WesternU Home » Faculty & Staff bios

Philip Brownell,

Vice Chair, Basic Medical Sciences
Professor of Physiology

College of Osteopathic Medicine of the Pacific - Northwest

E-Mail: pbrownell@westernu.edu

Phone: (541) 259-0228 | Join year: 2011


Postdoctoral Fellow,Neurobiology, University of California, San Francisco, 1976-1979
Ph.D., Biology, University of California, Riverside,1976
BA, Zoology, University of California, Berkeley,1970

Education Experience

  • Natural history TV programming for National Geographic (Granada Productions-2001) 
  • BBC (“Sensitive Scorpion”(2004) 
  • “Life in the Undergrowth” (2005) with Attenborough productions).
  • Public lectures and presentations for Eugene Natural History Society (2002);
  • Adams and Wilson Elementary Schools (2002); Corvallis Rotary Club (2003);
  • DaVinci Days (2002); Science Connections (2001, 2004); Sierra Club (2003);
  • Discovery Days (2004); Northern California Herpetological Society (2006).
  • Currently scientific advisor for National Geographic documentary focusing on desert ecosystems.

Teaching Experience

Professor of Physiology, Vice-Chair of Basic Medical Sciences, College of Osteopathic Medicine, Western University of Health Sciences., 2011-present
Emeritis Professor of Zoology, Oregon State University, 2010-present
Professor of Zoology, Oregon State University, 1996-2010 
Associate Professor of Zoology, Oregon State University, 1985-95
Assistant Professor of Zoology, Oregon State University, 1979-85 


Medical Physiology

Research Grant

  • American Heart Association. “Neurohormonal control of cardiovisceral function in Aplysia”, P.H. Brownell, P.I., 7/80 to 6/83 $49,610.
  • National Institutes of Health. “Neuroendocrine mechanisms of behavior in Aplysia”, P.H. Brownell, P.I., 7/82 to 6/85 $203,550.
  • Oregon Heart Association. “Neuropeptide actions on a vasomotor system in Aplysia”, P.H. Brownell, P.I., 2/86 to 1/87. $21,136.
  • National Science Foundation. “A pheromonal chemosensory system in scorpions.” P.H. Brownell, P.I., 7/87 - 6/91. $160,741.
  • German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD). Research funding for visiting scientists (Summer, 1990). $6,000.
  • National Science Foundation. “Structure and function of a topographic chemosensory system.” P.H. Brownell, P.I. 7/94 to 6/99). $220,869.
  • National Science Foundation. (Supplement to “Structure and function of a topographic chemosensory system.” P.H. Brownell, P.I. $9,226.
  • German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), 2000). Funds for support of visiting scholars. $4,000.
  • National Research Center Grant (CNRS), France, 2000). "Pheromones of scorpions." $8,000.
  • Fulbright Foundation Senior Exchange Scholarship (Germany, 2006). $13,500. “The neuronal basis of a complex behavior” (1980) $10,000; OSU Biomedical Research Foundation (co-P.I.). “Scanning laser densitometer” (1986) $20,000; OSU Research Council. "Pheromone receptor genes in scorpions" (1992) $4,000. 


  • Society for Neuroscience
  • American Association for Advancement of Science (AAAS)
  • International Society for Neuroethology
  • Association for Chemoreception Sciences
  • Union of Concerned Scientists


