Joseph Ayers
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Professor of Biology
Current Full CV


CONTACT:
Department of Marine and Environmental Sciences, Biology, Civil and Environmental Engineering
Behavioral Neuroscience and Marine Science Center
Northeastern University
East Point, Nahant, MA 01908
Phone (781) 581-7370 x309(office), x335(lab)
Cellular (617) 755-7523, FAX: (781) 581-6076
Boston Office 444RI, (617) 373-4044
AIM: roboplasm SKYPE: cyberplasm
lobster@neu.edu


BORN: Long Beach, California, USA, November 14, 1947
Widowed: Nancy Jean Ayers, Son: Geoffrey Bert Ayers

NSF/EPSRC Synthetic Biology Sandpit
RoboBees
Cyberplasm
Design Life Now: RoboLobster At the Smithsonian
Technology Transfer
Online Lectures
IDEAS Boston
TEDx Berkshires
New Phytologist Synthetic Biology Workshop

EDUCATION:
Lab Web Page: Biomimetic Underwater Robot Program

PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE:
  • Professor of Biology, Department of Biology and Marine Science Center, Northeastern University, Boston and East Point, Nahant, Massachusetts, 1978 - present.Tenured, 1984.
  • Visiting Scholar, Institute for Non-Linear Science, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, CA Jan-July 2003
  • Director, Marine Science Center, Northeastern University, East Point, Nahant, MA 1991-2001
  • Alfred E. Sloan Foundation Fellow. Department of Biology, Northeastern University, 1980-1982
  • NINCDS Postdoctoral Fellow in the laboratory of Prof. Allen I. Selverston, Department of Biology, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, California, August, 1976 - July, 1978.
  • NSF-CNRS, U. S.-France Exchange of Scientists Postdoctoral Fellow in the laboratory of Dr. Francois Clarac, Institut de Neurophysiologie et Psychophysiologie, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, Marseilles, France, August, 1975 - July, 1976.
Lectures Projects Courses Offered
Books
Neurotechnology for Biomimetic Robots
Biomechanisms of Swimming and Flying
Dr. Ayers Cooks with Cognac
The C Around Nahant


Press
Boston Globe Magazine
Associated Press
New Scientist
Discover magazine
Exploratorium
KQED: Springboard
Information Week
Learn About Robots
UCSC Science Notes
IEEE Computer Magazine
Technology Trends
Signal Magazine
NextFest 2005
Fast Company
The Economist
Boston Globe North
Science Magazine
Science Magazine Article
Science Magazine Sidebar
Robo sapiens
Mechanical Engineering Magazine
BotSpot
Artificial Ethology
Free Republic
Exploratorium
Worth Magazine
Wall Street Journal
Wired
New York Times
ABC News
BusinessWeek Online
IDEAS Boston 2008
Boston Globe Robots

RESEARCH SUPPORT:

