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Nathaniel J. Thom, Ph.D.

Neuroscience Certificate

Assistant Professor of Biology
On Faculty since 2013

Office: SCI 222
Phone: (630)752-7112
Fax: (630)752-7278


Postdoctoral Fellowship, Operational Neuroscience, Naval Health Research Center - San Diego, 2009-2013

Ph.D. Exercise Science, University of Georgia, 2009

M.S. Exercise Science, University of Georgia, 2005

B.S. Biology, University of Wisconsin - Madison, 2001

Full Curriculum Vitae (PDF)

Courses Taught

  • BIOL 241 - College Biology I (Fall 2015)
  • BIOL 386 - Special Topics - Neurobiology (Fall 2015)
  • AHS 371 - Clinical Kinesiology
  • AHS 381 - Epidemiology
  • AHS 101 - Wellness


Membership in Professional Societies

  • Society for Neuroscience
  • Society for Psychophysiological Research
  • American College of Sports Medicine


Research Interests

Broadly, I am interested in modifying factors that promote an adaptive response to stress. More specifically, I employ psycho-physiological and neuroimaging methods to better understand how physical and mental training programs alter brain-behavior relationships in ways that promote a healthy response to and recovery from stress. My research evaluating interventions to promote physical activity has also provided me with an interest in advanced statistical techniques including meta-regression and structural equation modeling, which I also employ when analyzing brain imaging data. For more information please see my personal website.

In addition, I am currently working with undergraduate Wheaton College students on a study that looks at resilience among aid workers. We hope to eventually equip aid-workers with tools to help them prepare for, respond to, and successfully recover from the stressors of humanitarian efforts.

Key Publications

Johnson, D.C., Thom, N.J., Stanley, E.A., Haase, L., Shih, P.B., Thompson, W.K., Potterate, E.G., Minor, T.R., & Paulus, M.P. Modifying resilience mechanisms in at-risk individuals: A controlled study of mindfulness training in Marines preparing for deployment. (2014). American Journal of Psychiatry. (Impact factor: 14.7)

Haase, L., Thom, N.J., Shukla, A., Davenport, P.W., Simmons, A., Paulus, M.P. & Johnson, D.C. Mindfulness-based training attenuates insula response to an aversive challenge. (2014). Social, Cognitive, and Affective Neuroscience. (Impact factor: 6.8)

Thom, N.J.,Knight, J., Dishman, R.K., Sabatinelli, D., Johnson, D.C., & Clementz, B.A.  Emotional scenes elicit more pronounced self-reported emotional experience and greater EPN and LPP modulation when compared to emotional faces.  (2013).  Cognitive, Affective, and Behavioral NeuroscienceRead article >>

Thom, N.J., Johnson, D.C., Flagan, T., Simmons, A.N., Gillis, K., Kotturi, S.,Van Orden, K.F., Potterat, E., Swain, J.L., & Paulus, M.P.  (2012) Detecting emotion in others:  increased insula and decreased medial prefrontal cortex activation during emotion processing in elite adventure racers. Social, Cognitive, and Affective Neuroscience.

Rooks, C.R.,Thom, N.J.,McCully, K., & Dishman, R.K.  (2010).  Effects of incremental exercise on cerebral oxygenation measured by near-infrared spectroscopy: a systematic review.  Progress in Neurobiology, 92(2), 134-150.

Dishman, R.K.,Thom, N.J., Puetz T.W., O’Connor, P.O., & Clementz, B.A.  (2010).   Effects of cycling exercise on vigor, fatigue and electroencephalographic activity among young adults who report persistent fatigue.  Psychophysiology, 47(6), 1066-1074.

Dishman, R.K., Thom, N.J., Rooks, C.R., Motl, R.W., Matthai, C.M., & Nigg, C.  (2009).  Failure of post-action stages of the transtheoretical model to predict change in regular physical activity: A multi-ethnic cohort study. Annals of Behavioral Medicine 37(3), 280-293.