Faculty & Labs

Bradley Voytek

Assistant Professor

Homepage: http://voyteklab.com/
Email: bvoytek@ucsd.edu

Office: CSB 169
Phone: 858-534-0002

Research Interests

Oscillatory network communication, automated science, data-mining, aging, attention, working memory, cognitive brain-computer interfaces, brain/cognition/society interactions.


Cole SR & Voytek B. Brain oscillations and the importance of waveform shape (PDF). Trends Cogn Sci.

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 neural oscillations, cognition, and disease.

My ultimate 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?"

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. 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.


In addition to my research, I'm avid about data and science communication and outreach on my blog, Oscillatory Thoughts, Twitter, and sometimes even real life.

I love my job and I can't sing its praises any more highly, 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 SciFooMy writing and research has appeared in The New York TimesForbesNature, WiredThe Washington PostTim O'Reilly's RadarScientific AmericanThe New YorkerThe Guardian, and The Atlantic.

My non-academic… uh... interests, include explaining the zombie brain. This culminated in writing the book Do Zombies Dream of Undead Sheep? with my co-author, Professor Timothy Verstynen. Our book got nice reviews in Science and The Lancet, and our "research" has appeared on TED, National GeographicWired, the Academy of NeurologyForbesSlateNPR, and New York Magazine.

Selected Publications (you can view my full CV here):

  • Cole SR & Voytek B. Brain oscillations and the importance of waveform shape. Trends Cogn Sci. (PDF)
  • Tran T, Hoffner NC, LaHue SC, Tseng L, Voytek B (2016). Alpha phase dynamics predict age-related visual working memory decline. NeuroImage. (PDF)
  • Voytek B (2016). The virtuous cycle of a data ecosystem. PLOS Comput Biol. (PDF)
  • Voytek B, Kayser AS, Badre D, Fegen D, Chang EF, Crone NE, Parvizi J, Knight RT, D’Esposito M (2015). Oscillatory dynamics coordinating human frontal networks in support of goal maintenanceNature Neurosci. (PDF)
  • Voytek B, Kramer MA, Case J, Lepage KQ, Tempesta ZR, Knight RT, Gazzaley A (2015). Age-related Changes in 1/f Neural Electrophysiological Noise. J Neurosci.
  • Voytek B & Knight RT (2015). Dynamic network communication as a unifying neural basis for cognition, development, aging, and disease. Biol Psychiatry. (PDF)
  • Voytek B, D'Esposito M, Crone NE, Knight RT (2013). A method for event-related phase/amplitude coupling. NeuroImage 64, 416-424. (PDF)
  • Voytek JB, Voytek B (2012). Automated cognome construction and semi-automated hypothesis generation. J Neurosci Methods 208(1), 92-100. (PDF)
  • Voytek B & Knight RT (2010). Prefrontal cortex and basal ganglia contributions to visual working memory. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 107(42), 18167-18172. (PDF)
  • Voytek B, Davis M, Yago E, Barceló F, Vogel EK, Knight RT (2010). Dynamic neuroplasticity after human prefrontal cortex damage. Neuron 68(3), 401-408. (PDF)