Todd Roberts is the Thomas O. Hicks Scholar in Medical Research and associate professor at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Maryland and worked as a postdoctoral fellow at Duke University Medical Center with Richard Mooney.
Research efforts in the Roberts lab are focused on understanding the circuit and cellular mechanisms for vocal learning, how the brain encodes memories of auditory experiences and uses auditory feedback to shape vocal behaviors. His lab’s research seeks to identify general mechanisms and principles for how brain circuits learn from experience and how disorders known to impede speech and social development in children derail the learning process.
Work in the Roberts lab employs extensive use of optogenetics, calcium imaging and the development of viral vectors. Current research in the lab aims to understand the role of FoxP1 (an autism spectrum disorder risk gene) in regulating vocal imitation in songbirds, including the encoding of memories from social experiences and sensorimotor imitation.