John Rinzel’s research is in the biophysical mechanisms and theoretical foundations of dynamic neural computation. With a background in engineering (BS: Univ of Florida, 1967) and applied mathematics (PhD: Courant Institute, NYU, 1973) Rinzel develops mathematical models to understand how neurons and neural circuits generate and communicate with electrical and chemical signals for physiological function.  Before joining New York University’s faculty (jointly appointed in the Center for Neural Science and the Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences) in 1997, he was in the Mathematical Research Branch at the NIH for nearly 25 years, most of that time as Branch Chief.   John directs his group in computational modeling, electrophysiological and psychophysical experiments.  John is a SIAM Fellow (2013).  He was awarded the Arthur T Winfree Prize (Soc Math Biology, 2015), the Mathematical Neuroscience Prize (Israel Brain Technologies,2019) and the Swartz Prize for Theoretical and Computational Neuroscience (SFN, 2019).


As a computational neuroscientist I develop and analyze neuromechanistic models to account for the  dynamics of neuronal systems. I have mentored, since 1973, 50 postdocs and PhD students in computational and experimental neuroscience. My working group has studied: motor pattern generators, pacemaker neurons, thalamic rhythms and processing, cortical & hippocampal sleep states, perceptual bistability in vision such as binocular rivalry, time keeping and learning of rhythmic patterns, auditory processing for sound localization, for pitch detection/discrimination, and for auditory streaming. While developing models for specific systems, we seek to identify the underlying and essential mathematical structure of models.

Research Methods
Neuromechanistic modeling
Dynamical systems analysis
Human psychophysics
Research Interests
Neuronal oscillations
Biophysical and circuit mechanisms
Auditory streaming
Sound localization
Timing and beat keeping

Current Students

Former Students

Dr. John Rinzel
New York University, 4 Washington Place, Rm 621 New York, NY 10003
Neuroscience and Cognitive Science
rinzeljm [at]