Welcome to the CTNL

Discovering how the brain represents and processes information during learning.

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, September 2016: We have funding for PhD Scholarships for qualified domestic applicants to commence in 2017:

  • Full APA-equivalent scholarship + $5000 annual top-up in partnership with MyBudget
  • Two DSTG top-up scholarships for APA-qualified applicants
  • A/Prof. McDonnell received UniSA's "Exceptional Research Training Supervision" award in 2016, and has supervised 10 PhD students previously.
  • Students will have opportunities to travel and collaborate broadly, and publish their research.

Applications are due 31st October 2016. See http://www.itr.unisa.edu.au/ctnl/vacancies for more details. Contact mark.mcdonnell@unisa.edu.au

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 learns, and applies this knowledge to develop new bio-inspired electronic systems and machine learning algorithms.

We aim to produce the following results in our research:

  • mathematical and computational models of biological learning systems that help create new neuroscientific knowledge;
  • formulation of testable hypotheses regarding computation and communication in biological neurons and brains during learning;
  • 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."


      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