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What is theory and what is its place in neurobiology? Let us look at the history of other natural sciences, such as mathematics, physics, or chemistry. Up until about 400 years ago humankind had been accumulating extensive experimental knowledge , which had led to relatively few technological advances. This is because to build a new machine one has to know exactly how different components of the machine interact, which could only be done by trial and error. After the great laws of physics were discovered, one could engineer a new machine without much trial and error. This led to the explosion of technology in the new era. Thus, after discovery of the rules of quantum mechanics chemists designed many new substances and better understood existing ones.

Our mission is to understand the principles underlying functioning of the nervous system. We look for quantitative laws analogous to the Schrödinger equation in physics, which would allow us to predict results of experiments. When such predictions are made, experimental efforts can be concentrated on limitations of theories and uncovering new rules. This will lead to better understanding of the brain and new technological advances.

   

What is new?

Decision-making analysis A new field of applied mathematics, developed in our lab, dealing with the localizing network elements responsible for making perceptual decisions and containing representations of objects.

Retinocollicular maps

See videos of retinal ganglion cell neurons sharpening their projections to the superior colliculus. You can also download the preprint and/or a Matlab programs.

 

How to play golf with eye-balls?

 

Play a fun interactive game and read accompanying paper

 

   

Current projects

Wiring optimization database

 

A database containing a set of neuronal connection rules and corresponding layout of cortical neurons, which minimizes the length of wiring

 

Principles of cortical design

Not unlike computer chips cortical circuits are built to minimize the length of connections. Read about wire length minimization in the brain and see results of a Monte-Carlo program

Related websites

Mitya Chklovskii's wiring optimization webpage

 

Read about other exciting theoretical work here at CSHL

 

Lab at work and at play Some recent images about exciting events happening here