Dr Timothy O'Leary

Timothy O'Leary

University position

Associate Professor

Dr Timothy O'Leary is pleased to consider applications from prospective PhD students.


Department of Engineering

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Research Themes

Systems and Computational Neuroscience

Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


How do nervous systems adapt and repair themselves? How do they exhibit coherent function in spite of variable underlying properties? I study these questions using theory, computational models and experiments.

For example, it is well known that neurons have homeostatic mechanisms that control activity levels. But how does cell-level regulation affect network function? What are the limits to what homeostatic mechanisms can achieve?

Another goal is to understand variability. Cellular and circuit properties vary between individuals even when overall function is similar. This is a major problem (experimentally and theoretically) for understanding how components (e.g. genes, synaptic pathways) affect circuit function. This also raises an intriguing question: why is there variability? Do regulatory mechanisms simply tolerate some amount of 'slop', or does variability offer benefits?

I very am keen to work with experimentalists and with physical scientists who want to move into biology.

Research Focus




Neural networks

Control theory

Systems biology

Clinical conditions

No direct clinical relevance


Behavioural analysis

Computational modelling


Real time control

Signal processing

Statistical analysis