Neuromuscular Systems Sensory Systems Memory and Plasticity Motor Control Autonomic Nervous System Control Modeling Who We Are Our Dynamical Approach Our Mission

Who We Are

Welcome to the University of Ottawa Center for Neural Dynamics! The Center brings together researchers from the Faculties of Medicine, Science and Health Sciences. They have a common interest in molecular, cellular and systems neuroscience, mathematical modeling and imaging. Created in 2005 and funded by the University of Ottawa since then, the Center fosters the interaction of neuroscientists with researchers in the physical and computational sciences. Members share a common "dynamical approach" for understanding how brain activity is generated and is altered in disease. The Center promotes and supports interdisciplinary research ventures between its members as well as with researchers at other institutions worldwide. It provides the administrative framework for these ventures and for the training of graduate students and postdoctoral fellows in an environment unique in Canada.

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Our Dynamical Approach

Our approach brings together systems, computational and theoretical neuroscience. Systems neuroscience is concerned with measuring the activity of individual neurons or populations of neurons and attempts to correlate this neural activity with sensory or motor functions. The past decades have seen dramatic improvements in the technology to record neural activity, as well as in our understanding of the underlying cellular physiology of neurons and synapses. It has also become possible to quantitatively relate neural activity to complex sensory input or coordinated motor activity, although many fundamental questions remain.

Computational and theoretical neuroscience are emerging disciplines that use the flood of data from systems and cellular neuroscience to develop mathematical or computational models of the dynamics of neurons, synapses and neural networks, and attempt to relate these dynamics to how information is encoded in the brain. Whereas systems neuroscientists are drawn from biological sciences, computational and theoretical neuroscientists generally have a background in physics, computer science, mathematics or engineering. This strongly interdisciplinary area of research exploits the natural synergy of these two groups. Through their intense collaboration, experimentalists and theorists formulate and test hypotheses about neural function and its biophysical basis.

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Our Mission

The mission of the Center is the fostering of world-class interdisciplinary research into the fundamental dynamical workings of brain circuits at all scales, and the associated training students and fellows in this exciting emerging area. By virtue of its strategic location between the faculties of Medicine, Science and Health Sciences, and the Ottawa Health Research Institutes, the Ottawa General Hospital and the Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario, the Center has also given itself the mission to be clinically relevant in much of its research. Some members study normal vs pathological sensorimotor integration and rhythms, neuromuscular degeneration, and postural control. Others devise new strategies for critical care management based on modeling autonomic regulation, or foster the development of biomedical devices for sensory (e.g. brain implants) and motor (rehabilitation technology) prosthetics. The Center thus acts as a hub for R&D and clinical partnerships in these areas.

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Local Scientific Links

Our members interact with a number of local Institutes and Centers:

Ottawa Health Research Institutes (OHRI)

OHRI Neuroscience (Canadian Stroke Network; Parkinson's Research Consortium)  

Neurosciences Research Institute  (focus on stroke and cell death)

Ottawa Institute of Systems Biology

Institute of Mental Health Research

University of Ottawa Eye Institute

Center for Research in Photonics

The Rehabilitation Center of the Ottawa Hospital

University of Ottawa Heart Institute

UOttawa Biological Physics Groups (Profs. Godin, Harden, Joos, Kaern, Pelling, Longtin, Munger, and Slater).


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Last updated: Friday, 21-Sep-2012 18:21:44 EDT