John W. Moore
Professor Emeritus of Neurobiology

John Wilson Moore initially became known for elucidating the action of tetrodotoxin and other neurotoxins using his innovative sucrose gap method for voltage clamping squid axon. He also was a pioneer in the nascent area of computational neuroscience, using computer simulations in parallel with experiments to predict experimental results and thus validate the concepts used in modeling. Intrigued by the possibility of applying his knowledge of physics to learn how neurons employ electricity to generate and transmit signals, he led the field in exploring how ion channels and neuronal morphology affect excitation and signal propagation. He developed electronic instrumentation of high precision for electrophysiology, the result of experience gained through an unconventional career path: early training in physics, assignments involving feedback in the Manhattan Project, and learning principles of operational amplifiers at the RCA Laboratories. His summers at the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, MA, now exceeding 65, made much of his work possible and established the MBL as his intellectual home. In retirement, he developed the educational software Neurons in Action, coauthored with his wife Ann Stuart, that is now internationally used as a learning tool in neurophysiology. 

When boardsailing began, I was an early adopter at age 60 and it became my favorite sport because the thrill/risk ratio was so high. This photo was taken when I was 70 but I had to give up windsurfing at age 80, 15 years ago.

Because a Federal law then in effect (for it's last year 1990), required faculty to retire at age 70, I became:

Professor Emeritus of the Dept. Neurobiology Duke Univ. Med. Center Durham NC 27710 - e-mail:

Nevertheless, I continued to carry out NIH funded research until my grant ran out. Then I developed a unique new "learning tool" for students to explore the electrophysiology of nerve cells. This tool utilizes a web browser to view a wide variety of tutorials and to launch appropriate simulations for the reader/student to learn how nerve cells work. For example, they learn how action potentials are generated by ion channels and propagated through a cell's complex branching structure. The user gains insight into problems such as the interactions of drugs and toxins with ion channels by asking questions, either guided by the text or by one's own curiosity. 

This learning tool is called Neurons in Action, now in second version (NIA2), and incorporates the computer simulation environment NEURON which was developed at Duke. 

Latest invited publication:

Enhancing the Hodgkin-Huxley Equations: Simulations Based on the First Publication in the Biophysical Journal    

PubMed   (Biophys J. 2015 Oct 6;109(7):1317-20. doi: 10.1016/j.bpj.2015.08.008).

Current Appointments & Affiliations

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