Associate Professor Ingvars Birznieks

Associate Professor Ingvars Birznieks

Associate Professor
Medicine & Health
School of Biomedical Sciences

Dr Ingvars Birznieks is a sensory neurophysiologist interested in sensory information encoding mechanisms. He received his PhD training at the Umeå University in Sweden and the University of Melbourne, Australia - the leading laboratories in the field of somatosensory research.

During his postdoctoral studies at the Prince of Wales Medical Research Institute in Sydney, he broadened his research competence investigating proprioception, muscle pain mechanisms and function of the autonomic nervous system.

From 2011 to 2014 he held an academic position of Senior Lecturer (Physiology) at the School of Science and Health at the Western Sydney University where he engaged in Biomedical Engineering and Neuroscience (BENS) research program at MARCS Institute for Brain, Behaviour & Development.

Since 2014 he is at the Department of Physiology, School of Medical Sciences, UNSW Medicine in Sydney. In the role of a Senior Research Fellow he leads the Tactile research group at the Neuroscience Research Australia (NeuRA).

His research primarily comprises range of studies related to the function of tactile receptors and sensorimotor control of the human hand. However, his ultimate goal is to use this fundamental knowledge and develop two branches of collaborative networks - one with clinicians, which would be aimed to develop new methods for evaluation of sensorimotor function in different groups of patients, while the second branch would be aimed to work with biomedical engineers to create artificial sensors and control algorithms for prosthesis and robotic manipulators resembling functionality of the human hand.

Research topic classification: tactile, tactile sensing, tactile sensors, touch, touch perception, vibro-tactile, sensory physiology, sensory, processing, sensory systems, haptics, neurobiology, neurophysiology, neuroscience, peripheral nervous system, prostheses, robotics, stroke, stroke rehabilitation, sensorimotor control, dexterity, hand, biomedical engineering, bionics, computational neuroscience.

