How does the brain learn complex behaviors? Does it
break them into simpler pieces? How are goals represented, and translated into actions that produce those goals?
Songbirds learn to imitate the songs of tutors they heard as juveniles. From unstructured babbling, repeatable syllables
emerge. My work focuses on how the brain of a young bird learns to produce each new syllable. My neural recordings and
modeling work suggest a simple mechanism by which timing learned in one domain (listening to a tutor) could be transferred
to support learning in a new domain (singing).
TS Okubo, EL Mackevicius, HL Payne, GF Lynch, and MS Fee. Growth and splitting of neural sequences in songbird vocal
development. Nature (in press, 2015). Modeling code available here.
Computational neuroscience is a fascinating and expanding
subject. Over the past few years, I've been involved in teaching several computational neuroscience
courses, including designing new curricula. Links to relevant materials (and websites for a couple of my
other favorite courses) are below:
How to make
(almost) anything (taught by Neil Gershenfeld) provides detailed practical
advice on making (almost) anything. It's also fun to look through what people
made each week. Here's my page documenting
each of my weekly projects.