Current Research

The Gardner lab studies the mechanisms of temporal sequence perception and production, focusing 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? Can we control the brain’s dynamics through closed-loop stimulation?

To address these questions, we develop minimally invasive electrodes that provide stable neural recording and stimulation in behaving animals, high density deep brain optical interfaces, and wireless miniature fluorescent microscopes. In the process we are also advancing general purpose engineering tools such as high speed direct laser-write 3D printing.

Selected Publications

  • Lissandrello, Charles A., Winthrop F. Gillis, Jun Shen, Ben W. Pearre, Flavia Vitale, Matteo Pasquali, Bradley J. Holinski, Daniel J. Chew, Alice E. White, and Timothy J. Gardner (2017) “A micro-scale printable nanoclip for electrical stimulation and recording in small nerves.” Journal of Neural Engineering 14, no. 3 (2017): 036006.
  • Yoonseob Lim, Ryan Lagoy, Barbara Shinn-Cunningham, Timothy J. Gardner (2016) “Transformation of temporal sequences in the zebra finch auditory system.” eLife 2016;5:eLife.18205.
  • Liberti III, William A., Jeffrey E. Markowitz, L. Nathan Perkins, Derek C. Liberti, Daniel P. Leman, Grigori Guitchounts, Tarciso Velho, Darrell N. Kotton, Carlos Lois, and Timothy J. Gardner (2016) “Unstable neurons underlie a stable learned behavior.” Nature Neuroscience 19, no. 12 (2016): 1665-1671.
  • 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.
  • Gardner TJ, Naef F, Nottebohm F (2005) Freedom and rules: the acquisition and reprogramming of a
    bird’s learned song. Science 308, 1046-9.

Courses Taught:

  • BI449 Neuroscience Design Lab
  • BI502 Topics in the Theory of Biological Networks
  • BI644/BI444/ NE444 Neuroethology

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