Phone
+61-2-9065 1598
Location
Wallace Wurth Building 3NW, room 314
  • Book Chapters | 2010
    Birznieks I, 2010, 'Neuroprosthesis - theory and praxis', in Gedrovics J; Raipulis J (ed.), Special honorary collection of articles: Scientiae et adulescentiae/For science and youth, RTTEMA, Riga, pp. 60 - 68
    Book Chapters | 2010
    Redmond S; Birznieks I; Lovell NH; Goodwin AW, 2010, 'Classifying Torque, Normal Force and Direction Using Monkey Afferent Nerve Spike Rates', in Kappers AM; van Erp JBF; Tiest WMB; van der Helm FCT (ed.), Haptics Generating and Perceiving Tangible Sensations Part 1, Springer, Heidelberg, pp. 43 - 50, http://www.springerlink.com/content/m416q4344k755020/
    Book Chapters | 2009
    Macefield VG; Birznieks I, 2009, 'Cutaneous Mechanoreceptors, Functional Behavior', in Encyclopedia of Neuroscience, Springer Berlin Heidelberg, pp. 914 - 922, http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/978-3-540-29678-2_1359
    Book Chapters | 2008
    2008, '14-3-3', in Encyclopedia of Neuroscience, Springer Berlin Heidelberg, pp. 1 - 1, http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/978-3-540-29678-2_3
  • Journal articles | 2024
    Afzal N; du Bois de Dunilac S; Loutit AJ; Shea HO; Ulloa PM; Khamis H; Vickery RM; Wiertlewski M; Redmond SJ; Birznieks I, 2024, 'Role of arm reaching movement kinematics in friction perception at initial contact with smooth surfaces', Journal of Physiology, http://dx.doi.org/10.1113/JP286027
    Journal articles | 2024
    Ng KKW; So A; Fang JY; Birznieks I; Vickery RM, 2024, 'Multiplexing intensity and frequency sensations for artificial touch by modulating temporal features of electrical pulse trains', Frontiers in Neuroscience, 18, http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fnins.2024.1125597
    Journal articles | 2023
    Loutit AJ; Wheat HE; Khamis H; Vickery RM; Macefield VG; Birznieks I, 2023, 'How Tactile Afferents in the Human Fingerpad Encode Tangential Torques Associated with Manipulation: Are Monkeys Better than Us?', Journal of Neuroscience, 43, pp. 4033 - 4046, http://dx.doi.org/10.1523/JNEUROSCI.1305-22.2023
    Journal articles | 2022
    Afzal N; Stubbs E; Khamis H; Loutit AJ; Redmond SJ; Vickery RM; Wiertlewski M; Birznieks I, 2022, 'Submillimeter Lateral Displacement Enables Friction Sensing and Awareness of Surface Slipperiness', IEEE Transactions on Haptics, 15, pp. 20 - 25, http://dx.doi.org/10.1109/TOH.2021.3139890
    Journal articles | 2022
    Ng KKW; Tee X; Vickery RM; Birznieks I, 2022, 'The Relationship Between Tactile Intensity Perception and Afferent Spike Count is Moderated by a Function of Frequency', IEEE Transactions on Haptics, 15, pp. 14 - 19, http://dx.doi.org/10.1109/TOH.2022.3140877
    Journal articles | 2022
    Sharma D; Ng KKW; Birznieks I; Vickery RM, 2022, 'Auditory clicks elicit equivalent temporal frequency perception to tactile pulses: A cross-modal psychophysical study', Frontiers in Neuroscience, 16, pp. 1006185, http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fnins.2022.1006185
    Journal articles | 2022
    Sharma D; Ng KKW; Birznieks I; Vickery RM, 2022, 'Perceived tactile intensity at a fixed primary afferent spike rate varies with the temporal pattern of spikes', Journal of Neurophysiology, 128, pp. 1074 - 1084, http://dx.doi.org/10.1152/jn.00284.2022
    Journal articles | 2022
    Sharma D; Ng KKW; Birznieks I; Vickery RM, 2022, 'The burst gap is a peripheral temporal code for pitch perception that is shared across audition and touch', Scientific Reports, 12, pp. 11014, http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41598-022-15269-5
    Journal articles | 2021
    Jack BN; Chilver MR; Vickery RM; Birznieks I; Krstanoska-Blazeska K; Whitford TJ; Griffiths O, 2021, 'Movement planning determines sensory suppression: An event-related potential study', Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 33, pp. 2427 - 2439, http://dx.doi.org/10.1162/jocn_a_01747
    Journal articles | 2021
    Khamis H; Afzal HMN; Sanchez J; Vickery R; Wiertlewski M; Redmond SJ; Birznieks I, 2021, 'Friction sensing mechanisms for perception and motor control: Passive touch without sliding may not provide perceivable frictional information', Journal of Neurophysiology, 125, pp. 809 - 823, http://dx.doi.org/10.1152/JN.00504.2020
    Journal articles | 2021
    Ng KKW; Snow IN; Birznieks I; Vickery RM, 2021, 'Burst gap code predictions for tactile frequency are valid across the range of perceived frequencies attributed to two distinct tactile channels', Journal of Neurophysiology, 125, pp. 687 - 692, http://dx.doi.org/10.1152/jn.00662.2020
    Journal articles | 2021
    Willemet L; Kanzari K; Monnoyer J; Birznieks I; Wiertlewski M, 2021, 'Initial contact shapes the perception of friction', Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 118, http://dx.doi.org/10.1073/pnas.2109109118
    Journal articles | 2021
    chen F; Zhou Y; Zhu Y; zhu R; Guan P; Fan J; zhou L; Valanoor N; Wegner FV; Saribatir E; Birznieks I; Wan T; Chu D; von Wegner F, 2021, 'Recent progress in artificial synaptic devices: materials, processing and applications', Journal of Materials Chemistry C, 9, pp. 8372 - 8394, http://dx.doi.org/10.1039/D1TC01211H
    Journal articles | 2020
    Ng K; Olausson C; Vickery R; Birznieks I, 2020, 'Temporal patterns in electrical nerve stimulation: burst gap code shapes tactile frequency perception', , http://dx.doi.org/10.1101/2020.04.10.033241
    Journal articles | 2020
    Ng KKW; Olausson C; Vickery RM; Birznieks I, 2020, 'Temporal patterns in electrical nerve stimulation: Burst gap code shapes tactile frequency perception', PLoS ONE, 15, pp. e0237440, http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0237440
    Journal articles | 2020
