Nancy Kopell, PhD

Professor, Mathematics and Statistics

Nancy Kopell
(617) 353-5210
111 Cummington St


Nancy Kopell received her B.A. from Cornell University in 1963 and her Ph.D. from Berkeley in 1967. She is currently the William Fairfield Warren Distinguished Professor at Boston University, and co-director of the Center for Computational Neuroscience and Neural Technology (CompNet). She organized and directs the Cognitive Rhythms Collaborative (CRC), a group of over two dozen labs, mostly in the Boston Area, working on brain dyanmics and their cognitive implications.

Kopell’s Ph.D. training was in pure mathematics, but she transitioned to applied mathematics shortly after receiving her degree. In the first part of her career, she worked on pattern formation in chemical systems, oscillating systems and problems involving the geometry of systems with multiple time scales. For the last two decades, she has worked on mathematical problems in neuroscience. Her current interests parallel the themes of the CRC: how does the brain produce its dynamics (physiological mechanisms), how do brain rhythms take part in cognition (sensory processing, attention, memory, motor control), and how can pathologies of brain dynamics help to understand symptoms of neurological diseases (Parkinson’s disease, schizophrenia, epilepsy) as well as alternate states of consciousness (anesthesia). She collaborates widely with experimentalists and clinicians.

Kopell is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. She was recently selected to be an honorary member of the London Mathematical Society, a distinction given to one or two mathematicians per year worldwide. She has been awarded Sloan Guggenheim, and McArthur Fellowships, and has an honory Ph.D. from the New Jersey Institute of Technology. She has given the Weldon Memorial Prize Lecture (Oxford), the von Neumann Lecture (SIAM) and the Josiah Willard Gibbs Lecture (AMS, as well as multiple other named lectureships.

Other Positions

  • Co-Director, Center for Computational Neuroscience & Neural Technology, Boston University
  • Professor, Pharmacology & Experimental Therapeutics, Boston University School of Medicine


  • University of California, Berkeley, PhD
  • University of California, Berkeley, MA
  • Cornell University, AB


  • Published on 1/1/2018

    Stanley DA, Roy JE, Aoi MC, Kopell NJ, Miller EK. Low-Beta Oscillations Turn Up the Gain During Category Judgments. Cereb Cortex. 2018 Jan 01; 28(1):116-130. PMID: 29253255.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 12/11/2017

    Soplata AE, McCarthy MM, Sherfey J, Lee S, Purdon PL, Brown EN, Kopell N. Thalamocortical control of propofol phase-amplitude coupling. PLoS Comput Biol. 2017 12; 13(12):e1005879. PMID: 29227992.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 5/31/2017

    Singer AC, Talei Franzesi G, Kodandaramaiah SB, Flores FJ, Cohen JD, Lee AK, Borgers C, Forest CR, Kopell NJ, Boyden ES. Mesoscale-duration activated states gate spiking in response to fast rises in membrane voltage in the awake brain. J Neurophysiol. 2017 Aug 01; 118(2):1270-1291. PMID: 28566460.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 5/14/2017

    Hunt MJ, Kopell NJ, Traub RD, Whittington MA. Aberrant Network Activity in Schizophrenia. Trends Neurosci. 2017 Jun; 40(6):371-382. PMID: 28515010.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 3/7/2017

    Adams NE, Sherfey JS, Kopell NJ, Whittington MA, LeBeau FE. Hetereogeneity in Neuronal Intrinsic Properties: A Possible Mechanism for Hub-Like Properties of the Rat Anterior Cingulate Cortex during Network Activity. eNeuro. 2017 Jan-Feb; 4(1). PMID: 28275720.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 1/25/2017

    Vijayan S, Lepage KQ, Kopell NJ, Cash SS. Frontal beta-theta network during REM sleep. Elife. 2017 Jan 25; 6. PMID: 28121613.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 8/1/2016

    Scholvin J, Kinney JP, Bernstein JG, Moore-Kochlacs C, Kopell NJ, Fonstad CG, Boyden ES. Heterogeneous neural amplifier integration for scalable extracellular microelectrodes. Conf Proc IEEE Eng Med Biol Soc. 2016 Aug; 2016:2789-2793. PMID: 28268897.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 5/16/2016

    Kondabolu K, Roberts EA, Bucklin M, McCarthy MM, Kopell N, Han X. Striatal cholinergic interneurons generate beta and gamma oscillations in the corticostriatal circuit and produce motor deficits. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2016 May 31; 113(22):E3159-68. PMID: 27185924.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 4/26/2016

    Ainsworth M, Lee S, Kaiser M, Simonotto J, Kopell NJ, Whittington MA. GABAB receptor-mediated, layer-specific synaptic plasticity reorganizes gamma-frequency neocortical response to stimulation. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2016 May 10; 113(19):E2721-9. PMID: 27118845.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 1/1/2016

    Scholvin J, Kinney JP, Bernstein JG, Moore-Kochlacs C, Kopell N, Fonstad CG, Boyden ES. Close-Packed Silicon Microelectrodes for Scalable Spatially Oversampled Neural Recording. IEEE Trans Biomed Eng. 2016 Jan; 63(1):120-30. PMID: 26699649.

    Read at: PubMed

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