Dr. Roberts received his B.S. and Ph.D. from the University of Maryland, where he studied the evolution of neuromodulatory circuits and the functional organization of pathways involved in vocal learning. As a postdoctoral fellow at Duke University Medical Center, Dr. Roberts studied how auditory memories are encoded and used to guide learning through the application of novel methods for imaging, manipulating and longitudinally tracking changes to neurons in the brain.

Dr. Roberts joined the Department of Neuroscience in March 2013.  


University of Maryland College (1996)
Graduate School
University of Maryland College (2003)

Research Interest

  • In vivo imaging (2PLSM)
  • Synaptic plasticity
  • Systems neuroscience
  • Vocal learning


Featured Publications LegendFeatured Publications

Expression of FoxP2 in the basal ganglia regulates vocal motor sequences in the adult songbird.
Xiao L, Merullo DP, Koch TMI, Cao M, Co M, Kulkarni A, Konopka G, Roberts TF, Nat Commun 2021 05 12 1 2617
Autism-linked gene FoxP1 selectively regulates the cultural transmission of learned vocalizations.
Garcia-Oscos F, Koch TMI, Pancholi H, Trusel M, Daliparthi V, Co M, Park SE, Ayhan F, Alam DH, Holdway JE, Konopka G, Roberts TF, Sci Adv 2021 Feb 7 6
Cellular transcriptomics reveals evolutionary identities of songbird vocal circuits.
Colquitt BM, Merullo DP, Konopka G, Roberts TF, Brainard MS, Science 2021 02 371 6530
Memory circuits for vocal imitation.
Ikeda MZ, Trusel M, Roberts TF, Curr. Opin. Neurobiol. 2020 Feb 60 37-46
Inception of memories that guide vocal learning in the songbird.
Zhao W, Garcia-Oscos F, Dinh D, Roberts TF, Science 2019 10 366 6461 83-89
Transitioning between preparatory and precisely sequenced neuronal activity in production of a skilled behavior.
Daliparthi VK, Tachibana RO, Cooper BG, Hahnloser RH, Kojima S, Sober SJ, Roberts TF, Elife 2019 Jun 8
Thalamostriatal and cerebellothalamic pathways in a songbird, the Bengalese finch.
Nicholson DA, Roberts TF, Sober SJ J. Comp. Neurol. 2018 Jun 526 9 1550-1570
A Basal Ganglia Circuit Sufficient to Guide Birdsong Learning.
Xiao L, Chattree G, Oscos FG, Cao M, Wanat MJ, Roberts TF Neuron 2018 Mar
Identification of a motor-to-auditory pathway important for vocal learning.
Roberts TF, Hisey E, Tanaka M, Kearney MG, Chattree G, Yang CF, Shah NM, Mooney R Nat. Neurosci. 2017 May
Insights into the Neural and Genetic Basis of Vocal Communication.
Konopka G, Roberts TF Cell 2016 Mar 164 6 1269-76

Honors & Awards

  • Postdoctoral NRSA
    Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (2006)
  • Cosmos Foundation
    Grants-In-Aid to Young Scholars Cosmos Club Foundation (2003)
    Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (2001-2003)

Professional Associations/Affiliations

  • International Society for Neuroethology (2005)
  • Society for Neuroscience (2000)