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Zachary Raymond Ernst, Ph.D.

540 Mandana Blvd., Oakland, CA, 94610 734.707.9224


I seek to combine my expertise in programming, design, and data analysis with my desire to create a more sustainable society. My doctorate in neuroscience gives me in-depth programming, data analysis, and statistical skill sets as well as an aptitude for quickly learning new quantitative methods. In addition, I learned how to craft presentations to match the technical expertise of my audience and to use graphics and plots to better convey the trends and statistical structure within a data set. I am confident leading classrooms discussions, and have taken lead roles in developing protocols to standardize practice and increase workplace efficiency.

As an advocate for renewable energy, collaborative consumption, and sustainability, I found academic research interesting, but seek to have a more direct impact by harnessing the power of big data to improve how systems function (like a smarter energy grid) and how people interact with them (by providing individuals access to their own data and tools to make sense of it). I believe that my generation will be defined not by traditional markers of economic growth, but to the extent to which we succeed in creating a more sustainable world and equitable global society.


Doctor of Philosophy


Psychology: Cognition & Perception, University of Washington Dr. Geoffrey M. Boynton (advisor)

Conducted original functional MRI, EEG, and behavioral research in cognitive neuroscience

Top Scholar Award, 2007


Bachelor of Science Film & Physics, Northwestern University


Dean’s List, 2003 & 2005


Quantitative programming (MATLAB, Python, MySQL), data analysis, statistics, machine learning, linear algebra, calculus, image & signal processing, behavioral research methods

Design data visualization, graphical design (Adobe Illustrator/Photoshop), 3D modeling (Google SketchUp, Blender), video editing (Final Cut Pro), industrial fabrication (laser cutter, CNC router, PartWorks), wood work & carpentry

Presentation analytical writing, presenting quantitative information to wide audiences, teaching, public speaking, conversational French


ZR Ernst, GM Boynton, & M Jazayeri (accepted for publication). The spread of attention across features of a surface. Journal of Neurophysiology.

ZR Ernst, J Palmer, & GM Boynton (2012). Dividing attention between two transparent motion surfaces results in a failure of selective attention. Journal of Vision.

MB Manookin, DL Beaudoin, ZR Ernst, LJ Flagel, & JB Demb (2008). Disinhibition combines with excitation to extend the operating range of the OFF visual pathway. Journal of Neuroscience.


Data Analytics Fourth Sector Strategies (sustainability consulting firm)


Used MATLAB to analyze CoStar databases on buildings in several Bay Area cities to develop a strategic action plan for energy efficiency improvements



Institute for Learning & Brain Sciences, Seattle, WA. Dr. Adrian KC Lee (principle investigator)

Developed package of standardize functions in MATLAB to be used for stimulus presentation, data collection, and I/O management

Cabinet/Furniture Design and Fabrication


Theorem Designs, Tulsa, OK. Eric Fransen (master craftsman)

High-end cabinet and furniture design, production, and installation

Use Adobe Illustrator, Google SketchUp, and machine interface software to perform automated cutting and engraving routines for CNC router and laser cutter

Research Assistant


University of Michigan, Ann Arbor Dr. Jonathan Demb (principle investigator)

Worked on independent project to adapt surgical and electrophysiological techniques to perform single-cell recordings in new mouse model

MATLAB programming, data analysis, and image processing


Developed automated image processing code featured in Manookin et al. (2008)

Ecology Restoration Intern Chicago Audubon Society & Cook County Forest Preserve, Evanston, IL. Stephen Packard (wilderness steward)


Managed 90-acre wilderness prairie preserve


Sensory and Perceptual Processes University of Washington


Urban Self Reliance: Bicycle Maintenance Seattle Public Library


Laboratory in Human Performance University of Washington


Introduction to Probability and Statistics for Psychology University of Washington



environmental protection, renewable energy, sustainability & design | understanding how things work, self-education, DIY | repurposing found materials and making things: industrial design & production, furniture, sewing | sports with a view: hiking, biking, climbing, skiing, etc. | abstract strategy games (e.g. Chess, Go, etc.) and German style board games involving resource management and economics

Zach Ernst

540 Mandana Blvd., Oakland, CA, 94610 • 734.707.9224 •