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Computational Neuroscience Specialization

The Computational Neuroscience Specialization is a facet of the broader Neuroscience graduate program at UC San Diego. The goal of the specialization is to train the next generation of neuroscientists with the analytical and computational skills that are essential to understand the organization and function of neural systems. The specialization is open to all students and may be of particular interest to students with backgrounds in physics, computer science, engineering, and mathematics.

All students admitted to the Neurosciences Graduate Program (NGP) are eligible to pursue the CNS. Effective fall 2016, PhD candidates in Physics and Bioengineering matriculated fall 2015 and thereafter, are also eligible to apply to the CNS.

The specialization allows students to concentrate on a program of rigorous course work on fundamental aspects of computational neuroscience. Students are encouraged to pursue thesis projects that include both an experimental and a computational component, possibly arranged as a collaboration between two research groups. Upon achievement of degree requirements, students will receive a diploma indicating both their successful completion of the broader Neuroscience, Physics or Bioengineering Program as well as their specialization in Computational Neuroscience.

The program is focused on these major themes relevant for computational neuroscience research:

  • Cellular and Synaptic Dynamics - Anatomy, physiology, and electrical and chemical dynamics of individual neurons. Neuromorphic models.
  • Biophysical Basis of Neuronal Computation - Collective properties and dynamics of neuronal systems, with emphasis on feedforward networks, associative networks, and networks of coupled oscillators.
  • Algorithms for the Analysis of Neural Data - Characterization of spiking and continuous processes (ECoG, LFP, MEG, fMRI). Statistical aspects of genomics and neuroanatomy.
The program includes optional courses in advanced topics, including advanced experimental techniques, e.g.,:
  • Advanced Optical Tools in Quantitative Biology.
  • Workshop in Electron Microscopy.
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging.

The program is currentled led by David Kleinfeld (Physics and Neurobiology) and the primary teaching faculty also include Henry Abarbanel (Physics and Scripps Institution of Oceanography), Gert Cauwenberghs (Bioengineering), Eran Mukamel (Cognitive Science), Terrence Sejnowski (Salk Institute for Biological Studies and Neurobiology), Tatyana Sharpee (Salk Institute for Biological Studies and Physics) and Gabriel Silva (Ophthalmology and Bioengineering).