Faculty Profiles

Tim Gardner

Tim Gardner

Assistant Professor of Biology

PhD. Rockefeller University, 2003
Areas of interest: Neural circuits, vocal learning, time-frequency analysis, brain-machine interfaces
timothyg(at) bu.edu
(347) 683-7642


Current Research

The Gardner lab studies the mechanisms of temporal sequence perception and production, focussing on vocal learning in songbirds.

The song circuit produces stereotyped structure over a range of time-scales from milliseconds to tens of seconds. We ask how complex songs are assembled from elementary neural units. What are the relationships between patterns of neural activity on different time-scales?

The lab also studies information processing in auditory cortex, examining how auditory signals are transformed as they move from low to high level sensory areas. How are memories for temporal patterns formed?

To address these questions, we develop minimally invasive electrodes that provide stable neural recordings in behaving animals. We also develop high-resolution signal processing algorithms for auditory and neural time-series.

Courses Taught

  • BI502 Topics in the Theory of Biological Networks
  • BI644/BI444/ NE444 Neuroethology

Selected Publications

  • Guitchounts G, Markowitz JE, Liberti WE, Gardner TJ (2013) A carbon-fiber electrode array for long-term neural recording. J. Neural. Eng. 10; 046016.
  • Markowitz, JE, Ivie E, Kligler K, Gardner TJ (2013) Long-range order in canary song. PLoS Comp. Bio:9(5): e1003052.
  • Lim Y, BG Shinn-Cunningham, Gardner TJ (2012) Sparse contour representations of sound. IEEE Signal Processing Letters 19(10) 684-687.
  • Poole B, Markowitz JE, Gardner TJ (2012) The song must go on: Resilience of the songbird vocal motor pathway. PLoS ONE 7(6): e38173. 0038173.
  • Scott BB, Gardner TJ, Ji N, Fee MS, Lois C (2012) Wandering neuronal migration in the postnatal vertebrate forebrain. Journal of Neuroscience, 32(4), 1436–1446.
  • Ölveczky BP, Gardner TJ (2011) A bird's eye view of neural circuit formation. Current Opinion in Neurobiology. 21(1):124–131.
  • Gardner TJ, Magnasco MO (2006) Sparse time-frequency representations. Proc Natl Acad Sci. 103,
  • Gardner TJ, Naef F, Nottebohm F (2005) Freedom and rules: the acquisition and reprogramming of a
    bird's learned song. Science 308, 1046-9.

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