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William Tyler

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Assoc Professor
Faculty, TEMPE Campus, Mailcode 9709
Assoc Professor
Faculty, TEMPE Campus, Mailcode 9709


Postdoctoral Fellowship, Neuroscience

Harvard University

Cambridge, MA   02/2003 – 08/2006                   


Doctorate of Philosophy, Behavioral Neuroscience

University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB)

Birmingham, AL   09/1998 – 01/2003


Bachelor of Science

University of Alabama at Birmingham

Birmingham, AL   09/1991 – 08/1998                              



Associate Professor of Biological Engineering, Arizona State University, School of Biological and Health Systems Engineering (SBHSE),  06/2014 – Present

·      Serve as an invited academic expert on industry, government, and foundation panels to address the societal, regulatory, security, and technological impact of digital/mobile health, neuromodulation, and human performance enhancement.

·      Develop technology for non-invasive brain stimulation and neuromodulation for a variety of forward-looking applications.

Co-Founder and Chief Scientific Officer, Thync, Inc.,  08/11 – 3/16                     

·      Developed the scientific vision and foundation for the company.

·      Responsible for overseeing scientific activities related to internal and subcontracted R&D, product/pipeline development, prosecuting and managing intellectual property portfolio (6 issued patents, 59 patent applications), regulatory compliance (navigated direct-to-consumer FDA exemption as a lifestyle/wellness device via 513(g)), external communications (public/press, government, and investor relations), strategic network development and operations.  

·      Managed scientific support for all stages of the company’s product lifecycle from product conceptualization and prototyping to industrial design and usability testing, manufacturing, launch and distribution. This required cross-department coordination of up to 50 employees spanning software, hardware/engineering, research, marketing, operations, and customer support teams.

·      Spearheaded the deployment of company technology to restore or enhance performance in healthy individuals and elite performers. Secured and managed a contracts from the U.S. Department of Defense. 

Assistant Professor of Bioengineering and Sciences, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine, Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute and VTC School of Medicine,  02/2011 – 06/2014                           

·      Recruited, led, managed, and worked a with research team that was established to optimize noninvasive neuromodulation systems.

·      Served as an invited academic expert or an industry consultant to study, present, and forecast trends in noninvasive brain stimulation for therapeutic applications and human performance enhancement to medical device, biotech, pharmaceutical companies, and others.

·      My research group developed methodological approaches (including all safety validation) for human neuromodulation using transcranial focused ultrasound. We showed that transcranial pulsed ultrasound can enhance sensory discrimination when targeted to intact human cortex. These observations represented the translation of ultrasonic neuromodulation from brain slices, mice, non-human primates, pigs, and humans pioneered and led by my research groups. We also validated a method of improving the targeting accuracy of transcranial magnetic stimulation using finite element simulations of electric field distributions on a personalized basis. We further conducted basic investigations into how the viscoelastic properties of neurons affect brain function and neuronal signaling.

Co-Founder & President, SynSonix, LLC ,  08/2006 – 02/2011 

·      Proposed, negotiated, and secured contracts from the U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command to develop ultrasonic neuromodulation technology for the control of post-traumatic pain. Managed and directed performance efforts to achieve research and development milestones per contract obligations. 

·      Established and managed all company relations. Negotiated licensing of intellectual property.

Assistant Professor of Neurobiology and Bioimaging, Arizona State University,  08/2006 – 02/2011  

·      Contracted, performed on, and managed federally funded research projects for the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency and U.S. Army Research Office to conduct basic research on and develop noninvasive neuromodulation approaches using pulsed ultrasound.

·      Disclosed inventions (16 issued patents, 15 pending) for methods, systems, and devices intended to modulate and regulate brain function, human behavior, and cellular physiology using pulsed ultrasound.

·      Fulfilled primary obligations as a tenure track faculty member in the School of Life Sciences. Began and instructed the flagship undergraduate neuroscience course at Arizona State University.  Lectured on optical systems, synaptic plasticity, and neural circuits in graduate student courses. Supervised research efforts of undergraduate students, graduate students, and postdoctoral fellows.


