Welcome to the CTNL

Discovering how the brain represents and processes information.

The Computational and Theoretical Neuroscience Laboratory is an interdisciplinary group of researchers and collaborators, led by Principal Investigator Associate Professor Mark McDonnell at the University of South Australia.

News, October 2016: We are seeking applicants for PhD Scholarships. Applications are due 31st October 2015. See http://www.itr.unisa.edu.au/ctnl/vacancies

We are affiliated with the Advanced Computing Research Centre, and the Institute for Telecommunications Research.

"The ultimate aim of computational neuroscience is to explain how electrical and chemical signals are used in the brain to represent and process information" (Sejnowski, Koch and Churchand, Science 241, p 1299, 1988.)

The Lab collaborates with neuroscientists to advance knowledge about how the brain and nervous system processes information, and applies this knowledge to develop new bio-inspired electronic systems and algorithms.

We aim to produce the following results in our research:

  • mathematical and computational models of biological systems that help create new neuroscientific knowledge;
  • formulation of testable hypotheses regarding computation and communication in biological neurons and brains;
  • design and development of new methods and tools that are useful for model development and hypothesis testing;
  • new biomedical engineering and biologically inspired technology.


      See Mark McDonnell's 2014 article in The Conversation entitled: "To understand the brain you need electronic engineers too."

      One of our main objectives is to understanding the biophysical mechanisms exploited by neurons and networks of neurons to "communicate" with each other.

      We also conduct computational research on the problem of perceptual representation; that is, the problem of defining the mathematical form of the representations, in the brain, that underlie perception. This work is led by Dr Tony Vladusich; read about it in this ABC Science report: Shades of grey help brain sense surfaces.

      Scientific communication to the general public and school students is highly valued by the Laboratory, and actively pursued.

      For further information please contact:

      Associate Professor Mark McDonnell
      Email: mark.mcdonnell@unisa.edu.au
      Phone: +61 8 8302 3341