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Swartz Initiative in Theoretical Neurobiology at Yale University


With the support of the Swartz Foundation, this initiative will foster collaborative research and interdisciplinary training in computational neuroscience at Yale. The centerís faculty consists of Xiao-Jing Wang (director), David McCormick, Daeyeol Lee, Jamie Mazer, and Mark Laubach. These five labs share a common goal of elucidating cellular mechanisms and neural dynamics that underlie higher brain functions, such as working memory, decision making and selective attention.


Recent years have seen great strides in our understanding of sensory processing and plasticity at the cellular and molecular levels. A major challenge today is to firmly establish general principles as well as detailed neural mechanisms of basic cognitive functions.  Our work aims at making progress in this direction, with a focus on the prefrontal cortex.


Theory and computational modeling play a critical role in this enterprise, especially in studies of strongly recurrent cortical circuits, which we believe hold the key to understanding the chain of causal links from molecules to complex and flexible behaviors.  Topics of active research represented in this initiative include self-sustained neural activity patterns and working memory, decision making, reinforcement learning, timing, variability and synchrony of neural activity and visual attention in natural environments.


We are joined by a large number of neuroscientists at Yale with a strong computational component to their research programs, including Amy Arnsten, Marvin Chun, Todd Constable, Thierry Emonet, Gordon Shepherd and Steven Zucker. The Swartz funds will be used to support postdoctoral fellows, a new computational/systems neurobiology seminar series and the Spike Club.


Additional resources:


The Swartz Initiative at Yale webpage:


December 14, 2009:

Rain or Shine? Computer Models How Brain Cells Reach a Decision

Sunday, July 14, 2024
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2013 Stony Brook Mind/Brain Lecture - Michael Wigler, PhD
2012 Stony Brook Mind/Brain Lecture - John Donoghue
Sloan-Swartz Centers Annual Meeting 2011
2011 Stony Brook Mind/Brain Lecture - Allison J. Doupe
2011 Banbury Workshop
Sloan-Swartz Centers Annual Meeting 2010
2010 Stony Brook Mind/Brain Lecture
Sloan-Swartz Centers Annual Meeting 2009
Conference on Neural Dynamics
2009 Stony Brook Mind/Brain Lecture
Canonical Neural Computation, April 2009
2009 Banbury Workshop
Sloan-Swartz Centers Annual Meeting 2008
Theoretical and Experimental Approaches to Auditory and Visual Attention - Banbury 2008
Stony Brook Mind/Brain 2008: Patricia Smith Churchland, B. Phil. D
Sloan-Swartz Centers Annual Meeting 2007
New Frontiers In Studies Of Nonconscious Processing - Banbury 2007
Stony Brook Mind/Brain 2007: Professor Michael Shadlen, MD, PhD
Multi-level Brain Modeling Workshop 2006
Sloan Swartz Centers Annual Meeting 2006
Banbury 2006: Computational Approaches to Cortical Functions
Stony Brook Mind/Brain 2006: Helen Fisher -- Lecture Videos
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Swartz Center for Computational Neuroscience
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