  • Brownell, P.H. and R.D. Farley. 1974. The organization of the malleolar sensory system in the solpugid, Chanbria, sp. Tissue and Cell, 6:471-485.
  • Brownell, P.H. 1977. Compressional and surface waves in sand: Used by desert scorpions to locate prey. Science, 197:479-482.
  • Branton, W.D., E. Mayeri, P. Brownell, S. Simon. 1978. Evidence for local hormonal communication between neurons in Aplysia. Nature, 274:70-72.
  • Brownell, P.H. and R.D. Farley. 1979. Orientation to vibrations in sand by the nocturnal scorpion Paruroctonus mesaensis: Mechanism of target localization. J. Comp. Physiol., 131:31-38.
  • Brownell, P.H. and E. Mayeri. 1979. Prolonged inhibition of bursting pacemaker neurons by neuroendocrine cells in Aplysia. Science, 204:417-420.
  • Brownell, P.H. 1984. Prey detection by the sand scorpion. Scientific American, 251:86-97.
  • Mayeri, E. Rothman, B.S., Brownell, P.H., Branton, W.D., and L. Padgett. 1985. Nonsynaptic characteristics of neurotransmission mediated by Egg-Laying Hormone in the abdominal ganglion of Aplysia. J. Neuroscience, 5:2060-2077.
  • Furgal, S.M. and P.H. Brownell. 1987. Ganglionic circulation and its effects of neurons controlling cardiovascular functions in Aplysia. J. Exp. Zool., 244:347-364.
  • Wiens, B.L. and P.H. Brownell. 1990. Characterization of cardiac innervation in the nudibranch, Archidoris montereyensis. J. Comp. Physiol., 167:51-60.
  • Brownell, P. and S.H. Ligman. 1992. Mechanisms of circulatory homeostasis and response in Aplysia. Experientia 48:818-827.
  • Brownell, P.H., Morgan, J.L.M. and S.H. Ligman. 1992. A survey of peptide actions on motorneurons regulating circulatory and respiratory functions in Aplysia. In: Comparative Physiology, vol. 11, eds. Hill, Kuwasawa, McMahon, Kuramoto., pp. 199-210. Karger, Basel.
  • Gaffin, D. and P. Brownell. 1992. Evidence of chemical signaling in the sand scorpion, Paruroctonus mesaensis (Scorpionida: Vaejovidae) Ethology, 91:59-69.
  • Gaffin, D., Wennstrom, K., and P. Brownell. 1992. Water detection in the desert sand scorpion, Paruroctonus mesaensis (Scorpionida: Vaejovidae). J. Comp. Physiol., 170:623-629.
  • Wiens, B.W. and P.H. Brownell. 1994. Neuroendocrine control of egg-laying behavior in the nudibranch, Archidoris montereyensis. J. Comp. Neurol., 344:619-625.
  • Wiens, B.L. and P.H. Brownell. 1995. Neurotransmitter regulation of the heart in the nudibranch, Archidoris montereyensis. J. Neurophysiol., 74:1639-1651.)
  • Gaffin, D. and P.H. Brownell. 1997. Response properties of chemosensory peg sensilla on the pectines of scorpions. J. Comp Physiol. 181:291-300.
  • Gaffin, D. and P.H. Brownell. 1997. Electrophysiological evidence of synaptic interactions within chemosensory sensilla of scorpion pectines. J. Comp Physiol. 181:301-307.
  • Brownell, P.H. 1998. Glomerular cytoarchitectures in chemosensory systems of arachnids. New York Acad. Sci 855:502-507.
  • Brownell, P.H. and G.A Polis. Introduction. In: Scorpion Biology and Research (eds. P. Brownell and G. Polis) Oxford University Press, 2001
  • Lighton, J.R., P. Brownell, B. Joos and R. Turner. (2001) Low metabolic rate in scorpions: implications for population biomass and cannibalism. J. Exp. Biol. 204:607-613.
  • Brownell, P.H. and J.L. van Hemmen (2001) Vibration sensitivity and a computational theory for prey-localizing behavior in sand scorpions. Am. Zool. 41:1229-1240.
  • Brownell, P.H, G.A Polis, eds. Scorpion Biology and Research. Oxford University Press, 2001.
  • Brownell, PH. (2003). Cytoarchitecture of a topographically organized chemosensory system in the sand scorpion, Paruroctonus mesaensis. Internat. Congr. Neuroethol., 14:197
  • Brownell, PH and Grothe, B. (2010) Vibration signal processing by tarsal slit sensilla of sand scorpions. Internat. Congr. Neuroethology:17: 706.