Computational Neurology Lab

Through computational neuroscience, we try to work out what steps someone takes, in their brain, when they think or act. Our research group applies this idea to understanding neurological diseases. Recently we have focused on two functions where the biology is relatively better understood: motivation and memory.

Motivation drives us to do things. Many brain disorders impair motivation, causing apathy or impulsivity. This can be catastrophic, leaving patients disabled, and is of course very stressful for carers. Understanding the anatomy and chemistry of motivation may permit treatments of these disorders.

Remembering what we have just seen, done, or are about to do, is a natural ability for most of us. However certain diseases can interfere with these kinds of short-term memory. By studying how groups of neurons interact to retain information over brief intervals, we may begin to understand how this goes wrong in neurodegenerative diseases.

Artificial intelligence tries to simulate thought in a computer. The activity and connections between neurons in the brain are represented by numbers in a computer program. We ask whether artificial networks of neurons behave like the human brain, and whether damaging them mimics disease.