    Vickery RM; Ng KKW; Potas JR; Shivdasani MN; McIntyre S; Nagi SS; Birznieks I, 2020, 'Tapping Into the Language of Touch: Using Non-invasive Stimulation to Specify Tactile Afferent Firing Patterns', Frontiers in Neuroscience, 14, pp. 500, http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fnins.2020.00500
    Journal articles | 2019
    Birznieks I; McIntyre S; Nilsson H; Nagi S; Macefield V; Mahns D; Vickery R, 2019, 'Tactile sensory channels over-ruled by frequency decoding system that utilizes spike pattern regardless of receptor type', , http://dx.doi.org/10.1101/570929
    Journal articles | 2019
    Birznieks I; McIntyre S; Nilsson HM; Nagi SS; Macefield VG; Mahns DA; Vickery RM, 2019, 'Tactile sensory channels over-ruled by frequency decoding system that utilizes spike pattern regardless of receptor type', eLife, 8, pp. e46510, http://dx.doi.org/10.7554/eLife.46510
    Journal articles | 2019
    Loutit AJ; Shivdasani MN; Maddess T; Redmond SJ; Morley JW; Stuart GJ; Birznieks I; Vickery RM; Potas JR, 2019, 'Peripheral nerve activation evokes machine-learnable signals in the dorsal column nuclei', Frontiers in Systems Neuroscience, 13, pp. 11, http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fnsys.2019.00011
    Journal articles | 2019
    Smith LJ; Macefield VG; Birznieks I; Burton AR, 2019, 'Effects of tonic muscle pain on fusimotor control of human muscle spindles during isometric ankle dorsiflexion', Journal of Neurophysiology, 121, pp. 1143 - 1149, http://dx.doi.org/10.1152/jn.00862.2018
    Journal articles | 2018
    Chen W; Khamis H; Birznieks I; Lepora NF; Redmond SJ, 2018, 'Tactile Sensors for Friction Estimation and Incipient Slip Detection - Toward Dexterous Robotic Manipulation: A Review', IEEE Sensors Journal, 18, pp. 9049 - 9064, http://dx.doi.org/10.1109/JSEN.2018.2868340
    Journal articles | 2018
    Steel KA; Mudie K; Sandoval R; Anderson D; Dogramaci S; Rehmanjan M; Birznieks I, 2018, 'Can Video Self-Modeling Improve Affected Limb Reach and Grasp Ability in Stroke Patients?', Journal of Motor Behavior, 50, pp. 117 - 126, http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/00222895.2017.1306480
    Journal articles | 2017
    Birznieks I; Vickery RM, 2017, 'Spike Timing Matters in Novel Neuronal Code Involved in Vibrotactile Frequency Perception', Current Biology, 27, pp. 1485 - 1490.e2, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cub.2017.04.011
    Journal articles | 2017
    Day J; Bent LR; Birznieks I; Macefield VG; Cresswell AG, 2017, 'Muscle spindles in human tibialis anterior encode muscle fascicle length changes', Journal of Neurophysiology, 117, pp. 1489 - 1498, http://dx.doi.org/10.1152/jn.00374.2016
    Journal articles | 2016
    Birznieks I; Gerling GJ; Sergi F; Bensmaia SJ, 2016, 'Haptics in Neuroscience', IEEE Transactions on Haptics, 9, pp. 443 - 445, http://dx.doi.org/10.1109/TOH.2016.2627738
    Journal articles | 2016
    Birznieks I; Logina I; Wasner G, 2016, 'Somatotopic mismatch of hand representation following stroke: is recovery possible?', Neurocase, 22, pp. 95 - 102, http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13554794.2015.1046886
    Journal articles | 2016
    Kasi P; Wright J; Khamis H; Birznieks I; Van Schaik A, 2016, 'The Bayesian decoding of force stimuli from slowly adapting type I fibers in humans', PLoS ONE, 11, http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0153366
    Journal articles | 2016
    McIntyre S; Birznieks I; Vickery RM; Holcombe AO; Seizova-Cajic T, 2016, 'The tactile motion aftereffect suggests an intensive code for speed in neurons sensitive to both speed and direction of motion', Journal of Neurophysiology, 115, pp. 1703 - 1712, http://dx.doi.org/10.1152/jn.00460.2015
    Journal articles | 2015
    Hudson KM; Condon M; Ackerley R; McGlone F; Olausson H; Macefield VG; Birznieks I, 2015, 'Effects of changing skin mechanics on the differential sensitivity to surface compliance by tactile afferents in the human finger pad', Journal of Neurophysiology, 114, pp. 2249 - 2257, http://dx.doi.org/10.1152/jn.00176.2014
    Journal articles | 2015
    Khamis H; Birznieks I; Redmond SJ, 2015, 'Decoding tactile afferent activity to obtain an estimate of instantaneous force and torque applied to the fingerpad', Journal of Neurophysiology, 114, pp. 474 - 484, http://dx.doi.org/10.1152/jn.00040.2015
    Journal articles | 2015
    Nagi SS; Dunn JS; Birznieks I; Vickery RM; Mahns DA, 2015, 'The effects of preferential A- and C-fibre blocks and T-type calcium channel antagonist on detection of low-force monofilaments in healthy human participants', BMC Neuroscience, 16, pp. 52, http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12868-015-0190-2
    Journal articles | 2014
    Arabzadeh E; Clifford CWG; Harris JA; Mahns DA; Macefield VG; Birznieks I, 2014, 'Single tactile afferents outperform human subjects in a vibrotactile intensity discrimination task', Journal of Neurophysiology, 112, pp. 2382 - 2387, http://dx.doi.org/10.1152/jn.00482.2014
    Journal articles | 2014
    Condon M; Birznieks I; Hudson K; Chelvanayagam DK; Mahns D; Olausson H; Macefield VG, 2014, 'Differential sensitivity to surface compliance by tactile afferents in the human finger pad', Journal of Neurophysiology, 111, pp. 1308 - 1317, http://dx.doi.org/10.1152/jn.00589.2013
    Journal articles | 2014
    Fazalbhoy A; Birznieks I; Macefield VG, 2014, 'Consistent interindividual increases or decreases in muscle sympathetic nerve activity during experimental muscle pain', Experimental Brain Research, 232, pp. 1309 - 1315, http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00221-014-3847-7
    Journal articles | 2013