  • Regeneration of Locomotor Command Systems. J. Ayers, P.I. Funded by National Science Foundation Developmental Neuroscience and Science and Technology to Aid the Handicapped Programs, BNS 8406880.1984-1987
  • Development of A Biological Image Processing Facility.(1990) J. Ayers, P.I. With Kenneth Sebens, Jon Witman., David Ingle, and M.P. Morse, Funded by the National Science Foundation Instrument and Instrument Development Program. (DIR-8917532)
  • Improvement of Research Facilities at Marine Science Center (1990) K.P.Sebens, P.I. J. Ayers, MP.Morse, J. Witman co-investigators. Funded by the NSF Marine Facilities Program (DIR-9013164)
  • Neuroethological Analysis of Lobster Feeding Using Sonar Biotelemetry (1991) J. Ayers, P.I. Funded by the NSF Neural Mechanisms of Behavior Program, 1991-1992,BNS 9021278
  • Development of Multi-Channel Sonar Biotelemetry Systems for Analysis of Motor Pattern Modulation (1991-1992) J. Ayers, P.I. Donald Massa, Co-investigator. Funded by the Office of Naval Research, Biological Intelligence Program.
  • Comparative Analysis of Lobster Feeding and Stomatogastric Motor Programs (1991-1993) J. Ayers (NU) Allen Selverston (USCD), Georg Heinzel (University of Bonn) co-investigators Funded by the Human Frontiers Research Program.
  • Development of Lobster Feeding and Stomatogastric Motor Programs. (1992-1994) J. Ayers, P.I. Funded by the NSF Neural Mechanisms of Behavior Program. , IBN-9121224
  • Development of a Biologically-based Undulatory Autonomous Submersible Robot. (1994 -1995) D. R. Blidberg, PI., Joseph Ayers, Sergei Kashin coPIs. Advanced Research Project Agency
  • Joseph Ayers (PI), Donald Massa, William Vorus, Paul Zavracky, Nicol McGruer, Ranjan Mukherjee, Scott Currie. Development of Riomimefic Undulatory, and Ambulatory, Underwater Robots, DARPA-DSO Controlled Biological Systems Program. ONR Grant N00014-98-1-0381. March 1, 1998 - February 28, 2001
  • Joseph Ayers (PI), Sensor Fusion Mediation of Exteroceptive Reflexes in a Surf Zone Crawler,J. Ayers, P.I. ONR Adaptive Neural Systems Program. 3/002- 3/2003.
  • Ayers, J., PI (2003) Support for the Aquabiomechanisms II Conference, ONR Cognitive Neurosciences Program
  • Development of Behavioral Set in the DARPA/ONR Lobster Robot. With Yong-Bin Kim , NU ECE, ONR Cognitive Neurosciences Contract N000014-04-1-286. March 15, 2004- March 14, 2005,
  • Annealing Sensorimotor Reflexes in the ONR Lobster Robot. ONR Contract N000140510790 May 2005-March-2006,
  • Map-based Models of Neurons for Implementation of Neurobiological Networks Operating in Real Time DARPA SBIR Phase I. Topic SB052-010 Grant 05SB2-0145 With Nikolai Rulkov, Information Systems Laboratories, Inc. San Diego, CA,
  • Modeling Chaos in Sensorimotor Integration. ONR Contract N000140611037 Sept 1, 2006 - March 30, 2007,
  • Controlling Undulatory Robots with Electronic Nervous Systems, DARPA SBIR Phase I. Topic SB052-010 Grant 05SB2-0145 With Nikolai Rulkov, Information Systems Laboratories, Inc. San Diego, CA.
  • Massachusetts Technology Transfer Council Assessment Award, Sept, 2006, June, 2007,
  • Controlling Undulatory Robots with Electronic Nervous Systems, DARPA SBIR Phase II. Topic SB052-010 Grant 05SB2-0145 With Nikolai Rulkov, Information Systems Laboratories, Inc. San Diego, CA. May, 2007-May, 2009
  • Biomimetics of Passice and Active Tactile Sensing. Schlumber/Doll, May, 2008-May, 2010

SELECTED PUBLICATIONS:

Lobster

  • Ayers, J. and W.J. Davis (1977) Neuronal control of locomotion in the lobster. I. Motor programs for forward and backward walking. J. Comp. Physiol. 115: 1-24
  • Ayers, J.L. and F. Clarac (1978) Neuromuscular strategies underlying different behavioral acts in a multi-functional crustacean leg joint. J. Comp. Physiol., 128: 81-94.
  • Ayers, J.L. and A.I. Selverston (1979) Monosynaptic entrainment of an endogenous pacemaker network: A cellular mechanism for von Holst's magnet effect. J. Comp. Physiol. 129: 5-17.
  • Ayers, J. L. and A. I. Selverston (1984) Synaptic perturbation and entrainment of the gastric mill rhythm in the spiny lobster. Journal of Neurophysiology 51: 129 - 141.
  • Breithaupt, T. and Ayers, J. (1995) Visualization and quantative analysis of underwater biological flow fields using suspended particles. Marine Behavior and Physiology, in press

