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Simon, Jonathan

2145 A.V. Williams Building

Research Interests 

Auditory neural computations and representations, magnetoencephalography and cortical physiology, signal processing in biological systems, computational and theoretical neuroscience.



Jonathan Simon joined the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department in January '01 and the Biology Department in July '02. He was an affiliate faculty member of the Institute for Systems Research until 2013, when he received an ISR joint appointment. His expertise is applied and theoretical neuroscience. He earned his doctorate in physics from the University of California, Santa Barbara, and did postdoctoral research in theoretical general relativity (University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and University of Maryland-College Park) before embracing the field of neuroscience.

Simon is co-director of the Computational Sensorimotor Systems Laboratory (CSSL) with ECE/ISR professor Timothy Horiuchi. CSSL focuses on the investigation, modeling and implementation of biological sensorimotor systems for both scientific and engineering purposes. Simon's research focuses on neural processing in the brain's auditory system, from specialized processing found only in humans (used in speech processing) to generalized processing found in most mammals, including sound localization.

Selected Publications 

Xiang J., D. Poeppel, and J. Z. Simon (2013), Physiological evidence for auditory modulation filterbanks: cortical responses to concurrent modulations, JASA Express Letters 133(1), EL7-EL12.
Ding, N. and J. Z. Simon (2012) The Emergence of Neural Encoding of Auditory Objects While Listening to Competing Speakers, PNAS, 109(29), 11854-11859.
Ding, N. and J. Z. Simon (2012) Power and Phase Properties of Oscillatory Neural Responses in the Presence of Background Activity, J Comput Neurosci DOI: 10.1007/s10827-012-0424-6.
Zhuo, J., S. Xu, J. Hazelton, R. J. Mullins, J. Z. Simon, G. Fiskum, and R. P. Gullapalli (2012) Diffusion Kurtosis as an in vivo imaging marker for reactive astrogliosis in traumatic brain injury, NeuroImage 59(1) 467-477.
Xiang J., J. Z. Simon and M. Elhilali (2010), Competing streams at the cocktail party: Exploring the mechanisms of attention and temporal integration, J Neurosci  30(36) 12084-12093.
Chait, M., A. de Cheveigné, D. Poeppel and J. Z. Simon (2010) Neural dynamics of attending and ignoring in human auditory cortex, Neuropsychologia 48(11) 3262-3271.
Elhilali, M.*, J. Xiang*, S. A. Shamma and J. Z. Simon (2009), Interaction between attention and bottom-up saliency mediates the representation of foreground and background in an auditory scene, PLoS Biol 7(6), e1000129. *contributed equally
Carr, C. E., D. Soares, J. Smolders and J. Z. Simon (2009), Detection of interaural time differences in the alligator, J Neurosci 29, 7948-7956.
Aytekin, M., C. F. Moss and J. Z. Simon (2008) A Sensorimotor Approach to Sound Localization, Neural Computation, 20, 603-635.
de Cheveigné, A., and J. Z. Simon (2008) Denoising based on spatial filtering, J Neurosci Methods 171(1), 331-339.
de Cheveigné, A., and J. Z. Simon (2007) Denoising Based on Time-Shift PCA, J Neurosci Methods 165(2), 297-305. 
Simon, J. Z., D.A. Depireux, D. J. Klein, J.B. Fritz and S.A. Shamma (2007), Temporal Symmetry in Primary Auditory Cortex: Implications for Cortical Connectivity, Neural Computation, 19, 583-638.
Chait, M., D. Poeppel and J. Z. Simon (2006), Neural Response Correlates of Detection of Monaurally and Binaurally-Created Pitches in Humans, Cerebral Cortex, 16(6), 835-848.
Simon, J. Z. and Y. Wang (2005), Fully Complex Magnetoencephalography, J Neurosci Methods 149(1), 64-73. 
Grau-Serrat, V., C. E. Carr and J. Z. Simon (2003), Modeling Coincidence Detection in Nucleus Laminaris, Biol Cybern. 89, 388-96. 
Depireux D. A., J. Z. Simon, D. J. Klein and S. A. Shamma (2001), Spectro-Temporal Response Field Characterization With Dynamic Ripples in Ferret Primary Auditory Cortex, J Neurophysiol 85,1220-1234. 
Simon, J. Z. (1994), The Physics of Time Travel, Physics World 7:12, 27. 
Friedman, J. L., N. J. Papastamatiou, and J. Z. Simon (1992), Failure of Unitarity for Interacting Fields on Spacetimes with Closed Timelike Curves, Phys. Rev. D 46, 4456.
Simon, J. Z. (1990), Higher-derivative Lagrangians, Nonlocality, Problems, and Solutions, Phys. Rev. D 41, 3720.
Gott J. R., III,  J. Z. Simon, and M. Alpert (1986), General Relativity in a (2+1)-Dimensional Space-Time: An Electrically Charged Solution, Gen. Rel. Grav. 18, 1019.