    Fazalbhoy A; Macefield VG; Birznieks I, 2013, 'Tonic muscle pain does not increase fusimotor drive to human leg muscles: Implications for chronic muscle pain', Experimental Physiology, 98, pp. 1125 - 1132, http://dx.doi.org/10.1113/expphysiol.2012.071670
    Journal articles | 2012
    Birznieks I; Boonstra TW; Macefield VG, 2012, 'Modulation of human muscle spindle discharge by arterial pulsations - functional effects and consequences', PLoS One, 7, pp. Article number e35091, http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0035091
    Journal articles | 2012
    Birznieks I; Logina I; Wasner G, 2012, 'Somatotopic mismatch following stroke: a pathophysiological condition escaping detection', BMJ Case Reports, pp. 1 - 4, http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bcr-2012-006304
    Journal articles | 2012
    Birznieks I; Logina I; Wasner G, 2012, 'Somatotopic mismatch following stroke: a pathophysiological condition escaping detection.', BMJ case reports, 2012
    Journal articles | 2012
    Chan GSH; Fazalbhoy A; Birznieks I; Macefield VG; Middleton PM; Lovell NH, 2012, 'Spontaneous fluctuations in the peripheral photoplethysmographic waveform: Roles of arterial pressure and muscle sympathetic nerve activity', American Journal of Physiology - Heart and Circulatory Physiology, 302, pp. H826 - H836, http://dx.doi.org/10.1152/ajpheart.00970.2011
    Journal articles | 2012
    Fazalbhoy A; Birznieks I; Macefield VG, 2012, 'Individual differences in the cardiovascular responses to tonic muscle pain: parallel increases or decreases in muscle sympathetic nerve activity, blood pressure and heart rate.', Experimental Physiology, 97, pp. 1084 - 1092, http://dx.doi.org/10.1113/expphysiol.2012.066191
    Journal articles | 2012
    Hall S; Fazalbhoy A; Birznieks I; Macefield VG, 2012, 'Biphasic effects of tonic stimulation of muscle nociceptors on skin sympathetic nerve activity in human subjects.', Experimental Brain Research, 221, pp. 107 - 114, http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00221-012-3156-y
    Journal articles | 2012
    McIntyre S; Holcombe AO; Birznieks I; Seizova-Cajic T, 2012, 'Tactile motion adaptation reduces perceived speed but shows no evidence of direction sensitivity.', PLoS One, 7, pp. Article numbere 45438, http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0045438
    Journal articles | 2010
    Birznieks I; Wheat HE; Redmond SJ; Salo LM; Lovell NH; Goodwin AW, 2010, 'Encoding of tangential torque in responses of tactile afferent fibres innervating the monkey's fingerpad', Journal of Physiology: London, 588, pp. 1057 - 1072
    Journal articles | 2009
    Birznieks I; Burton A; Macefield V, 2009, 'Does muscle pain increase muscle stiffness?', Physiology News, pp. 21 - 22, http://dx.doi.org/10.36866/pn.73.21
    Journal articles | 2009
    Birznieks I; Macefield VG; Westling G; Johansson RS, 2009, 'Slowly adapting mechanoreceptors in the borders of the human fingernail encode fingertip forces', Journal of Neuroscience, 29, pp. 9370 - 9379
    Journal articles | 2009
    Burton AR; Birznieks I; Bolton PS; Henderson L; Macefield VG, 2009, 'Effects of deep and superficial experimentally induced acute pain on muscle sympathetic nerve activity in human subjects', The Journal of Physiology, 587, pp. 183 - 193
    Journal articles | 2009
    Burton AR; Birznieks I; Spaak J; Henderson L; Macefield VG, 2009, 'Effects of deep and superficial experimentally induced acute pain on skin sympathetic nerve activity in human subjects', Experimental Brain Research, 195, pp. 317 - 324
    Journal articles | 2009
    Burton AR; Birznieks I; Spaak J; Henderson LA; Macefield VG, 2009, '2. Human Physiology', Autonomic Neuroscience, 149, pp. 73 - 74, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.autneu.2009.05.130
    Journal articles | 2009
    Rajaratnam SMW; Polymeropoulos MH; Fisher DM; Roth T; Scott C; Birznieks G; Klerman EB, 2009, 'Melatonin agonist tasimelteon (VEC-162) for transient insomnia after sleep-time shift: two randomised controlled multicentre trials', LANCET, 373, pp. 482 - 491, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(08)61812-7
    Journal articles | 2008
    Birznieks I; Burton AR; Macefield VG, 2008, 'The effects of experimental muscle and skin pain on the static stretch sensitivity of human muscle spindles in relaxed leg muscles', The Journal of Physiology, 586, pp. 2713 - 2723, http://dx.doi.org/10.1113/jphysiol.2008.151746
    Journal articles | 2004
    Johansson RS; Birznieks I, 2004, 'First spikes in ensembles of human tactile afferents code complex spatial fingertip events', Nature Neuroscience, 7, pp. 170 - 177, http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/nn1177
    Journal articles | 2003
    Jenmalm P; Birznieks I; Goodwin AW; Johansson RS, 2003, 'Influence of object shape on responses of human tactile afferents under conditions characteristic of manipulation', European Journal of Neuroscience, 18, pp. 164 - 176, http://dx.doi.org/10.1046/j.1460-9568.2003.02721.x
    Journal articles | 2001
    Birznieks I; Jenmalm P; Goodwin AW; Johansson RS, 2001, 'Encoding of direction of fingertip forces by human tactile afferents', Journal of Neuroscience, 21, pp. 8222 - 8237, http://dx.doi.org/10.1523/jneurosci.21-20-08222.2001
    Journal articles | 1999
    Birznieks I; Jenmalm P; Goodwin A; Johansson R, 1999, 'Directional encoding of fingertip force by human tactile afferents.', Acta Physiol Scand, 167, pp. A24, http://dx.doi.org/10.1046/j.1365-201x.1999.600ae.x
    Journal articles | 1999
    Jenmalm P; Birznieks I; Goodwin A; Johansson R, 1999, 'Differential responses in populations of fingertip tactile afferents to objects' surface curvatures.', Acta Physiol Scand, 167, pp. A24 - A25, http://dx.doi.org/10.1046/j.1365-201x.1999.600af.x