Research Interests

Our primary R&D interests are focused on developing and applying noninvasive neuromodulation methods and devices intended to optimize human performance and brain health. We are particularly interested in developing electrical, ultrasonic, and alternative technologies or interfaces that are capable of precisely regulating the human autonomic nervous system, as well as deep-brain circuits to regulate arousal, attention, learning, and sleep/wake cycles. In addition to developing methods and tools for enhancing human performance, we also work on developing technologies that can be useful to treat some neurological diseases and neuropsychiatric disorders. Our collective goal is to enhance human brain health and performance through the development of robust, scientifically-validated, and safe neurotechnologies. 

  • Tyler, W.J. Ultrasound for Neuromodulation? A Continuum Mechanics Hypothesis. Neuroscienist (2010).
  • Tyler, W.J., Y. Tufail, and S. Pati. Noninvasive functional neurosurgery using ultrasound. (2010).
  • Baluch, D.P., J. Georges, P. Deviche, W.J Tyler. Estrogen acts through GPR-30 receptors to rapidly increase neurotransmitter release from hippocampal excitatory synapses. Society for Neuroscience Abstracts, 523.3 (2009).
  • M.L. Tauchmann, Z. Gilbert, K. Cruz, W.J. Tyler. Sensory input gain is mediated by the context of associative learning at primary olfactory synapses. Society for Neuroscience Abstracts, 257.3 (2009).
  • Rincon, L., Y. Tufail, G.E. Jabbour, S.I. Helms Tillery, W.J. Tyler. Channelrhodopsin-2 expressing neurons stimulated with blue organic LEDs. Biomedical Engineering Society Abstracts, PS 8B-170 (2009).
  • Rincon, L., Y. Tufail, G.E. Jabbour, S.I. Helms Tillery, W.J. Tyler. Stimulation of channelrhodopsin-2 expressing neurons using organic LEDs. Society for Neuroscience Abstracts, 770.14 (2009).
  • Tufail, Y., A. Matyushov, N. Baldwin, M.L. Tauchmann, J. Georges, A. Yoshihiro, S.I. Helms-Tillery, W.J. Tyler. Remote stimulation of intact brain circuits with transcranial pulsed ultrasound. Society for Neuroscience Abstracts, 105.1 (2009).
  • Song, H, W. Kong, N. Weatherspoon, G. Qin, W. Tyler, J. Turk, R. Curtis III, Y. Shi. Modulation of the regulatory activity of bacterial two-component Regulatory Systems by SlyA. Journal of Biological Chemistry (2008).
  • Tyler, W. J., Y. Tufail, M. Finsterwald, M.L. Tauchmann, E.J. Olsen, C. Majestic. Remote excitation of neuronal circuits using low-intensity, low-frequency ultrasound. PLoS One (2008).
  • William Tyler, Gabor Petzold, Pal Sumon, Venkatesh Murthy. Experience-dependent modification of sensory synapses in the olfactory bulb. Journal of Neuroscience (2007).
  • William Tyler, X-l Zhang, K Hartman, J Winterer, W Muller, P Stanton, L Pozzo-Miller. BDNF increases release probability and the size of a rapidly recycling vesicle pool within hippocampal excitatory synapses. Journal of Physiology (2006).
  • Z Li, J Burrone, William Tyler, K Hartman, D Albeanu, V Murthy. Synaptic vesicle Recycling studied in transgenic mice expressing synaptopHluorin. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (2005).
  • William Tyler, V Murthy. Synaptic vesicles. Current Biology (2004).
  • William Tyler, L Pozzo-Miller. Miniature synaptic transmission and BDNF modulate dendritic spine growth and form in rat CA1 pyramidal neurones. Journal of Physiology (London) (2003).
  • William Tyler, M Alonso, C Bramham, L Pozzo-Miller. From acquisition to consolidation: On the role of brain-derived neurotrophic factor signaling in hippocampal-dependent learning. Learning and Memory (2002).
  • William Tyler, S Perrett, L Pozzo-Miller. The role of neurotrophins in neurotransmitter release. Neuroscientist (2002).
  • J Cox, William Tyler, A Randich, G Kelm, S Meller. Celiac vagatomy reduces suppression of feeding by jejunal fatty acid infusions. Neuroreport (2001).
