I co-founded and direct the Creative Media & Behavioral Health Center (est. 2010) — an organized research unit between the USC School of Cinematic Arts and the Keck School of Medicine. This center has extended the work of the Games for Health Initiative in interesting directions and occupies a great deal of my time. If you think that being a researcher is glamorous, you are very romantic.
This is how I spend my time:
I write research proposals and develop collaborations for my division and school, and I perform various duties as a consultant in my areas of interest (health, behavior & interactive media). As the founder and director the USC Games For Health Initiative (est. 2007), my mission is to translate interactive media innovations to the health researchers and practitioners community and develop new areas of investigation at the intersection of medicine, neuroscience, and public health. This involves a lot of lecturing and outreach.
I love writing (most of the time). I have co-developed, co-authored and contributed to over 100 proposals since 2007 for intramural, foundation, corporate and federal funding. I have contributed to research development across all of our division’s priority areas: game design, mobile and environmental media and immersive technologies through working with faculty from my school and other units. It is more fun to work with other people. Collaborative work isn’t easier, but it is better and more fun. Did I write ‘fun’ twice? Yes, I did…
I love teaching and supervise some awesome students from multiple disciplines across the USC campus on research projects, theses or dissertations. I designed the curriculum for two new degrees at USC. I currently teach CTIN 503 in the spring, and IML 543 in the fall (theme changes annually).
On a more personal level, I have one remaining cat left alive who is aging just like I am (relax– never had more than 3 total). My previous cat lived to be 19 and he took all my secrets with him when he passed. I have an astonishing number of cat pictures, and I am not ashamed to post them. I also like dogs, birds, horses, sheep, and most four-legged creatures, but I am too busy with aforementioned activities to maintain a petting zoo, or attain my dream farm at the moment
My favorite activity is staring into the blue sea for hours at a time (the perfect antidote to hours of staring at my computer screen…) and spending time at my father’s village in the Messinia region of Greece. I am a practical romantic and take full responsibility for what that means.
My most favorite recent quote was uttered by my (also practical romantic) godfather:
“If you are going to take on a lover, you better eat your sandwich!”
On a more serious note, I am a big fan of philosophy and one of my favorites is Epicurus. Among his many principal doctrines, a designer who is an amateur scientist should always remember this:
“If you fight against all your sensations, you will have no standard to which to refer, and thus no means of judging even those judgments which you pronounce false.”