    Journal articles | 1998
    Birznieks I; Burstedt MKO; Edin BB; Johansson RS, 1998, 'Mechanisms for force adjustments to unpredictable frictional changes at individual digits during two-fingered manipulation', Journal of Neurophysiology, 80, pp. 1989 - 2002, http://dx.doi.org/10.1152/jn.1998.80.4.1989
    Journal articles | 1997
    Burstedt GKO; Birznieks I; Edin BB; Johansson RS, 1997, 'Control of forces applied by individual fingers engaged in restraint of an active object', Journal of Neurophysiology, 78, pp. 117 - 128, http://dx.doi.org/10.1152/jn.1997.78.1.117
  • Preprints | 2023
    Afzal N; Dunilac SDBD; Loutit AJ; Shea HO; Martinez Ulloa P; Khamis H; Vickery RM; Wiertlewski M; Redmond SJ; Birznieks I, 2023, Role of finger movement kinematics in friction perception at initial contact with smooth surfaces, , http://dx.doi.org/10.1101/2023.10.29.564644
    Preprints | 2023
    Nagi SS; McIntyre S; Ng KKW; Mahns DA; Birznieks I; Vickery RM, 2023, Contribution of remote Pacinian corpuscles to flutter-range frequency discrimination in humans, , http://dx.doi.org/10.21203/rs.3.rs-3764155/v1
    Preprints | 2023
    Saal HP; Birznieks I; Johansson RS, 2023, Memory at your fingertips: how viscoelasticity affects tactile neuron signaling, , http://dx.doi.org/10.1101/2023.05.15.540820
    Preprints | 2023
    Saal HP; Birznieks I; Johansson RS, 2023, Memory at your fingertips: how viscoelasticity affects tactile neuron signaling, , http://dx.doi.org/10.7554/elife.89616
    Preprints | 2023
    Saal HP; Birznieks I; Johansson RS, 2023, Memory at your fingertips: how viscoelasticity affects tactile neuron signaling, , http://dx.doi.org/10.7554/elife.89616.1
    Conference Papers | 2022
    Loutit AJ; Pande S; Afzal N; Abdollahzadeh P; Vickery RM; Birznieks I, 2022, 'Precision Grip Discrimination of Object Thickness', in Seifi H; Kappers AML; Schneider O; Drewing K; Pacchierotti C; Abbasimoshaei A; Huisman G; Kern TA (eds.), HAPTICS: SCIENCE, TECHNOLOGY, APPLICATIONS, EUROHAPTICS 2022, SPRINGER INTERNATIONAL PUBLISHING AG, GERMANY, Hamburg, pp. 447 - 451, presented at 13th International Conference on Human Haptic Sensing and Touch Enabled Computer Applications (EuroHaptics), GERMANY, Hamburg, 22 May 2022 - 25 May 2022, https://www.webofscience.com/api/gateway?GWVersion=2&SrcApp=PARTNER_APP&SrcAuth=LinksAMR&KeyUT=WOS:000886345900070&DestLinkType=FullRecord&DestApp=ALL_WOS&UsrCustomerID=891bb5ab6ba270e68a29b250adbe88d1
    Preprints | 2022
    Loutit AJ; Wheat HE; Khamis H; Vickery RM; Macefield VG; Birznieks I, 2022, How tactile afferents in the human fingerpad encode tangential torques associated with manipulation: are we better than monkeys?, , http://dx.doi.org/10.1101/2022.07.11.499647
    Preprints | 2021
    Willemet L; Kanzari K; Monnoyer J; Birznieks I; Wiertlewski M, 2021, Initial contact shapes the perception of friction, , http://dx.doi.org/10.1101/2021.09.20.461039
    Conference Presentations | 2019
    Cheung R; Walters C; Vickery R; Birznieks I; Potas J, 2019, 'What can the rat dorsal column nuclei tell us about the limits of human tactile perception?', presented at Society for Neuroscience, Chicago, 24 October 2019
    Conference Papers | 2018
    Ng KKW; Birznieks I; Tse ITH; Andersen J; Nilsson S; Vickery RM, 2018, 'Perceived frequency of aperiodic vibrotactile stimuli depends on temporal encoding', in Lecture Notes in Computer Science (including subseries Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence and Lecture Notes in Bioinformatics), pp. 199 - 208, http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-93445-7_18
    Conference Papers | 2016
    Birznieks I; Khamis H; Redmond SJ; Tripodi R; Linarts A; Zavickis J; Knite M, 2016, 'Design principles for building a soft, compliant, high spatial resolution tactile sensor array', in Bello F; Kajimoto H; Visell Y (eds.), Haptics: Perception, Devices, Control, and Applications: 10th International Conference, EuroHaptics 2016, London, UK, July 4-7, 2016, Proceedings, Part 2, Springer, London, UK, pp. 25 - 34, presented at EuroHaptics 2016, London, UK, 04 July 2016 - 07 July 2016, http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-42324-1_3
    Conference Papers | 2016
    McIntyre S; Birznieks I; Andersson R; Dicander G; Breen PP; Vickery RM, 2016, 'Temporal integration of tactile inputs from multiple sites', in Bello F; Kajimoto H; Visell Y (eds.), Lecture Notes in Computer Science (including subseries Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence and Lecture Notes in Bioinformatics), SPRINGER INT PUBLISHING AG, Imperial Coll London, London, ENGLAND, pp. 204 - 213, presented at 10th International Conference on Haptics - Perception, Devices, Control, and Applications (EuroHaptics), Imperial Coll London, London, ENGLAND, 04 July 2016 - 07 July 2016, http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-42321-0_19
    Conference Papers | 2015
    Kasi P; Birznieks I; van Schaik A, 2015, 'A point process approach to encode tactile afferents', in Lotito J (ed.), Neural Engineering (NER), 2015 7th International IEEE/EMBS Conference on, IEEE, Montpellier, France, pp. 328 - 331, presented at 7th International IEEE/EMBS Conference on Neural Engineering (NER), Montpellier, France, 22 April 2015 - 24 April 2015, http://dx.doi.org/10.1109/NER.2015.7146626
    Conference Abstracts | 2015
    Vickery R; Rodrigues B; Dahlman S; Schramko L; Morley J; Redmond S; Birznieks I, 2015, 'Non-invasive tactile feedback from artificial sensors using a biomimetic code', in JOURNAL OF NEUROCHEMISTRY, WILEY-BLACKWELL, AUSTRALIA, Cairns, Vol. 134, pp. 377 - 377, presented at 25th Biennial Meeting of the International-Society-for-Neurochemistry Jointly with the 13th Meeting of the Asian-Pacific-Society-for-Neurochemistry in Conjunction with the 35th Meeting of the Australasian-Neuroscience-Society, AUSTRALIA, Cairns, 23 August 2015 - 27 August 2015
