Timothy C. Marzullo, Ph.D.


e-mail: tim [at] backyardbrains [dot] com

Based in Southeastern Michigan, U.S. and Santiago, Chile



To bring neuroscience out of the dark ages


Specific Skills and Knowledge:

Neural Engineering

Building Things

Public Speaking (English – native speaker; Spanishoperational command)



2008                Ph.D., Neuroscience Program, in Neural Engineering Lab of  Daryl Kipke at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor – Accessibility and Manipulation of Brain Signals for Neuroprosthetic Applications

2001                B.S. in Biochemistry from the University of Texas at Austin



Shannon KM, Gage GJ. Jankovic A, Wilson WJ, Marzullo TC.  Portable conduction velocity experiments using earthworms for the college and high school neuroscience teaching lab. Adv Physiol Educ. 2014 March [IN PRESS]


Dagda RK, Thalhauser RM, Dagda R, Marzullo TC, Gage GJ. Using Crickets to Introduce Neurophysiology to Early Undergraduate Students. J Undergrad Neurosci Educ. 2013 Oct 15;12(1):A66-A74.


Marzullo TC and Gage GJ. The SpikerBox: A Low Cost, Open-Source BioAmplifier for increasing Public Participation in Neuroscience Inquiry. PLoS ONE 2012;7(3):e30837. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0030837


Yazdan-Shahmorad A, Lehmkuhle MJ, Gage GJ, Marzullo TC, Parikh H, Miriani RM, and Kipke DR. Estimation of electrode location in a rat motor cortex by laminar analysis of electrophysiology and intracortical electrical stimulation. J Neural Eng. 2011 8: 046018.


Ludwig KA, Miriani RM, Langhals NB, Marzullo TC, Kipke DR. Use of a Bayesian maximum-likelihood classifier to generate training data for brain-machine interfaces. J Neural Eng. 2011. June 8;8(4):046009.


Kozai TD, Marzullo TC, Hooi F, Langhals NB, Majewska AK, Brown EB, Kipke DR. Reduction of neurovascular damage resulting from microelectrode insertion into the cerebral cortex using in vivo two-photon mapping. J Neural Eng. 2010. Aug;7(4):046011.


Marzullo TC, Lehmkuhle MJ, Gage GJ, Kipke D. Development of Closed-Loop Neural Interface Technology in a Rat Model: Combining Motor Cortex Operant Conditioning With Visual Cortex Microstimulation. IEEE Transactions on Neural Systems and Rehabilitation Engineering. 2010 April; 18(2): 117-126.


Abidian MR, Ludwig KA, Marzullo TC, Martin DC, Kipke DR. Interfacing conducting polymer nanotubes with the central nervous system: chronic neural recording using poly(3,4-ethylenedioxythiophene) nanotubes. Advanced Materials. 2009 July.


Parikh H, Marzullo TC, Kipke D. Lower layers in the motor cortex are more effective targets for penetrating microelectrodes in cortical prostheses. Journal of Neural Engineering. 2009 April; 6(2): 026004.


Gage G. Marzullo T. Parikh H.  -Die Cingulare Theorie der Vereinigung: Der Gyrus Cinguli ist Fur Alle Geistigen Leistungen Zustandig.- in the book -Braintertainment 2.0- 2009


Marzullo TC, Parikh H. How many neurons must one man have, before you call him a man? IEEE Potentials. 2008 Nov/Dec;27(6):26-33.


Marzullo TC, Miller CR, Kipke DR. Suitability of the cingulate cortex for neural control. IEEE Transactions on Neural Systems and Rehabilitation Engineering. 2006 Dec;14(4):401-9.


Marzullo T, Rantze E, Gage G. Stock market behavior predicted by rat neurons. Annals of Improbable Research. 2006. Jul/Aug: 22-25.


Ehlmann BL, Chowdhury J, Marzullo TC et. al.  Humans to Mars: a feasibility and cost-benefit analysis. Acta Astronautica. 2005 May-Jun;56(9-12):851-8.


Stavisky RC, Britt JM, Zuzek A, Pham T, Marzullo TC, Bittner GD. Degeneration of mammalian PNS and CNS axons is accelerated by incubation with protein synthesis inhibitors. Neuroscience Research. 2003 Dec; 47(4): 445-9.


Marzullo TC, Britt JM, Stavisky RC, Bittner GD. Cooling enhances in vitro survival and fusion-repair of severed axons taken from the peripheral and central nervous systems in rats. Neuroscience Letters, 2002 Jul 12; Vol. 327(1): pgs 9-12.




