Dr Tim Pearce

Reader in Bioengineering

Dr. Tim Pearce, Reader in Bioengineering

School/Department: Engineering, School of

Telephone: +44 (0)116 223 1290



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Tim Pearce SFHEA FInstP is a Reader in Bioengineering within the Biomedical Engineering Research Group, School of Engineering. He received a PhD. from Warwick University in the field of machine olfaction, building electronic noses by combining chemical sensor arrays and machine learning algorithms. He previously held the position of Research Assistant Professor at the Department of Neuroscience, Tufts University Medical School, Boston, USA where he worked together with neuroscientists on a DARPA supported programme to translate principles of information processing in the biological olfactory pathway to novel instrumentation for chemical sensing, generating novel olfactory based technologies that have been successfully used in the detection of landmines.    

I have published over 100 published articles related to machine olfaction across many areas of science and technology (analytical chemistry, neuroscience, electronic engineering and mathematical modelling) including two journal special issues and the Handbook of Machine Olfaction that has become a standard book in the field.

I am Associate Editor of Frontiers in Neuromorphic Engineering, the leading journal in the field of neuromorphic engineering, Review Editor for Connection Science and previously Editor for Journal of Neural Engineering, the leading journal in the field of neural engineering.

I am elected Fellow of the Institute of Physics and a Junior Member of the Isaac Newton Institute for Mathematical Sciences, Cambridge.
I have been involved in various EU activities related to neuroengineering and computational neuroscience such as Advanced European Summer School in Computational Neuroscience and the European School of Neuroengineering and consulted as a field expert to define the scope of the Proactive initiatives 'Neuroinformatics for Artefacts that Live and Grow' and 'Life-like Perception Systems'.

I have been coordinator and PI in four Future and Emerging Technology (FET) projects since Framework V, including Neuro-IT that was focal to setting the agenda in BIO-ICT area for FET in the current EU Framework and was Project Co-ordinator for AMOTH, the first FET project to translate understanding of insect olfactory processing to real-world chemical sensing technologies.



My research is focused on neuromorphic engineering, which is an emerging field at the intersection of neuroscience and technology, seeking to understand the brain for the development of new technologies. This approach to brain science and technology has two main agendas. Firstly, to understand the brain by building models and physical implementations that can be tested in realistic environments, and secondly to build models of the brain to create new transformative technologies. It is intimately involved with both the life and physical sciences and operates largely through collaboration with biologists to sufficiently constrain the models and real-time technologies that are built.

Key research topics:

Complex chemical mixture sensing
Machine learning on molecules
Sensory neuroscience and biomedical engineering applications


Selected Publications

Chemosensation, Living Machines: A Handbook of Research in Biomimetics and Biohybrid Systems, Prescott, T.J, Lepora., N, Verschure P.F,M.J, Oxford University Press, 2018.

Biosynthetic infochemical communication, S.B. Olsson, R.A.J. Challiss, M. Cole, J.G.E. Gardeniers, J.W. Gardner, A. Guerrero, B.S. Hansson & T.C. Pearce, Bioinspiration and Biomimetics, 2015.

A biomimetic approach to machine olfaction, featuring a very large-scale chemical sensor array and embedded neuro-bio-inspired computation. Marco, S., Gutiérrez, A., Lansner, A., Martinez, D., Rospars, J., Beccherelli, R., Perera, A., Pearce, T. C., Verschure, P. & Persaud, K., Microsystem Technologies, 20(4-5), 729-742 (2014) doi: 10.1007/s00542-013-2020-8

Temporal Features of Spike Trains in the Moth Antennal Lobe Revealed by a Comparative Time-frequency Analysis, Capurro, A., Pearce, T. C., Hansson, B. S. and Olsson, S. PLoS One. 9 (1), e84037 (2014) doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0084037

Rapid processing of chemosensor transients in a neuromorphic implementation of the insect macroglomerular complex, Pearce T. C., Karout S, Rácz Z, Capurro A, Gardner JW and Cole M, Front. Neurosci. 7:119 (2013). doi: 10.3389/fnins.2013.00119 (invited for special issue)

