Timothy Buschman, Winner of the 2014 NIH Director’s New Innovator Award

Timothy Buschman, assistant professor at the Princeton Neuroscience Institute and Department of Psychology, was awarded the New Innovator Award. This grant is awarded to “early stage investigators of exceptional creativity proposing research of uncommonly high potential impact.”

Buschman’s project, entitled “Developing an Adaptive Cognitive Prosthetic to Replace Damaged Brain Regions”, is the creation of a hierarchal algorithm that uses a neural or behavioral feedback system to learn. Buschman specifically targets the parietal lobe of the brain, which is the lobe involved with attention. With the development of a cognitive prosthetic, users who have lost the ability to perceive an entire section of their visual field could implement an algorithm that would take sensory inputs and, working in tandem with the brain, replicate the population code essential to converting the sensory information into motor signals.

He told the Princeton Public Health Review that he believes the project to be a “pie in the sky” that has the potential for unimaginable neuropsychiatric applications for victims of brain injury.

Buschman received a bachelor’s in biology at the California Institute of Technology and completed his PhD and postdoc at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. His research focused on attention and working memory, and his work fused those interests into the study of the human brain. After only a year and half at the Princeton Neuroscience Institute, Buschman has already made a name for himself with his creative and innovative expertise.

Buschman says that his research benefits from the diversity of ideas and specialties at the Institute. Princeton is “amazing” and “the place [he] wanted to be.” This fall he is teaching Cellular and Systems Neuroscience (NEU 408) with Professor Ilana Witten, a staple of the undergraduate neuroscience education at Princeton.

For more information on Buschman and his work, visit the Buschman Lab website at http://www.timbuschman.com.