Rhea Kimpo

Rhea Kimpo

Assistant Professor PhD

Programs and Courses Taught

Doctor of Podiatric Medicine

PM744 Neuroscience and Clinical Neurology
BSCI 025 Human Physiology - Lecture
BSCI 026 Human Physiology - Lab

About Me

Dr. Kimpo is interested in turning K-12 students into life-long learners of Biology.  She volunteers in outreach programs at Samuel Merritt University that educate elementary and high school students on the anatomy and physiology of the human body, especially the nervous system.  In her free time, she enjoys going to the opera and traveling.


Dr. Kimpo received her Ph.D. in Neuroscience from the University of California at San Francisco, and trained as a post-doctoral fellow at Stanford University.  She received her B.A. in Molecular and Cell Biology from the University of California at Berkeley.

Teaching Interests

Dr. Kimpo's primary teaching interests are on neuroscience and human physiology.  Specialized topics of teaching interests include the neural mechanisms controlling learning and memory, links between neuroscience and teaching in the classroom, applying neuroscientific principles of learning and memory to studying,  motor learning in the cerebellum, and the neural basis of language and speech.

Scholarly Interests

Dr. Kimpo's research background is on the neural mechanisms controlling learning and memory.  Her graduate work at the University of California at San Francisco was on the neural basis of song learning in songbirds, one of few species that learn to vocalize.  Dr. Kimpo’s post-doctoral work at Stanford University focused on the neural signals in the cerebellum that control motor learning.  She utilized genetic, behavioral, electrophysiological and optogenetic techniques to monitor and/or probe the cerebellum. 

Dr. Kimpo currently investigates teaching practices that enhance students’ learning and retention of course material.  She is interested in linking the basic principles of learning and memory derived from neuroscience research to learning and teaching in the classroom.  Her research studies include 1) evaluating the impact of the format of neuroanatomy lab practical exams on medical students’ preference and performance, and 2) comparing the effectiveness of puzzle-based vs. traditional lecture, as used during exam review sessions, on students’ performance.


Peer-Reviewed Publications:
Owens MT, Seidel SB, ….Kimpo RR, ….Schinske JN, and Tanner KD (2017).  Classroom sound can be used to classify teaching practices in college science courses. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences U S A. 2017 Mar 21;114(12):3085-3090. Epub 2017 Mar 6.  PMID: 28265087

Nguyen-Vu TB, Zhao GQ, Lahiri S, Kimpo RR, Lee H, Ganguli S, Shatz CJ, Raymond JL (2017).  A saturation hypothesis to explain both enhanced and impaired learning with enhanced plasticity.   Elife. 2017 Feb 24;6. PMID: 28234229

Katoh A, Shin S-L, Kimpo RR, Rinaldi JM, and Raymond JL (2015). Purkinje cell responses during visually and vestibularly driven smooth eye movements in mice. Brain Behav. Brain Behav. 2015 Mar;5(3):e00310.  PMID: 25642393

Kimpo RR, Rinaldi JM, Kim CK, and Payne HL, Raymond JL (2014). Gating of neural error signals for motor learning. Elife 3:e02076.  PMID 24755290.   [Spotlight by Pritchett and Carey (2104). Trends in Neurosciences 37(9):465-6. PMID: 25131357]

Nguyen-Vu TDB, Kimpo RR, Rinaldi JM, Kohli A, Zeng H, Deisseroth KD, Raymond JL (2013).  Cerebellar Purkinje cell activity drives motor learning.  Nature Neuroscience 16(12):1734-6. Epub 2013 Oct 27.2013 Oct 27.  PMID 24162651 [Recommended in Faculty of 1000 by Reza Shadmehr]

Kimpo RR and Raymond JL (2007).  Impaired motor learning in the vestibulo-ocular reflex in mice with multiple climbing fiber input to cerebellar Purkinje cells.  Journal of Neuroscience 27(21):5672-82.  PMID 17522312.

Kimpo RR, Boyden ES, Katoh A, Ke MC, and Raymond JL (2005).  Distinct patterns of stimulus generalization of increases and decreases in VOR gain.  Journal of Neurophysiology 94(5):3092-100. Epub 2005 Jul 20.  PMID 16033945. 

Kimpo RR, Theunissen FE, and Doupe AJ (2003). Propagation of correlated activity through multiple stages of a neural circuit. Journal of Neuroscience 23(13):5750-61.  PMID 12843279.

Kimpo RR and Doupe AJ (1997). Fos is induced by singing in distinct neuronal populations in a motor network. Neuron (18): 315-325.  PMID 9052801.

Review Article:
Doupe AJ, Solis MM, Kimpo R, Boettiger CA (2004).  Cellular, circuit, and synaptic mechanisms in song learning. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences 1016:495-523. Review.  PMID 15313792.

Professional Affiliations & Memberships

Society for Neuroscience
Molecular and Cellular Cognition Society

Community Service

2018-19 Co-Chairperson, Faculty Development Committee, Samuel Merritt University
2018-19  WSCUC TPR Faculty Engagement Subcommittee, Samuel Merritt University

Honors & Awards

2018            Improving Teaching with Technology Grant, Samuel Merritt University
2010-2014 Principal Investigator, NINDS Career Development Award to Promote Diversity in Neuroscience Research (K01)