NOTE: There will be no summer school offered  in 2015.

Seventh Summer School 

May 5-17, 2014      


NOTE: Two students or postdoctoral members of the Organization for Computational Neuroscience can apply to receive funding from the OCNS for participation in the School. If you wish to be considered for such an award, please mention it in the application form under Financial Support.

We are pleased to announce the Seventh University of Ottawa Summer School in Computational Neuroscience. There will be no tuition fee for academic participants, and there will be support for travel and accommodation based on need. The school is organized by the Center for Neural Dynamics at the University of Ottawa. It receives funding from NSERC (Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada) via an NSERC-CREATE Training Grant in Quantitative Biomedicine, from CIHR (Canadian Institutes of Health Research) via a CIHR Training Grant in Neurophysics (U. Laval, McGill U. and U. Ottawa), and from the OCNS.

The course is directed at graduate students and postdoctoral fellows from the physical sciences (e.g. physics, applied mathematics, engineering, computer science) and the life sciences (e.g. neuroscience, biology, physiology, human kinetics) who wish to develop their skills in neural data analysis and in mathematical modeling of neural activity. The topics will range from cellular to systems neuroscience, with a focus on sensory and motor systems.

The course will consist of 3 hours of lectures in the mornings, followed by 3-hour MATLAB-based computer laboratories in the afternoons. Participants will pair up for these laboratories, and an effort will be made to pair someone from the life sciences with someone from the physical sciences. All classes and laboratories will be held on the main downtown campus of the University of Ottawa. The School will be held in English, although many of the lecturers also speak French.

The course can also be taken for credit, since it is a University of Ottawa three-credit graduate course (NSC8104). The mark will be based on work done in the computer laboratories and a project (done in pairs). The project is presented orally by the team for approximately 15 minutes at the end of the school. All participants must do the project. Furthermore, those who are taking the course for credit must hand in a written report within a week after the school ends. The project is marked by the Faculty. All students receive a letter stating that they satisfactorily participated in the school, regardless of whether they take the course for credit. Those taking it for credit will receive their mark from the University of Ottawa Registrar's Office later in the summer.

The evening of the first day of the school (Monday May 5th) will be a differential equation and probability refresher open to all participants.

Enrollment in the course will be limited to 40 participants.


MATH PRE-REQUISITES: Calculus I and II, first-year university level Linear Algebra and Probability and Statistics.

LIFE SCIENCES PRE-REQUISITES: first-year university level life science courses for students in the physical sciences.


  • Prof. Jean-Claude Béïque, Cellular Molecular Medicine, U. Ottawa
  • Prof. Maurice Chacron, Physiology, McGill University
  • Prof. John Lewis, Biology, University of Ottawa
  • Prof. André Longtin, Physics, Cellular and Molecular Medicine, University of Ottawa
  • Prof. Len Maler, Cellular and Molecular Medicine, University of Ottawa
  • Cathy E. Morris, Prof. Emeritus, Ottawa Hospital Research Institute and U. Ottawa
  • Georg Northoff, Mind, Brain and Neuroethics, U. Ottawa Inst. Mental Health Res.
  • Jon Rubin, Mathematics, U. Pittsburgh, USA
  • Prof. Jean-Philippe Thivierge, Dept. Psychology, University of Ottawa

TUITION: Little of no tuition for academic participants (graduate students, postdocs, professors). $2500 for non-academic participants. The summer school course can also be taken for official University of Ottawa credits (3) by paying additionally the tuition fees corresponding to your situation (canadian or foreign fees). This can be determined from the webpage .



Accommodation will be available at the residences of the University of Ottawa, a few minutes walk away from the lecture hall and computer laboratory, as well as from cafeterias and restaurants. Accommodation consists of single rooms (single bed, desk and internet access), with communal kitchen and living area and shared bathroom. Double rooms are also available. The cost is $35 CAN per single room, and $70 CAN per double room, plus 13% tax.


For those demonstrating the need, partial financial support for travel and accommodation will be available for students registered at canadian universities, or canadians studying abroad. There will be support for most meals for all participants. Support is provided by NSERC (CREATE training program in Quantitative Biomedicine, University of Ottawa) and CIHR (Neurophysics Training Grant, Universite Laval, McGIll University and University of Ottawa). Two students or postdoctoral members of the Organization for Computational Neuroscience can apply to receive funding from the OCNS for participation in the School. If you wish to be considered for such an award, please mention it in the application form under Financial Support.


February 3rd, 2014: Application due, including separate letter of reference sent to
February 15, 2014: Notification of acceptance and level of financial support.
February 28, 2014: Confirmation of acceptance and participation by the applicant.

Accommodation: as soon as possible after notification of acceptance, participants can reserve their accommodation online at or by phoning 1-888-564-4545.




  1. Introduction to Linear and Nonlinear Dynamical Systems
    • solutions of linear differential equations
    • qualitative analysis of nonlinear differential equations
  2. Single Neuron Models (André Longtin and John Lewis)
    • ionic models
    • simplified deterministic models
    • stochastic models
  3. Neural Spike Train Analysis and Modeling (Maurice Chacron)
    • basic statistics
    • autocorrelation, crosscorrelations, spectrum
    • information theory toolbox
  4. Sensory Coding (Len Maler)
    • artificial and naturalistic stimuli
    • modeling activity along the afferent pathways
    • modeling feedback
    • population coding and information theory
  5. Synaptic Plasticity (John Lewis)
    • short term depression and facilitation
    • long term plasticity
    • implications for information processing
  6. Bursting and Deep Brain Stimulation (Jon Rubin)
    • mechanisms of bursting
    • cellular coupling
    • central pattern generators
    • Parkinson's and deep brain stimulation
  7. Functional and Structural Networks (Jean-Philippe Thivierge)
    • Graph statistics
    • Multiscale networks
    • Analyzing dynamics from Multi-electrode arrays
  8. Outlook onto New Areas    
  • Computational Neurotrauma (Cathy E. Morris)
  • Resting state dynamics and psychiatric illness (Georg Northoff)
  • Homeostatic Plasticity (Jean Claude Béique)




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Last updated: Wednesday, 02-Mar-2016 11:45:27 EST