Associate Professor, Knight Campus
Ph.D. Rockefeller University
B.S. Princeton University
Tim Gardner is a highly regarded neuro-engineer with a track record of success in academics and commercialization. He will join the Knight Campus in June 2019.
Most recently, Gardner co-founded the Elon Musk-funded startup, Neuralink, which builds high-resolution brain interfaces for humans. Before Neuralink, he led Boston University's Laboratory of Neural Circuit Formation. There, researchers led by Gardner developed a high-resolution 3D printer and other methods to fabricate ultra-small electrodes to record the neural correlates of birdsong.
Throughout his career, Gardner has worked at the interface of neuroscience and technology and successfully translated his work into a commercial venture, maximizing the impact of his university research.
Gardner holds a bachelor’s degree in physics from Princeton University and earned his doctorate in biology and physics from Rockefeller University. He did post-doctoral fellowships at Rockefeller University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. His numerous awards and honors include National Institutes of Health Brain Initiative grants and membership in the National Academy of Inventors.
"I’ve always been interested in maximizing the impact of academic research,” Gardner said. “The Knight Campus and the UO’s Institute of Neuroscience combine to present a very captivating opportunity to develop team-based neuro-technology projects."
Hidden neural states underlie canary song syntax.
Nature. 2020 Jun 17;:
Authors: Cohen Y, Shen J, Semu D, Leman DP, Liberti WA, Perkins LN, Liberti DC, Kotton DN, Gardner TJ
Coordinated skills such as speech or dance involve sequences of actions that follow syntactic rules in which transitions between elements depend on the identities and order of past actions. Canary songs consist of repeated syllables called phrases, and the ordering of these phrases follows long-range rules1 in which the choice of what to sing depends on the song structure many seconds prior. The neural substrates that support these long-range correlations are unknown. Here, using miniature head-mounted microscopes and cell-type-specific genetic tools, we observed neural activity in the premotor nucleus HVC2-4 as canaries explored various phrase sequences in their repertoire. We identified neurons that encode past transitions, extending over four phrases and spanning up to four seconds and forty syllables. These neurons preferentially encode past actions rather than future actions, can reflect more than one song history, and are active mostly during the rare phrases that involve history-dependent transitions in song. These findings demonstrate that the dynamics of HVC include 'hidden states' that are not reflected in ongoing behaviour but rather carry information about prior actions. These states provide a possible substrate for the control of syntax transitions governed by long-range rules.
PMID: 32555461 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]