Oscillatory network communication, automated science, data-mining, aging, attention, working memory, cognitive brain-computer interfaces, brain/cognition/society interactions.
My research program is focused on combining large scale data-mining and machine-learning techniques with hypothesis-driven experimental research to understand the relationships between the human frontal lobes, cognition, and disease.
In collaboration with my wife, Jessica Bolger Voytek, we built and published brainSCANr, an algorithmic approach to aggregating information from more than 2 million peer-reviewed neuroscience articles. This project was my first attempt at automated science: using machine-learning tools to algorithmically generate novel hypotheses. My philosophy with regards to the role of data-driven approaches to neuroscience is that large scale data analytics can complement and guide in-lab experimental research, but should not replace it.
Ultimately my research goal is to construct an understanding of cognition built on the first principles of neurophysiology. Rather than asking, "What brain regions correlate with working memory or attentional load?" I ask, "Given what we know about the computational properties of neurons and neural systems, how can neural systems interact to give rise to cognitive phenomena we equate with 'attention' and 'working memory', and what are the behavioral and cognitive limitations and consequences of these biological constraints?"
I love my job and I can't sing its praises any more and want to share with others my enthusiasm for the wonder of scientific discovery.
Now, for the vanity stuff. I speak at a lot of events ranging from elementary schools to venues such as TEDx, @GoogleTalks, Foo Camp, and SciFoo. My writing and research has appeared in The New York Times, Forbes, Nature, Wired, The Washington Post, Tim O'Reilly's Radar, Scientific American, The New Yorker, The Guardian, and The Atlantic.
My non-academic… uh... interests, include explaining the zombie brain. This "research" has appeared on TED, National Geographic, Wired, the Academy of Neurology, Forbes, Slate, NPR, and New York Magazine.