Integrating brain research

We support projects that integrate research activities across two or more of our research themes, with a particular emphasis on the integration of experimental results with theoretical models of the brain.

Brain Systems

Historically, brain science has focused on how distinct brain regions carry out specialised functions such as sensation, motor control and cognition. This approach has led to a “compartmentalised” map of the brain, whereby nerve cells (neurons) with shared morphology and function, located in the same area, correspond to discrete information processing modules.

Neural Circuits

The mammalian brain is assembled from local neural circuits that are connected into networks, in which signals are encoded as brief voltage “spikes”. This spiking activity is used to communicate information between neurons, and is the basis of the computations performed in the brain.

Cells and Synapses

Brain function relies on spiking activity under control
of sensory inputs and stored brain states (memories).
 However, spiking activity also depends on the
biophysical properties of neurons and their
 connections (synapses), as well as whole brain 
(behavioural and hormonal) states. Ultimately, the 
generation of spikes requires the movement of
 charged ions.

Models and Technologies

Historically, data collection in neuroscience has outpaced developments in theory and computation. As a result the field lacks the simple concepts needed to unify results of huge numbers of experiments.