  • N Filippova, A Sedelnikova, William Tyler, T Whitworth, H Fortinberry, D Weiss. Recombinant GABAc receptors expressed in rat hippocampal neurons after infection with an adenovirus containing the human ?1 subunit. Journal of Physiology (London) (2001).
  • N Tartaglia, J Du, William Tyler, E Neale, L Pozzo-Miller, B Lu. Protein synthesis-dependent and -independent regulation of hippocampal synapses by brain-derived neurotrophic factor. Journal of Biological Chemistry (2001).
  • William Tyler, L Pozzo-Miller. BDNF enhances quantal neurotransmitter release and increases the number of docked vesicles at the active zones of hippocampal excitatory synapses. Journal of Neuroscience (2001).
  • A Randich, William Tyler, J Cox, S Meller, G Kelm, S Bharaj. Responses of celiac and cervical vagal afferents to infusions of lipids in the jejunum or ileum of the rat. American Journal of Physiology (2000).
  • J Cox, William Tyler, A Randich, G Kelm, S Bharaj, R Jandacek, S Meller. Suppression of food Intake, body weight, and body fat by jejunal fatty acid infusions. American Journal of Physiology (2000).
Research Activity
  • Tyler,William James*. Functional Modulation of Intact Primate Brain Circuits using Pulsed Ultrasound. CA INST OF TECHNOLOGY(1/1/2015 - 7/31/2016).
  • Smith,Brian*, Tyler,William James. Remote Control of Intact Mammalian Brain Circuits Using Pulsed Ultrasound. DOD-ARMY-ARO(9/1/2009 - 8/31/2012).
  • Smith,Brian*, Tyler,William James. Prairie Technologies 2-Photon Microscope - ARRA AWARD. HHS-NIH-NCRR(5/1/2009 - 4/30/2010).
  • Tyler,William James*. Neurovisions: Teaching Neuroscience with Neuroimaging Data. Science Approach(2/20/2009 - 12/31/2009).
  • Bimonte-Nelson,Heather*, Tyler,William James. Ovarian Hormone Loss and the Aging Brain: An Analysis of Hippocmapal Structure and Function. SUN HEALTH RESEARCH INST(7/1/2007 - 6/30/2008).
Fall 2017
Course NumberCourse Title
BME 413Biomedical Instrumentation
BME 492Honors Directed Study
BME 493Honors Thesis
Spring 2017
Course NumberCourse Title
BME 394Special Topics
  • Tyler, W.J. Pulsed Ultrasound for Noninvasive Neural Interfaces. DARPA Novel Neural Interface Workshop (Jan 2010).
  • Tyler, W.J. Ultrasonic Neuromodulation: Noninvasive Remote Control of Intact Brain Circuits using Pulsed Ultrasound. Neural Restoration Workshop, Sandia National Laboratories (Nov 2009).
  • Tyler, W.J. Chasing Quanta and Building a Neurotechnology Company in Tough Economic Times. M.I.T. Neurotechnology Ventures (Nov 2009).
  • Tyler, W.J. Remote Stimulation of Neuronal Circuits using Pulsed Ultrasound. Translational Genomics/Barrow Neurological Institute/St. Joseph's Hospital (Oct 2009).
  • Tyler, W. J. Remote Excitation of Neuronal Activity using Pulsed Ultrasound. The Physiological Society Meeting (Jul 2009).
  • Tyler, W.J. Remote Stimulation of Neuronal Circuits using Pulsed Ultrasound. Department of Physiology Colloquim Series, University College of London (Jul 2009).
  • Tyler, W. J. Future Neurotechnologies. Neurotechnology Industry Organization Partnering Conference (Apr 2009).
  • Tyler, William. BDNF enhances quantal neurotransmitter release and increases the number of docked vesicles at the active zones of hippocampal excitatory synapses. Annual Retreat
  • Tyler, William. Optical analysis of neurotransmitter release from individual hippocampal presynaptic nerve terminals following BDNF treatment. Annual Retreat
  • SoLS Events Committee, (2007 - Present)
  • SoLS Safety Committee, (2007 - Present)
  • Alpha Phi Omega Service Fraternity, Faculty Advisor (2007 - Present)
  • Cold Spring Harbor Laboratories Meetings and Courses, Course Director (2009 - 2009)
  • Cold Spring Harbor Laboratories Meetings and Courses, Course Director (2008 - 2008)