Lower Vertebrates

  • Ayers, J. Carpenter, G., Currie, S. and Kinch, J. (1983) Which behavior does the lamprey central motor program mediate? Science 221: 1312-1314.
  • Currie, S., and Ayers, J. (1983) Regeneration of Locomotor Command Systems in the lamprey. Brain Research 279: 238-240.
  • Currie, S., and Ayers, J. (1987) Plasticity of fin command system function following spinal cord transection in larval sea lampreys, Petromyzon marinus, Brain Research 415: 337-341.
  • Ayers, J. (1989) Recovery of oscillator function following spinal regeneration in the sea lamprey. In: Cellular and Neuronal Oscillators. J. Jacklet, [ed]. Marcel Dekker, New York, Pp. 349-383.
  • Davis, B. M, J. Ayers, L. Koran, J, Carlson, M. Anderson and S. B. Simpson (1990) Time course of regeneration of the salamander spinal cord and the recovery of swimming: HRP retrograde tracing and kinematic analysis. Experimental Neurology 108: 1-16.
  • Swain, G.P., Snedeker, J.A., Ayers, J. & Selzer, M.E. (1993) The cytoarchitecture of spinal-projecting neurons in the brain of the larval sea lamprey, J. Comp. Neurol, 336: 194-210
  • Swain, G. P. Ayers, J. Selzer, M.E. (1995) Metamorphosis of spinal-projecting neurons in the brain of the sea lamprey during transformation of the larva to adult. J. Comp. Neurol. 362: 453-467.

Robotics

Imaging

SOFTWARE DEVELOPMENT Over the past 20 years I have developed over 35 major analytical programs for the Macintosh including:

    Undulatory Behavior Analysis
  • Ongoing development of MacLamprey, a Macintosh based program for the analysis of undulatory locomotion which supports, curvature analysis, and graphical display for timed based analysis of electrophysiological and kinematic data. This program is fundamental to our work on the analysis of undulatory locomotion and receives data acquired from video-tape by the program ColorImage
  • General CPG SImulation
  • Development of MotorProgram, a simulation program for demonstration of stomatogastric, walking, gait and metachronal rhythm pattern generation mechanisms by invertebrate motor pattern generators.
  • Neuronal Spike Train Analysis
  • Ongoing development of SpikeTrain, a Macintosh based signal processing application which resolves multi-unit nerve recordings into the activity patterns of individual neurons. The programs interface with ColorImage to acquire in vivo recordings from the lamprey CNS and direct correlation with kinematic behavioral analysis.
  • Sonar Biotelemetry
  • Development of SonarRecorder and SonarViewer which are two utilities for long term sonar biotelemetry using the Massa Products E-326T and E-326R telemetry systems. These programs allow the continuous acquisition of telemetry data from both pool hydrophones as well as a radio sonobuoy (SonarRecorder) and graphical visualization and statistical analysis of the results (SonoView).
  • Color Image and Motion Analysis
  • Ongoing development of ColorImage a true color image analysis program which supports the segmentation and quantification of objects from true (24bit) color images of natural scenes and motion analysis from digital movies. This program now uses the sequence grabber and can digitize from FireWire devices and also suppports Cambridge Research Instruments Varispec Tunable Filter. This latter instrument supports real-time digital spectroscopy using the Macintosh. ColorImage is the basis for our current reverse kinematic analyses of lobster locomotion for our DARPA/ONR Lobster Robot program and lamprey locomotion for ourUndulatory Robot program. It has been distributed nationally though electronic bulletin boards at National Institutes of Health and MacSciTech for over seven years and on the MacSciTech CD-ROM. With Garth Fletcher (1990-present)
  • Hypercard Based Laboratory Computing Interface
  • Development of Laboratory Toolbox, a multimedia Hypercard stack which supports acquisition, analysis and data-base management of image, table and sensor data. This stack originated as a project for my course Biological Laboratory Computing and attracted interest from several local software and hardware vendors who donated equipment to be supported.
  • Frog Kinematics
  • General purpose programs for data entry and analysis of frog kinematics and jump trajectories (1988-1989)
  • Statistical Analysis
  • Graphics utilities which support general parametric graph editing (MacGraph), phase response curve and entrainment analysis (MacPRC) and use of the Farallon MacRecorder as a digital oscilloscope (MacScope).
  • Lobster CPG Simulation
  • Ongoing Development of Lobster, which implements a finite state machine for the control of omnidirectional ambulation. This program is the basis of our research program for the development of a lobster-based autonomous robot. Over the past year we have added behavioral sequencing and sensor models to this development platform. (1992-present).
  • Lamprey CPG Simulation
  • Ongoing Development of Lamprey, which implements a finite state machine for the control of undulatory locomotion. This program is the basis of our research program for the development of a lamprey-based autonomous robot. This program generates control signals for a 4 segment unduator which can generate lamprey, carp, shark and trout motor patterns. (1994-present).
  • Lobster Robot Controller
  • Ongoing Development of Ambulator II, which implements a controller for the Ambulatory robot with a graphical user interface. The controller portions of this program are translated to C and are integrated with a Persistor interface to form the stand alone controller for the robot. We are currently integrating behavioral sequencing and sensor filters to this development platform. (1997-present).
  • Lamprey Robot Controler
  • Ongoing Development of Undulator II, which implements a controller for the Undulatory robot with a graphical user interface. The controller portions of this program are translated to C and are integrated with a Persistor interface to form the stand alone controller for the robot. We are currently integrating orientational reflexes to this development platform. (1997-present).