    Conference Papers | 2014
    Khamis H; Redmond S; Macefield V; Birznieks I, 2014, 'Classification of texture and frictional condition at initial contact by tactile afferent responses', in Auvray M; Duriez C (ed.), Lecture Notes in Computer Science (including subseries Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence and Lecture Notes in Bioinformatics), Springer, Heidelberg, pp. 460 - 468, presented at Haptics: Neuroscience, Devices, Modeling, and Applications 2014, FRANCE, Versailles, - , http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/978-3-662-44193-0_58
    Conference Papers | 2014
    Khamis HA; Redmond SJ; Macefield VG; Birznieks I, 2014, 'Tactile afferents encode grip safety before slip for different frictions', in Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society (EMBC), 2014, Chicago, presented at 36th Annual International Conference of the IEEE, Chicago, 26 August 2014 - 30 August 2014, http://dx.doi.org/10.1109/EMBC.2014.6944531
    Conference Papers | 2014
    McIntyre S; Seizova-Cajic T; Birznieks I; Holcombe AO; Vickery RM, 2014, 'Adaptation to motion presented with a tactile array', in Auvray M; Duriez C (ed.), Lecture Notes in Computer Science - Haptics: Neuroscience, Devices, Modeling, and Applications, Springer, Heidelberg, pp. 351 - 359, presented at Eurohaptics, Versailles, 24 June 2014 - 26 June 2014, http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/978-3-662-44193-0_44
    Conference Papers | 2014
    Seizova-Cajic T; Bergstrom S; Karlsson K; McIntyre S; Birznieks I, 2014, 'Lateral skin stretch influences direction judgments of motion across the skin', in Auvray M; Duriez C (ed.), Lecture Notes in Computer Science (including subseries Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence and Lecture Notes in Bioinformatics), Springer, FRANCE, Versailles, pp. 425 - 431, presented at 9th International Conference on Haptics - Neuroscience, Devices, Modeling, and Applications (EuroHaptics), FRANCE, Versailles, 24 June 2014 - 27 June 2014, http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/978-3-662-44193-0_53
    Conference Papers | 2013
    Rager DM; Alvares D; Birznieks I; Redmond SJ; Morley JW; Lovell NH; Vickery RM, 2013, 'Generating tactile afferent stimulation patterns for slip and touch feedback in neural prosthetics', in Hirooka Y; Ide T; Kishi T; Sugimachi M (eds.), 2013 35th Annual International Conference of the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society (EMBC 2013), IEEE, Osaka, Japan, pp. 5922 - 5925, presented at 35th IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society Annual International Conference, Osaka, Japan, 03 July 2013 - 07 July 2013, http://dx.doi.org/10.1109/EMBC.2013.6610900
    Conference Papers | 2012
    Fu J; Birznieks I; Goodwin ; Khamis H; Redmond SJ, 2012, 'Decoding tactile sensation: Multiple regression analysis of monkey fingertip afferent mechanoreceptor population responses', in Proceedings of the Annual International Conference of the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society, EMBS, Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc., Piscataway, USA, pp. 4631 - 4634, presented at 34th Annual International Conference of the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society, EMBS 2012, San Diego, CA, 28 August 2012 - 01 September 2012, http://dx.doi.org/10.1109/EMBC.2012.6346999
    Conference Papers | 2010
    Birznieks I; Boonstra TW; Macefield VG, 2010, 'Physiological noise in the firing of human muscle spindle afferents', in Small D (ed.), Australian Neurosciences Society Annual Scientific Meeting 2010, ANS, Sydney, pp. 172 - 172, presented at Australian Neurosciences Society Annual Scientific Meeting 2010, Sydney, 31 January 2010 - 03 February 2010
    Conference Papers | 2010
    Redmond SJ; Goodwin AW; Lovell NH; Birznieks I, 2010, 'A Comparison of Monkey Afferent Nerve Spike Rates and Spike Latencies for Classifying Torque, Normal Force and Direction', World Scientific, Singapore, presented at APSIPA Annual Summit and Conference, Biopolis, Singapore, 15 December 2010 - 17 December 2010, http://apsipa2010.i2r.a-star.edu.sg/v3/acceptedpapers.shtml
    Conference Papers | 2009
    Birznieks I; Macefield VG, 2009, 'DYNAMIC SENSITIVITY OF HUMAN MUSCLE SPINDLES TO ARTERIAL PULSATIONS DURING ACUTE MUSCLE AND SKIN PAIN', in JOURNAL OF PHYSIOLOGICAL SCIENCES, SPRINGER TOKYO, pp. 376 - 376, https://www.webofscience.com/api/gateway?GWVersion=2&SrcApp=PARTNER_APP&SrcAuth=LinksAMR&KeyUT=WOS:000271023102511&DestLinkType=FullRecord&DestApp=ALL_WOS&UsrCustomerID=891bb5ab6ba270e68a29b250adbe88d1
    Conference Papers | 2008
    Birznieks I; Westling G; Johansson RS; Macefield VG, 2008, 'Directional tuning of slowly-adating mechanoreceptors in the human nail bed', in Proceedings of Aust Neuroscience Society, Hobart, pp. 30 - 30, presented at Australian Neuroscience Society 28th Annual Meeting, Hobart, 27 January 2008 - 30 January 2008
    Conference Papers | 2008
    Burton AR; Birznieks I; Macefield VG, 2008, 'Regional skin temperature as an indicator of underlying muscle perfusion', in Proceedings of Aust Neuroscience Society, Hobart, pp. 52 - 52, presented at Australian Neuroscience Society 28th Annual Meeting, Hobart, 27 January 2008 - 30 January 2008
    Conference Papers | 2006
    Burton AR; Birznieks I; Macefield VG, 2006, 'Comparison of the sympathetic neural responses to pain originating in muscle skin in awake human subjects', in Proceedings of Aust Neuroscience Society, Sydney, pp. 48 - 48, presented at 26th Annual meeting of the Australian Neuroscience Society, Sydney, 31 January 2006 - 03 February 2006

