteers to Washington DC to present brains in public schools, Congress, the White House, and the Phillips Collection! We've been recognized for our innovative outreach model by the Obama White House - specifically for bringing together students from multiple institutions, and multiple academic disciplines, and connecting them directly with the broader community. We returned to the U.S. Capitol in 2017, to present at the Society for Neuroscience conference, run a mobbed “ Art of Neuroscience” booth at the convention center, visit the National Institutes of Health, teach 700+ K-12 students in DC area schools, and bring more neuroscience and art to Congress!


We also partner with many local and national institutions, including Portland's P:ear homeless youth center, the Portland Art Museum, the Oregon National Primate Research Center, the OHSU Brain Institute, the Regional Arts and Culture Council, Caldera Arts, BioGift, the Society for Neuroscience, and the American Brain Coalition. 






Please join us in outreach! Visit us at