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Professor Tim Bussey

Professor Tim Bussey

Professor of Behavioural Neuroscience

Director of Studies in Natural Sciences, and in the PBS Tripos, Pembroke College, Cambridge

Office Phone: +44 (0)1223 (3)33585 (Department) / +44 (0)1223 (7)66413 (Pembroke)


Tim Bussey is Professor of Behavioural Neuroscience in the Department of Psychology at the University of Cambridge, and Fellow and Director of Studies at Pembroke College. His work aims to understand cognition – learning, memory, attention etc. --  and how the brain does it, what goes wrong in things like Alzheimer’s disease or schizophrenia, and possible ways to fix it. He initiated the #SheBlindedMeWithScience project, a musical collaboration – tapping into his previous career as a full-time musician -- with ScienceGrrl to celebrate and support women in science.

Research Interests

Professor Bussey’s work has involved several different converging methods of enquiry. His experimental work and theoretical ideas have been published and discussed in journals such as Trends in Cognitive Sciences, Nature Reviews Neuroscience, Current Opinion in Biology, Science, PNAS and Annual Reviews in Neuroscience. Dr Bussey’s achievements include the development of a computer-automated cognitive testing method. Professor Bussey’s theoretical work has challenged prevailing views regarding the organisation of brain function, and has recently been substantiated by a number of studies carried out in his own and several independent laboratories. In another stream of research he has elucidated the neural mechanisms underpinning object recognition memory and related cognitive functions. He is currently using the methods developed in these studies to investigate psychiatric and neurodegenerative diseases, and is testing potential therapeutic agents.


  • perirhinal cortex
  • touchscreens
  • visual perception
  • temporal lobes
  • neural circuit
  • memory
  • pattern separation

Key Publications

Bekinschtein, P., Kent, B.A., Oomen, C.A., Clemenson, G.D., Gage, F.H., Saksida, L.M., & Bussey, T.J. (2013) BDNF in the dentate gyrus is required for consolidation of "pattern-separated" memories. Cell Reports, 5:759-768.

Nithianantharajah, J, Komiyama, N.H., McKechanie, A., Johnstone, M., Blackwood, D.H., St Clair, D., Emes, R.D., van de Lagemaat, L.N., Saksida, L.M., Bussey, T.J.  & Grant, S.G.N. (2012) Synaptic scaffold evolution generated components of vertebrate cognitive complexity. Nature Neuroscience, 16:16-24.

McTighe, S., Cowell, R., Winters, B.D., Bussey, T.J. & Saksida, L.M. (2010). Paradoxical false memory for objects after brain damage. Science, 330:1408-1410.

Creer, D.J., Romberg, C., Saksida, L.M., van Praag, H., Bussey, T.J. (2010). Running enhances spatial pattern separation in mice. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A107(5): 2367-72.

Clelland, C.D., Choi, M., Romberg, C., Clemenson, G.D. Jr, Fragniere, A., Tyers P., Jessberger, S., Saksida, L.M., Barker, R.A., Gage, F.H., Bussey, T.J. (2009). A functional role for adult hippocampal neurogenesis in spatial pattern separation. Science 325(5937): 210-3.