Expression of Interest: One or more Postdoctoral Research Fellow positions available in Sydney
We are seeking postdoctoral researchers for employment duration of 1-4 years (starting as soon as possible). We are looking for candidates with skills either in systems or computational neuroscience, psychophysics, and/or mechatronic, biomedical engineering disciplines. There is some flexibility how we combine skillsets of lab members. If you have interest in sensory systems, cochlear implants, sensorimotor control of the human hand or robotic and bionic manipulators, please contact us for more information.

Birznieks I. The secret of tiny hand movements to feel and manipulate objects. ARC discovery project grant. App Id: DP230100048 $418,703; Funding for 2023-2025

Palomba S., Moreno C., Choi D-Y., Houshyar S., Birznieks I. NHMRC Ideas grant. Universal neurophotonic interface: a revolution in medical bionics. $1,474,420 App Id: 2021208; Funding for 2023-2026

Hatton A., Birznieks I., Pape L., Mullan L., Hurn S. Augmented Vibrotexture – sensory bionics technology for balance restoration in foot nerve damage. Bionics Queensland, Bionics Challenge 2021, Major prize winner in Bionics Senses. Funding for 2022; $50,000

Birznieks I., Vickery R.M., Potas J.R., Shivdasani M., The role of spike patterning in shaping human perception of tactile stimuli. ARC Discovery Project grant. App Id: DP200100630 $550,000 Funding for 2020-2022 