Robust ratiometric infochemical communication in a neuromorphic "synthetic moth". Pearce T. C., Karout S, Capurro A, Rácz Z, Cole M, Gardner JW. Lecture Notes in Computer Science 8064 LNAI:204-215 (2013) doi: 10.1007/978-3-642-39802-5-18

Design and Implementation of a Modular Biomimetic Infochemical Communication System, Rácz, Z., Cole, M., Gardner, J. W., Chowdhury, M. F., Bula, W. P., Gardeniers, J. G. E., Karout, S., Capurro, A. and Pearce, T. C., International Journal of Circuit Theory and Applications, (2012) doi:10.1002/cta.1829 (invited by editor)

Non-linear Blend Coding in the Moth Antennal Lobe Emerges from Random Glomerular Networks, Capurro, A., Baroni, F., Olsson, S. B., Kuebler, L., Karout, S., Hansson, B. S. and Pearce, T. C., Special Issue on Neuromorphic Olfactory Sensing: Frontiers in Neuroengineering 5, 6 (2012) doi:10.3389/fneng.2012.00006. (invited for special issue)

Stimulus and Network Dynamics Collide in a Ratiometric Model of the Antennal Lobe Macroglomerular Complex, Chong, K. Y., Capurro, A., Karout, S. and Pearce, T. C. PLoS One 7(1): e29602 (2012) doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0029602.

Challenges of Biomimetic Infochemical Communication, Rácz, Z., Olsson, S., Gardner, J., Pearce, T. C., Hansson, B. and Cole, M., Procedia Computer Science, 7, 106-109 (2011). doi:10.1016/j.procs.2011.12.032. (invited for special issue)

Biologically Inspired Computation for Chemical Sensing, Fonollosa, J., Gutierrez-Galvez, A., Lansner, A., Martinez, D., Rospars, J. P., Beccherelli, R., Perera, A., Pearce, T. C., Verschure, P., Persaud, K. and Marco, S., Procedia Computer Science, 7, 226–227 (2011). doi:10.1016/j.procs.2011.09.066. (invited for special issue)

Biomimetic Insect Infochemical Communication System, Cole, M.., Gardner, J. W., Racz, Z., Pathak, S., Guerrero, A., Munoz, L., Carot, G., Pearce, T. C., Challiss, J., Markovic, D., Hansson, B. S., Olsson, S., Kuebler, L.; Gardeniers, J. G. E., Dimov, N. and Bula, W., IEEE Sensors Journal, 1-3, 1358-1361 (2009) doi: 0.1109/ICSENS.2009.5398416.

Towards a Biosynthetic Infochemical Communication System, Cole, M., Gardner, J. W., Pathak, S., Pearce, T. C. and Racz, Z., Procedia Chemistry, 1(1), 305-308 (2009) doi: 10.1016/j.proche.2009.07.076 (invited for special issue)

Spatio-temporal Information in an Artificial Olfactory Mucosa, Sanchez-Montanes, M. A., Gardner, J. W. and Pearce, T. C., Proceedings of the Royal Society A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences, 464(2092): 1057-1077 (2008).



Current research students 

Mark Gittens - machine learning on molecules for olfaction 

Puzchen Yu - condition monitoring in power MOSFETs

Marko Mäkynen - machine learning for Atrial fibrillation 


PhD Alumni - Kwok Chong, Josie Mackenzie, Jing Gu, Serge Thill, David Heavens 

Postdoc Reseachers - Carlo Fulvi-Mari, Alberto Capurro, Dr. Salah Karout

I am happy to supervise PhD projects in the following areas:

  • Machine Learning and AI related to sensor processing, molecules, behaviour
  • Biomedical Engineering with novel technologies
  • VR sensor technologies and behavior.

Please contact me for details



Current teaching:

  • 2021-23 EG4227/7227 Artificial Intelligence Architectures
  • 2020-23 EG3213 Machine Learning for Engineers
  • 2021   EG4009 Engineering Ethics to Master's students


2012- Associate Editor for Frontiers in Neuromorphic Engineering.
2006-2011 Editorial Board for Journal of Neural Engineering.
2016- Programme Committee for Neural Computation Theory and Applications (NCTA)
2017- Programme Committee for International Joint Conference on Computational Intelligence (IJCCI)
2020- Editorial Board member for Connection Science journal.
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