CURRENT POST DOC and VISITING SCIENTIST

  • Kazuo Mori, Upstate Medical Center, Syracuse
  • Jan Witting, Sea Education Associates

CURRENT GRADUATE STUDENTS

  • Peter Brannen, University of Texas, Austin
  • Anthony Westphal, University of Wollongbong
  • Dan Blustein, Kalamazoo College
  • Steve Smith, SUNY Stony Brook

CURRENT UNDERGRADUATE INTERNS

  • Stephanie Anderson, Smith College
  • Judith Suttrup, University of Bremen

ALUMNI

  • Scott Currie MS 1979-1981 Associate Prof, University of California, Riverside
  • Bradford Bratton MS 1979-1981 Senior Scientist, Howard Florey Institute University of Melbourne
  • Galen Eaholtz MS 1984-1986 Senior Fellow, University of Washington
  • Dean Kaufman MS 1984-1987 Director of Strategic Marketing, Agfa Impax Solutions
  • James Kinch 1984-1987 VP, Alpha Woods Hole Labs. Woods Hole, MA
  • James Salemis MS 1984-1985 Medical Director, Hellenic Nursing and Rehabilitation Center
  • Gary Swain Ph.D 1984-1989 Technical Director, University of Pennsylvania Med School
  • Lee Margolin Ph.D 1984-1989 Sr. Scientist, Frederick Haer &Co.
  • Karen Lee Ph.D 1986-1992 Associate. Prof. University of Pittsburgh, Jonestown
  • Sarah Jordan Gould M.S. 1991-1994 Business Manager, Shoals Marine Laboratory
  • Traci Garofalo M.S. 1992-1995 Veterinarian Aide.
  • Jan Witting Ph. D., PostDoc (1998-2001) Chief Scientist, SEA Education Association.
  • David Markert 2004-2005 Diplome Thesis Research, Universty of Bielefeld
  • Daniel Schmidke 2005-2006 Diplome Thesis Research, Universty of Hanover
  • Dan, Knudsen 2005-2006 Undergraduate Honors, Graduate Student Neuroscience Program UCSD

RECENT COLLABORATORS


(Page last changed 6/21/09)