Collectively, these projects aim to understand how the brain controls the body.

We combine (and create) behavioral, computational, electrophysiological, and imaging approaches to reveal how the nervous system uses sensory signals to reshape the patterns of brain and muscle activity that control skilled behavior.

Spike timing codes for motor control
By analyzing single-unit recordings from neurons and muscle fibers during complex behaviors in songbirds (and, more recently, rodents), we examine how the brain regulates precisely-timed spike patterns to control agile behavior.

Key papers: Sober et al., 2018; Tang et al., 2014; Srivastava et al., 2017.

Variability, Bayesian inference, and sensorimotor learning
By combining long-term manipulations of auditory feedback with computational models of sensorimotor learning, we reveal the computational principles underlying vocal learning.

Key papers: Zhou et al., 2018Kelly and Sober, 2014.

Neuroanatomical and neuromodulatory mechanisms of motor plasticity
By combining advanced neuroanatomical methods with behavioral and pharmacological manipulations, we investigate the neural mechanisms of learning. 

Key papers: Hoffmann and Sober, 2014Nicholson et al., 2017.

Advanced technology for motor neurophysiology
By developing advanced nanofabrication tools for manufacturing ultra-dense, ultra-flexible electrode arrays, we are creating a new class of electromyography (EMG) electrodes capable of recording large populations of single-unit recordings from muscle fibers during behavior.

Key papers: Srivastava et al., 2017Zia et al., 2018.


Working closely with other neurophysiologists, theorists, and engineers is essential to our cross-disciplinary research program. Our collaborators include the following research groups:

Ilya Nemenman               (Emory Physics & Biology)
Gordon Berman               (Emory Biology)
Lena Ting                            (Emory/Georgia Tech joint BME Department)
Chethan Pandarinath   (Emory/Georgia Tech joint BME Department)
Muhannad Bakir              (Georgia Tech Electrical Engineering)

Beyond Atlanta:
Coen Elemans          (Univ. Southern Denmark)
Todd Roberts            (UT Southwestern)
Rui Costa                    (Columbia)
Mackenzie Mathis  (Harvard)
Megan Carey            (Champalimaud)
Yutaka Yoshida        (Burke/Weill Cornell)