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The Undergraduate Training in Theory and Computation for Next Generation Neuroscientists provides students with an introduction to research in Computational Neuroscience.

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To understand the function and dysfunction of the brain, it is necessary to confront its complexity. Over the past two decades, the field of neuroscience has leveraged tremendous advances in electronics, genetics, and microscopy to collect a bewildering amount of neuronal data, especially when compared to the state of the field at the turn of the last century. More than ever, these datasets require sophisticated analysis techniques to expose the salient aspects of brain dynamics and computation.

Of equal importance is building a coherent theory of brain function. Theory can both organize these datasets under a conceptual umbrella as well as suggest the next series of experiments to be performed. These realities require more neuroscience researchers to be trained in a variety of computational and mathematical techniques.


In this program, undergraduate students in their first, second, or third years will engage in a funded computational neuroscience research project over a full calendar year. They will work under the guidance of a selected faculty member from the Neuroscience department, concluding their project with an oral presentation. Throughout the program, students will attend faculty seminars and lab visits covering a diverse range of neuroscience research topics.

Students will also complete two quarter-long courses in quantitative methods during the regular academic year.

  • If the student is new to quantitative methods, they will take BIOS 26210 and BIOS 26211: Mathematical Methods for Biological Sciences I and II. These courses are specially designed for students in the biological sciences to learn the basics of calculus, linear algebra, probability theory, non-linear dynamics, stochastic processes, and computer programming.
  • More advanced students who have already taken the above courses may take one of the approved graduate Computational Neuroscience courses with consent of the Director of the Undergraduate Major, Jason MacLean, as many are open to 3rd/4th year undergraduates with instructor permission.

Nominees do not need to be Neuroscience majors or Computational Neuroscience minors, but they must be actively involved in computational neuroscience research. To be eligible, students need to commit to multiple quarters of research, which can include any combination of Autumn, Winter, Spring, or Summer.

This NIH-funded training program offers a stipend for part-time research during Autumn, Winter, and Spring, and a stipend for full-time research in the Summer. In their final program quarter, students are required to deliver a 30-minute research talk.

How to apply?

Faculty members are responsible for submitting student applications, and undergraduate students interested in joining the program should contact one of the TPCN Training faculty members listed below directly.

The deadline for applications is APRIL 1st, 2024.

Questions? Contact us at


Edward Awh, PhD | Department: Psychology |
Research interest: Interactions between visual working memory and selective attention using psychophysical and electrophysiological methods.

Marlene Cohen, PhD | Department: Neurobiology |
Research interest: Neural basis of vision and cognition.

Brent Doiron, PhD | Department: Neurobiology |
Research interest: Nonlinear dynamics and statistical mechanics, with an emphasis on the genesis and transfer of variability in neural circuits.

Ruth Anne Eatock, PhD | Department: Neurobiology |
Research interest: Sensory transduction and encoding.

David Freedman, PhD | Department: Neurobiology |
Research interest: Decision Making, Categorization, Artificial Intelligence, Visual Recognition.

Melina Hale, PhD | Department: Organismal Biology & Anatomy |
Research interest: Integrating biomechanics and neurobiology to study how axial movements in fish are generated and coordinated to respond to the physical properties of an organism's environment.

Christian Hansel, PhD | Department: Neurobiology |
Research interest: The study of cellular correlates of learning and memory in neural circuits.

Nicholas Hatsopoulos, PhD | Department: Organismal Biology & Anatomy |
Research interest: The cortical basis of complex motor control. of the upper limb and, more recently, of the orofacial system.

Elizabeth Heckscher, PhD | Department: Molecular Genetics & Cell Biology |
Research interest: Development, function, and evolution of motor circuits.

Jorge Jaramillo, PhD | Department: Neurobiology |
Research interest: How subcortical structures interact with cortical circuits to subserve cognitive processes such as memory, attention, and decision-making.

Narayanan "Bobby" Kasthuri, MD, PhD | Department: Neurobiology |
Research interest: Large-volume reconstructions of the fine structure of the nervous system.

Matthew Kaufman, PhD | Department: Organismal Biology & Anatomy |
Research interest: Intersection of systems and computational neuroscience to understand how neurons work together to implement computations relevant to motor control and decision-making.

Leslie Kay, PhD | Department: Psychology |
Research interest: Olfaction and Computation.

Paschalis Kratsios, PhD | Department: Neurobiology |
Research interest: Molecular mechanisms of motor neuron development and degeneration.

Yamuna Krishnan, PhD | Department: Chemistry |
Research interest: Nucleic acid-based Molecular Devices.

Peter Littlewood, PhD | Department: Physics |
Research interest: Statistical methods applied to neural systems.

Jason MacLean, PhD | Department: Neurobiology |
Research interest: How to quantitatively describe the structure and function of active local neocortical microcircuits in motor and visual cortex in mice.

Daniel Margoliash, PhD | Department: Organismal Biology & Anatomy |
Research interest: Behavior, neural circuits, and cellular properties involved in sensorimotor learning and memory in singing and sleeping songbirds.

John Maunsell, PhD | Department: Neurobiology |
Research interest: How neuronal signals in the visual cerebral cortex generate perceptions and guide behavior.

Ramon Nogueira, PhD | Department: Neurobiology |
Research interest: The role of noise in representational geometry and behavior. 

Anne-Marie Oswald, PhD | Department: Neurobiology |
Research interest: Structure and function of cortical circuits in olfaction.

Stephanie Palmer, PhD | Department: Organismal Biology & Anatomy |
Research interest: Computational properties of the cortex in making predictions in motor control.

Monica Rosenberg, PhD | Department: Psychology |
Research interest: How we pay attention and how insights from attention research can help improve focus.

Mark Sheffield, PhD | Department: Neurobiology |
Research interest: Neurobiology of complex memory formation and recall, from the level of synapses and dendrites to large-scale ensembles of neurons.

Murray Sherman, PhD | Department: Neurobiology |
Research interest: Thalamic functional organization and thalamocortical relationships.

Wim Van Drongelen, PhD | Department: Pediatrics |
Research interest: Analyzing and modeling neuronal systems, and associated clinical applications.

Vincenzo Vitelli, PhD | Department: Physics |
Research interest: Condensed matter theory, broadly defined.

Edward Vogel, PhD | Department: Psychology |
Research interest: Neural mechanisms of Attention and Memory.

Joel Voss, PhD | Department: Neurology |
Research interest: Cognitive neuroscience of episodic memory.

Wei Wei, PhD | Department: Neurobiology |
Research interest: Synaptic basis of neural computation in the retina.

Rebecca Willett, PhD | Department: Statistics |
Research interest: Mathematical foundations of machine learning, large-scale data science, and computational imaging.

Jai Yu, PhD | Department: Psychology |
Research interest: Memory and knowledge; large-scale microelectrode neural activity recording across multiple brain regions.