Research Associate Professor

Office Information:

70 MacNider Hall
UNC at Chapel Hill
Chapel Hill, NC 27599-7575
(919) 966-9447


BS, Physical Anthropology Moscow State University, USSR
PhD, Physiology, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Post-doctoral Fellowship, Neurophysiology, 1985 - 1986, Rockefeller University, New York, NY
Post-doctoral Fellowship, Neurophysiology, 1986 - 1988, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill



Research and Publications:

Neural bases of perception; somatosensory cortical physiology; pattern recognition; neurobiology

My primary research interests are: · Neural bases of perception, with special emphasis on the relationship between patterns of neuroelectrical activity in the somatosensory cerebral cortex and tactile perception · Cortical information processing, with an emphasis on those computational algorithms that enable the cerebral cortex to recognize high-order regularities in observed phenomena and to take advantage of them in perceptual and decision-making tasks · Physiological mechanisms responsible for generation of neuroelectrical activity in the cerebral cortex · Computational algorithms for multivariate data analysis, machine learning, pattern recognition, and knowledge acquisition.

I have been actively involved in developing novel algorithms for understanding complex biomedical processes since 1980. One focus has been on in vivo neurophysiological research and the neural basis of perception. My group studies the relationship between patterns of neuroelectrical activity in the somatosensory cerebral cortex and tactile perception, the physiological mechanisms responsible for generation of neuroelectrical activity in the cerebral cortex, and cortical information processing. In order to understand the functional significance of the experimentally observed cortical activity patterns, I also do mathematical modeling of cortical networks. My group has developed computational algorithms that analyze how the cerebral cortex is able to recognize higher-order regularities in observed phenomena and how these patterns are used in perceptual and decision-making tasks. As an outgrowth of this research, I have also been involved in creating general-purpose innovative and advanced digital signal processing and information extraction algorithms.

Tommerdahl M, Dennis RG, Francisco EM, Holden JK, Nguyen R, Favorov OV (2016) Neurosensory assessments of concussion. Mil. Med. 181:45-50.

Lee J, Han YE, Favorov O, Tommerdahl M, Whitsel B, Lee CJ (2016) Fluoride induces a volume reduction in CA1 hippocampal slices via MAP kinase pathway through volume regulated anion channels. Exp. Neurobiol. 25: 72-78.

Francisco EM, Holden JK, Nguyen RH, Favorov OV, Tommerdahl M (2015) Percept of the duration of a vibrotactile stimulus is altered by changing its amplitude. Front. Syst. Neurosci. 9:77.

Favorov OV, Nilaweera WU, Miasnikov AA, Beloozerova IN (2015) Activity of somatosensory-responsive neurons in high subdivisions of SI cortex during locomotion. J. Neurosci. 35:7763-7776.

Rice GM, Busan S, Karabiber F, Favorov OV, Weeks KM (2014) SHAPE analysis of small RNAs and riboswitches. Methods Enzymol. 549:165-187.

Wright JJ, Bourke PD, Favorov OV (2014) Mobius-strip-like columnar functional connections are revealed in somato-sensory receptive field centroids. Front. Neuroanat., 8:119. PMCID: PMC4215792.

Homan PJ, Favorov OV, Lavender CA, Kursun O, Ge X, Busan S, Dokholyan NV, Weeks KM (2014) Single-molecule correlated chemical probing of RNA. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 111:13858-13863. PMID:25205807.

Nguyen RH, Forshey TM, Holden JK, Francisco EM, Kirsch B, Favorov OV, Tommerdahl M (2014) Vibrotactile discriminative capacity is impacted in a digit-specific manner with concurrent unattended hand stimulation. Exp. Brain Res. Jul.31 Epub ahead of print. PMID:25080130.