2013-current    Scientist, National Institutes of Mental Health SBIR grant: -#2R44MH093334-03: Backyard Brains: Bringing Neurophysiology into secondary schools-

2012-2013       Team Leader, Start-Up Chile Program, Backyard Brains

2011-2013       Principal Investigator, National Institutes of Mental Health SBIR grant: -1R43MH093334-01: Backyard Brains: Bringing Neurophysiology into secondary schools-

2010                Society for Neuroscience Next Generation Award for -outstanding contributions to public outreach and science education-

2009-2010       Post Doctoral Fellowship, Kauffman Foundation, to start Backyard Brains, a low-cost, high accessibility neuroscience education venture

2004-2006       NASA Graduate Student Researchers Program Fellowship

2004                Marine Biological Laboratory NeuroInformatics summer course, Woods Hole, MA

2003                Rackham International Travel Grant

2002                NASA Ames Astrobiology Academy Internship

2002                $5000 grant from Michigan Space Grant Consortium

2001                University of Michigan Rackham Regents Fellowship

2001                $1000 Undergraduate Research Materials Grant, University of Texas



2009-current    Co-Founder, Backyard Brains, Inc, working on education, prototyping, physiology, business operations, production, fund-raising, and bug clean-up

2009-2011       Lecturer, University of Michigan Biomedical Engineering Department, for Neuroscience Module of BME 419/519 – Quantified Physiology

2008-2009       Research Engineer, NeuroNexus Technologies, Ann Arbor. Worked on new research products, sales, and technical support. Highlight of work: optogenetic prototype developed with customer acknowledged in Nature Publication

2002-2008       Ph.D. Research in lab of Dr. Daryl Kipke, Neural Engineering Lab, U-Michigan

2003                Graduate Student Instructor for Cell Biology Lab Course, U-Michigan

2002                Research Assistant for Dr. Richard Boyle, BIOVis Center, NASA Ames Research Center

2000-2001       Research assistant for George D. Bittner, Professor in Biological Sciences, Section of Neurobiology, UT-Austin


Extra-Curricular and Community Activities:

Current            Periodically (2-6x/month) giving interactive lessons on Neuroscience to area elementary students, high school students, college students, and adults (everyone)

2010-2011       Sponsored and Managed 2 University of Michigan Undergraduate Teams for BME 450 –Semester Senior Capstone Design: RoboRoach and Optogenetics

2004                Mentored NASA Summer High School Apprenticeship Research Program (SHARP) student for project on neural data analysis; Student proceeded to win Intel International Science Fair on project

2003-2004       President, UM Neuroscience Graduate Student Organization

2003 & 2004   First prize, two years in a row, at Ann Arbor Hands On Museum Brainsrule science fair for designing an Interactive Neuroanatomy Exhibit for Elementary School Students. Exhibit now constantly wins first prize with other presenters year after year.



Restoring my 1973 Chevrolet El Camino, my 1981 Toyota Tercel, and my custom moped


Popular Press:

2012                RoboRoach Featured in print issue of Mental Floss Magazine

2011                Interviewed on Nature Neuroscience -Neuropod- Podcast

2011                The Guardian article on -Neurotechnology in the Classroom-

2011                Dana Foundation article on -DIY Neuroscience-

2011                RoboRoach featured in New York Times

2011                SpikerBox Featured in print issue of Wired Magazine

2011                Clarkston High school workshop -RoboRoach Academy- published in online -Curator Magazine-

2011                Work featured in book -BioPunk: DIY Scientists Hack the Software of Life-

2010                SpikerBox is included in December print issue of Wired Magazine in -100 Geek Gadgets- for Holiday Season

2009                Featured in Boston Globe newspaper on -Open Science- Movement

2009                Startup -Backyard Brains- is highlighted on PBS television program -Lehrer NewsHour- on feature: -In Ann Arbor, Michigan Finds Its Life Preserver-

2008                The $100 Spike Project is featured on Nature Magazine-s Neuroscience Podcast


(Selected) Failures:

2011                Failed Y-Combinator -ImagineK12- application

2010                Failed Marine Biological Laboratory Grass Fellowship Application

2008                Unpublished Manuscript -Spikes Can Phase-lock with the Field Potential Theta Rhythm in the Motor Cortex of Rats- –part of Ph.D. dissertation work