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Psychology professor Daniel Cerutti passes away


Daniel T. Cerutti

  • January 11, 2011

Daniel T. Cerutti, assistant professor of psychology since 2007 at California State University, East Bay, passed away Jan. 10. He was pronounced dead at Eden Medical Center in Castro Valley, where he was taken by ambulance after he collapsed on the university’s Hayward Campus.

“We in the Psychology Department and all faculty on campus, have lost a dear friend and loyal faculty member,” said Marvin Lamb, department chair. “He was dedicated to the field of psychology and to his students, had a great sense of humor and was loving, caring and kind. We will miss him very much.”

Cerutti, 54, taught six courses at CSUEB during his tenure: general psychology, experimental psychology, conditioning and learning, comparative psychology, heredity and behavior, and comparative laboratory. He was chair of the Psychology Department’s Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee.

An active researcher, Cerutti was among three CSUEB College of Science faculty members who received the first Sieber-Tombari Award, a faculty-support grant founded in 2007 to support interdisciplinary research with a college outside the university. Cerutti’s proposal focused on behavioral screening of larval zebrafish. He also participated in the 2010 Research, Scholarship and Creative Activity Exhibit at Cal State East Bay, presenting a poster, “Testing the IQ of a Tiny Fish.” In the project outlined, Cerutti exposed zebrafish embryos to substances such as Prozac, then tested the fish as young adults to determine whether they could still learn.

In the summary posted on his Web site, Cerutti said that the largest part of his research… “aims to understand the timing behavior of birds and fish working for delayed rewards. Although they appear to be adapted to very different niches, their timing is surprisingly similar to our own; pigeons and fish underestimate the arrival of periodic food in the same way that we underestimate the time to complete a task.”

Cerutti taught from 1999 to 2005 at Duke University, where he was a member of the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee. He also served as a member of the faculty at Davidson College from 1994 to 1997.

Cerutti earned his undergraduate degree in psychology from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, in 1983 and a doctorate in experimental psychology from Temple University in 1989.

He was a resident of Pleasanton. Cerutti is survived by his wife Rosa and two children, son Giordano and stepson Manuel Pena.

Individual counseling is available to CSUEB students. For an appointment, call (510) 885-3735, e-mail or visit Student Health and Counseling Services on the Hayward or Concord campuses.

Grief counseling is available to staff and faculty members through the Employee Assistance Program, a free, confidential counseling and referral service. For assistance, call (800) 234-5465 or visit here

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