Lee J, Favorov OV, Tommerdahl M, Lee CJ, Whitsel BL (2014) Attenuated glial K(+) clearance contributes to long-term synaptic potentiation via depolarizing GABA in dorsal horn neurons of rat spinal cord. Exp. Neurobiol. 23:53-64. PMCID: PMC3984957.

Sakar CO, Kursun O, Seker H, Gurgen F, Aydin N, Favorov O (2014) Combining multiple views: case studies on protein and arrhythmia features. Engineering Applications of Artificial Intelligence 28: 174-180.

Leonard CW, Hajdin CE, Karabiber F, Mathews DH, Favorov OV, Dokholyan NV, Weeks KM (2013) Principles for understanding the errors of SHAPE-directed RNA structure modeling. Biochemistry 52: 588-595. PMCID: PMC3578230.

Karabiber F, McGinnis JL, Favorov OV, Weeks KM (2013) QuShape: rapid, accurate and best-practices quantification of nucleic acid probing information resolved by capillary electrophoresis. RNA 19: 63-73. PMCID: PMC3527727.

Vierck CJ, Whitsel BL, Favorov OV, Tommerdahl M (2013) Response to the letter to the editor of pain by S. Canavero. Pain 154: 1158-1159. PMID: 23664682

Vierck CJ, Whitsel BL, Favorov OV, Brown AW, Tommerdahl M (2013) The roles of primary somatosensory cortex in the coding of pain sensations. Pain 154: 334-344. PMID: 23245864

Lee J, Woo J, Favorov OV, Tommerdahl M, Lee CJ, Whitsel BL (2012) Columnar distribution of activity dependent gabaergic depolarization in sensorimotor cortical neurons. Mol. Brain 5:33. PMCID: PMC3520830

Kursun O, Gumus E, Sertbas A, Favorov OV (2012) Selection of vocal features for Parkinson’s disease diagnosis. International Journal of Data Mining and Bioinformatics 6: 144-161. PMID: 22724295.

Francisco E, Holden J, Zhang Z, Favorov OV, Tommerdahl M (2011) Rate dependency of vibrotactile stimulus modulation. Brain Res. 1415:76-83. PMID:21872222.

Favorov OV, Kursun O (2011) Neocortical layer 4 as a pluripotent function linearizer. J. Neurophysiol. 105: 1342-1360. PMID:21248059.

Kursun O, Alpaydin E, Favorov OV (2011) Canonical correlation analysis using within-class coupling. Pattern Recognition Letters 32: 134-144.

Tommerdahl M, Favorov OV, Whitsel BL (2010) Dynamic representations of the somatosensory cortex. Neurosci. Biobehav. Rev. 34: 160-170. PMID: 19732790.

Whitsel BL, Favorov OV, Li Y, Lee J, Quibrera PM, Tommerdahl M (2010) Nociceptive afferent activity alters the SI RA neuron response to mechanical skin stimulation. Cereb. Cortex 20:2900-2915. PMCID: PMC2978241.

Kursun O, Favorov OV (2010) Feature selection and extraction using an unsupervised biologically-suggested approximation to Gebelein’s maximal correlation. International Journal of Pattern Recognition and Artificial Intelligence 24:337-358.

Whitsel BL, Favorov OV, Li Y, Quibrera M, Tommerdahl M. (2009) Area 3a neuron response to skin nociceptor afferent drive. Cerebral Cortex, 19: 349-366. PMCID: PMC2638786.

Turner WS, Seagle C, Galanko J, Favorov O, Prestwich GD, Macdonald JM, Reid LM (2008) Nuclear Magnetic Resonance footprinting of human hepatic stem cells and hepatoblasts cultured in hyaluronan-matrix hydrogels. Stem Cells 26: 1547-1555.

Tommerdahl M, Tannan V, Zachek M, Holden J, Favorov OV (2007) Effects of stimulus-driven synchronization on sensory perception. Behav. Brain Funct. 4: 3:61. PMCID: PMC22222224.

