Mathematical Neuroscience Network

Lead Research Organisation: University of Nottingham
Department Name: Sch of Mathematical Sciences


Neuroscience is at the frontier of investigation of the brain and mind. The study of the brain is becoming the cornerstone in understanding how we perceive and interact with the external world and, in particular, how human experience and human biology influence each other. Although traditionally thought of as being the subject of the biologist or medic, recent breakthroughs in this field have come about with input from scientists with backgrounds in mathematics, physics and computer science. This combination of talent at the international level has proved vital in integrating our knowledge of the brain and has led to the development of treatments for such devastating ailments as Parkinson's disease. Now is an ideal time to capitalise on UK strengths and form our own Mathematical Neuroscience Network to develop those pieces of mathematical theory that are vital for our future understanding of the structure, function, and pathology of the human brain.


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Coombes S (2011) Neuronal spike-train responses in the presence of threshold noise. in Frontiers in life science

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Coombes S (2010) Special issue: Mathematical neuroscience in Physica D: Nonlinear Phenomena

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Coombes S (2010) Large-scale neural dynamics: simple and complex. in NeuroImage

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Iglesias C (2011) Mixed mode oscillations in mouse spinal motoneurons arise from a low excitability state. in The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience

Description The brain is a wonderfully complex organ that sits at the heart of our every thought, action, memory, feeling and experience of the world. Many branches of science have arisen motivated by a desire to understand the workings of this jelly-like mass of tissue, ranging from neuroanatomy to psychiatry. Despite scientific progress in a wide range of areas, including the development of neuroimaging techniques such as fMRI, much about how brains work remains a mystery. The building blocks of brain matter, namely neurons and synapses, are now understood in great detail. However, the way they coordinate their activity in networks of thousands or millions to perform natural computation has been very difficult to fathom. To understand the complexity of the brain it is timely to tap into the body of mathematics that has been built up over recent years to explain the dynamics of other rich dynamical systems such as the weather, financial markets, social insects, telecommunication networks, and ecologies.

The Mathematical Neuroscience Network (MNN) has provided a UK focus for the use of mathematical approaches to problems in neuroscience. The Network has allowed and encouraged more UK mathematicians to engage in fundamental neuroscience and at the same time tackle substantial mathematical challenges that are of broader scientific interest to the nonlinear and complex systems community. Importantly, it has drawn attention to, and developed, those pieces of mathematical theory that are likely to be relevant to future studies of the brain.

We have run four annual meetings, eight hot-topic workshops and played a supporting role for several minisymosia at international conferences. We have fostered collaboration between scientists both here and abroad and published a special issue on Mathematical Neuroscience in the prestigious journal Physica D. More recently we have established a new open access journal with Springer entitled "The Journal of Mathematical Neuroscience".

Full details of network activity can be found at
Exploitation Route Our findings are relevant across a broad spectrum of neuroscience disciplines.
Sectors Healthcare,Pharmaceuticals and Medical Biotechnology

Description The community has continued to engage by subscribing and contributing to our mailing list.
First Year Of Impact 2011