Related News 

Simon invited speaker at implantable auditory prostheses conference
Simon spoke on how EEG and MEG successes may lead to neurophysiologically based speech perception measures. July 24, 2019

Simon, Lau to investigate neural bases of natural language understanding
“Neural representations of continuous speech and linguistic context in native and non-native listeners” is one of six FY19 seed grants newly issued by the University of Maryland's Brain and Behavior Initiative. May 16, 2019

BBI Announces FY19 Seed Grant Awards
Awarded proposals feature researchers from seven colleges and schools as well as three centers and institutes May 13, 2019

Radio interview with Jonathan Simon on "the cocktail party problem"
BYUradio talks to Simon about where in the brain, and how quickly, neurons transition from processing the sound of speech to the language-based words of speech. January 17, 2019

Brain and Behavior Initiative (BBI) hosts Second Annual Seed Grant Symposium
The University’s Brain and Behavior Initiative (BBI) hosted its Second Annual Seed Grant Symposium on November 14, 2018 at Adele’s in the Stamp Student Union. November 19, 2018

Simon, Abshire, Elhilali give invited talks
The talks were given in Belgium and Spain. June 8, 2018

Maryland researchers awarded $1M DARPA Lagrange program cooperative agreement
Marcus, Fu, Simon and Babadi will build a scalable, risk-sensitive and real time optimization framework tailored to noninvasive neuroimaging data from the human brain. April 10, 2018

Improving speech intelligibility testing with new EEG methods
Tests developed at KU Leuven and the University of Maryland could result in better diagnoses for patients with speech comprehension issues. March 7, 2018

Pamela Abshire elected IEEE Fellow
Abshire was selected for her contribution to CMOS biosensors. November 21, 2017

Five ISR faculty part of $8 million NIH grant to combat hearing loss in older people
Multidisciplinary research will examine strategies to improve communication challenges. October 12, 2017

BBI Holds 2017 Seed Grant Symposium
Over 115 people attend symposium featuring work and accomplishments of BBI Seed Grant Awardees for FY16/FY17. September 25, 2017

Researchers part of two NSF Neural & Cognitive Systems grants worth more than $1.2 million
The NSF awards have been issued to U.S. cross-disciplinary teams to conduct innovative research focused on neural and cognitive systems. August 10, 2017

ISR researchers win additional $948K NSF Neural and Cognitive Systems grant
ISR researchers Cynthia Moss and Susanne Sterbing-D'Angelo, along with alumna Mounya Elhilali and their colleague Rajit Mittal, will conduct the research at Johns Hopkins University. August 9, 2017

BBI FY17 Seed Grant Winners Announced
Nine projects selected for funding. May 12, 2017

Simon is co-editor of new Springer auditory research book
The Auditory System at the Cocktail Party describes the mechanisms the auditory system employs to focus on specific sounds within a noisy environment. April 14, 2017

Christian Brodbeck joins ISR as postdoc
Brodbeck recently completed his Ph.D. at New York University. August 31, 2016

Jonathan Simon gives keynote speech at SPIRE workshop
Simon spoke on “Neural Representations of Speech, and Speech in Noise, in Human Auditory Cortex.” January 18, 2016

Jonathan Simon is invited speaker at Paris Workshop on Decoding of Sound and Brain
Alumna Mounya Elhilali also was a presenter. November 11, 2015

Jonathan Simon is invited lecturer at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory summer course
Simon lectured in the 'neural science data' course. July 16, 2015

Jonathan Simon is invited speaker at CHScom 2015
Professor speaks on "Neural Representations of the Cocktail Party in Human Auditory Cortex.” June 24, 2015

Jonathan Simon wins $1.5M NIH NIDCD grant for 'auditory scene' research
Research will further understanding of how people focus on sounds in a noisy environment. March 5, 2015

Six ISR Ph.D. students selected as Future Faculty Fellows
Program prepares students for academic careers in top-50 engineering schools. December 15, 2014

Jonathan Simon and UMB's Elliot Hong win Research and Innovation Seed Grant
The pair will investigate neural processing in schizophrenia patients with auditory hallucinations. July 2, 2014

Clark School Faculty Promotions Announced
Faculty promoted to full professor, associate professor with tenure. June 5, 2014

Presacco, Heffner, Smith to represent Maryland at Universitas 21
UMD Graduate School travel fellowship funds trip to the international graduate research conference. May 30, 2014

Jonathan Simon promoted to full professor
Simon's research focuses on neural processing in the brain's auditory system. May 15, 2014

Simon, Ding, Chatterjee publish paper in NeuroImage
Research explores how brains extract and process speech in noisy conditions. February 1, 2014

‘Cocktail party effect’ helps us focus in noisy environments
New research published in Neuron shows cooperation among brain's neural responses. March 7, 2013

Simon is invited speaker at otolaryngology meeting
He will speak on 'cortical encoding of auditory objects at the cocktail party.' January 14, 2013

Simon, Ding publish auditory cortex research in PNAS
Research addresses the neural underpinnings of auditory scene analysis. July 2, 2012

Jonathan Simon selected for National Academies' NAKFI conference
Conference focuses neuroscience on challenges and opportunities of the digitally connected world. June 1, 2012

Jonathan Simon lead author of article published in PLoS Biology
Research focuses on the cognitive process of attention in a complex auditory scene. July 14, 2009

ISR awards ceremony honors faculty, graduate student, staff member
Five individuals honored for outstanding contributions in 2008–2009. June 24, 2009

Abshire, Cukier, Simon earn tenure
The three ISR faculty members are promoted to the rank of Associate Professor. April 29, 2008

Aytekin, Moss, Simon author Neural Computation cover story
Trio writes on "A Sensorimotor Approach to Sound Localization." March 21, 2008

ISR faculty host CRCNS Principal Investigators' Meeting
Event at University of Maryland draws 130 participants. June 7, 2007

Shamma, Simon, Fritz receive five-year, $1.57 million NIH grant
Research to focus on neural correlates of streaming of complex sounds June 8, 2006

Simon research featured on Cerebral Cortex cover
MEG-psychophysical study impresses respected, selective journal May 19, 2006

Moss is PI for "Innovative Technologies Inspired by Biosonar"
Research will study transformation of sensory information to motor commands for adaptive behaviors. September 8, 2004