Franco Taverna is an Associate Professor, Teaching Stream in the Human Biology Program in the Faculty of Arts & Science.
His doctoral and postdoctoral research was in neuroscience, studying synaptic plasticity, learning and memory, neurodegenerative diseases, and the network function of hippocampal place cells in spatial behaviour.
He began his teaching career in 2002 in the Department of Psychology teaching large second-year courses in Physiological Psychology and Learning and Memory, and has been with the Human Biology Program since 2007.
He teaches the large second-year Introduction to Neuroscience core course, in person and online. He also teaches several fourth-year courses in Neuroscience and Health and Disease, two of which feature community engaged learning components. Health in Community (HMB490Y) provides students the opportunity to develop career-oriented skills, to collaborate with community partners, and to design and develop projects using human-centred design principles, in the context of promoting health and quality of life within the community. Dementia (HMB440H) explores the neurobiological and social aspects of aging and dementia. Students are provided the opportunity to become friendly visitors to seniors living in long-term care and to learn about innovative long-term care facility models including the famed “Dementia Village” during an international course module in the Netherlands. He has also coordinated the upper-year research project courses offered by Human Biology, providing over 150 students each year with advanced research project opportunities in local and international labs.
Professor Taverna was the recipient of the Faculty of Arts & Science Outstanding Teaching Award in 2019, is a member of the Faculty of Arts & Science Online Learning Academy, and was appointed the Faculty of Arts & Science Experiential Learning Advisor in July 2021.
He has received numerous pedagogical research grants for online teaching and learning and for the development of experiential learning courses. He has also collaborated on several other grant funded projects including fostering student learning and engagement in large classes using the TeamUp! group work and assessment app, developing scientific writing skills across the curriculum, and the development of online open-source neuroscience learning resources.