John Lester, more commonly known as Pathfinder Linden in Second Life, joined Linden Lab (the creators of Second Life) in 2005, bringing experience in online community development as well as a background in the fields of healthcare and education. Previously he was the Information Technology Director in the Neurology Service at Massachusetts General Hospital, where he pioneered the use of the web in 1993 to create online communities for supporting patients dealing with neurological disorders. Lester also held an academic appointment at Harvard Medical School, where he created online collaborative environments for professors and students to advance the case-based teaching method in medical education.
While at Massachusetts General Hospital, he created and continues to manage BrainTalk Communities, an organization who’s mission is to provide online environments for patient and caregiver self-help groups focused on neurological disorders. Lester is currently a Community Manager at Linden Lab, where he focuses primarily on working with educators interested in using Second Life for teaching and academic research. He also works to advance the use of Second Life as a platform for “serious” applications such as healthcare training, patient support groups, simulation, and scientific visualization. Lester’s continuing work with BrainTalk includes creating and supporting Second Life communities for people dealing with Asperger’s Syndrome, Cerebral Palsy, and Stroke Survivors.