Joseph Ayers is a neurobiologist who specializes in the neuroethology of motor systems in vertebrates and lower vertebrates and the application of this knowledge to the development of advanced robots and neurorehabilitative devices. He is a professor of biology at Northeastern University, and his research has been supported by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, the Office of Naval Research, the National Science Foundation, and the Human Frontiers Science Program. His RoboLobster has been exhibited in the Cooper-Hewitt Smithsonian Museum in New York and the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston.
During his academic career, Ayers has been an assistant, associate, and full professor of biology in the Department of Biology at Northeastern University, from 1978 to present. He was the director of Northeastern’s Marine Science Center from 1991 to 2001, and a visiting scientist at the Institute for Nonlinear Science, UCSD, in 2003.
He received a BA in biology at the University of California, Riverside, in 1970, before earning a PhD in biology at the University of California, Santa Cruz, in 1975; a postdoc in neurophysiology, CNRS, Marseilles, France, in 1975-1976, and a postdoc in neurophysiology, Neuroscience Program, UCSD, 1976-1978. He was an Alfred E. Sloan Foundation fellow in 1980-1982; NSF/CNRS, U.S.-France Exchange of Scientists Fellow, 1975-1976, and an NINCDS postdoctoral fellow, 1976-1978.
Dr. Ayers is currently developing an electronic nervous system to control RoboLamprey and is also working on devices for neurorehabilitation of movement disorders.