Birznieks I. Sensory mechanisms underlying human dexterity in object manipulation. ARC discovery project grant. App Id: DP170100064 $365,500; Funding for 2017-2019

Breen P., Stiefel K., Birznieks I., Penkala S. A novel electrical device to restore sensory feeling lost due to disease and ageing. NHMRC Project Grant Funding Round. App Id: APP1067353 $308,247; Funding for 2014-2016

Birznieks I., Khamis H. Sensorimotor control of hand movement and dexterous object manipulation. 2013 UWS School of Science and Health Strategic Research Investment grant. $30,000

Birznieks I., Redmond S.J., Macefield V.G. The encoding of friction by tactile mechanoreceptors – the key to fingertip force control during dexterous object manipulation by humans. ARC discovery project grant. App Id: DP110104691 $290,000; Funding for 2012-2014

Birznieks I., Vickery R.M., Macefield V.G., Krishnan A.V. Information encoding by temporal structure of afferent spike trains evoked by complex vibrotactile stimuli. NHMRC Project Grant Funding Round. App Id: APP1028284 $231,175; Funding for 2012-2014

Macefield V.G., Birznieks I. The effects of tonic muscle pain on the sympathetic and somatic motor systems in human subjects. NHMRC Project Grant Funding Round. App Id: APP1028284 $447,350; Funding for 2012-2014

Seizova-Cajic T., Birznieks I. Adaptation and aftereffects in perception of tactile motion. ARC discovery project grant. App Id: DP110104691 $160, 000; Funding for 2011-2013

Our research comprises a range of studies related to the sense of touch in various contexts being it clinically relevant like for example stroke, pain, diabetic neuropathy, loss of limb or solving engineering problems by borrowing ideas from biological systems to build dexterous robotic manipulators and prosthesis which can also feel.

Our research program is interdisciplinary and relies on innovative platform capabilities linking the neurosciences, medicine and engineering disciplines.

 

  • Neural code – the language of the nervous system; how to eavesdrop and understand neural communication and how to send our own messages through this channel

Touch receptors in the fingertips communicate with the brain using short electrical impulses also called spikes. My research is about how those impulses encode information and how it is interpreted by the brain. To address these questions we have learned to create those exact patterns of spikes in touch neurons using non-invasive mechanical stimuli. This technology is unique to our laboratory and has been developed over several years of tight collaboration between Dr Richard Vickery and me. We have gained unprecedented access to neural communication at the level of single neurons and the ability to investigate how spiking activity in those neurons influences perceptual experience. With this knowledge of neural code and non-invasive access to the communication channel we can “trick” the brain into thinking it is touching objects that are our artificial constructs.

 

  • Dexterity of the human hand – how hand movements are controlled by sense of touch and how this knowledge could be used to build a robotic or bionic hands

The dexterity of the human hand still remains unmatched by the most advanced artificial devices - largely because it is not understood how relevant sensory information is extracted and utilised. My research builds upon interdisciplinary technologies integrating sensory and computational neuroscience and biomedical engineering. It is directed to gain understanding of the sophisticated sensory and motor control mechanisms underlying the unique human ability to manipulate objects and use tools. Extending beyond the fundamental scientific focus of understanding sense of touch, this research is aimed to inform the development of next generation sensory-controlled bionic systems and tele-sensory haptics devices including telesurgery robots.

 

  • Stroke - distorted touch perception after stroke

Recovery of hand dexterity after stroke cannot be achieved in the absence of tactile sensory information, but the interpretation of this input requires that orderly somatotopic representation of hand’s skin has to be preserved. Unfortunately, this is not necessarily the case after substantial reorganization of neural connectivity following brain tissue damage due to stroke. This research is important as without tactile sensory information, functional use of the hand is hardly possible, even when motor system is intact. Rehabilitation efforts that do not address this can bring only limited improvements.

 

You can read more about the research projects and research team [here]

 

My Research Supervision

Our lab and students in 2019

 

Tactile Research Lab 2019

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