Favorov OV, Whitsel BL, Chiu JS, Tommerdahl M. (2006) Activation of cat SII cortex by flutter stimulation of contralateral vs. ipsilateral forepaws. Brain Research 1071: 81-90.

Tommerdahl M, Simons SB, Chiu J, Favorov OV, Whitsel BL. (2006) Ipsilateral input modifies the SI response to contralateral skin flutter. Journal of Neuroscience 26:5970-7.

Simons SB, Chiu JC, Favorov OV, Whitsel BL, Tommerdahl M. (2007) Duration-dependent response of SI to vibrotactile stimulation in squirrel monkey. Journal of Neurophysiology 97:2121-9.

Chiu J, Tommerdahl M, Whitsel B and Favorov O. (2005) Stimulus-dependent spatial patterns of response in SI cortex. BMC Neuroscience 6:47, 1-14.

Simons S, Tannan V, Chiu J, Favorov O, Whitsel B, and Tommerdahl M. (2005) Amplitude-Dependent Response of SI Cortex to Vibrotactile Stimulation. BMC Neuroscience 6:43. 1-13.

Tommerdahl M, Simons S, Chiu J, Favorov OV, and Whitsel BL. (2005) Response of SI cortex to ipsilateral, contralateral and bilateral flutter stimulation in the cat. BMC Neuroscience 6:29. 1-14.

Tommerdahl M, Hester KD, Felix ER, Hollins M, Favorov OV, Quibrera PM and Whitsel BL. (2005) Human vibrotactile frequency discriminative capacity after adaptation to 25 Hz or 200 Hz stimulation. Brain Research 1057: 1-9.

Lee J, Tommerdahl M, Favorov OV, and Whitsel BL. (2005) Small-fiber afferent drive impairs the capacity of astrocytes to buffer dorsal horn [K+]o and [Glu]o. Journal of Neurophysiology 94:852-64.

Tommerdahl M, Simons S, Chiu J, Tannan V, Favorov OV, and Whitsel BL. (2005) Response of SII cortex to ipsilateral, contralateral and bilateral flutter stimulation in the cat. BMC Neuroscience 6:11, 1-14.

Tommerdahl M., Favorov OV and Whitsel BL. (2005) Effects of high-frequency skin stimulation on SI cortex: Mechanisms and functional implications. Somatosensory and Motor Research 22: 1-22.

Kursun, O., and Favorov, O. V. (2004). SINBAD automation of scientific discovery: from factor analysis to theory synthesis. Natural Computing 3: 207-233.

Favorov, O.V. and Ryder D. (2004) SINBAD: a neocortical mechanism for discovering environmental variables and regularities hidden in sensory input. Biological Cybernetics 90: 191-202.

Whitsel, B. L., Kelly, E. F., Quibrera, M., Tommerdahl, M., Li, Y., Favorov, O. V., Xu, M., and Metz, C.B. (2003) Time-dependence of SI RA neuron responses to cutaneous flutter stimulation. Somatosensory & Motor Research 20: 43 – 67.

Favorov, O. V., Hester, J. T., Lao, R., and Tommerdahl, M. (2002) Spurious dynamics in somatosensory cortex. Behavioral Brain Research 135: 75-82.

Tommerdahl, M., Favorov, O. V., and Whitsel, B. L. (2002) Optical imaging of intrinsic signals in somatosensory cortex, Behavioral Brain Research 135: 83-91.

Lao, R., Favorov, O.V., and Lu, J.P. (2001) Nonlinear dynamical properties of a somatosensory cortical model. Information Sciences 132: 53-66.

Ryder, D. and Favorov, O.V. (2001) The new associationism: a neural explanation for the predictive powers of cerebral cortex. Brain and Mind 2: 161-194.

Tommerdahl, M., Favorov, O. V., and Whitsel, B. L. (2000) Somatosensory cortical dynamics detected by intrinsic optical imaging. Somatosensory and Motor Research 17: 13-31.