Spring 2021

Most meetings on Fridays at 3pm


22 January Hannes Saal (Sheffield): Expansion and contraction of resource allocation in sensory bottlenecks

5 Feb Benigno Uria (Google Deepmind): The Spatial Memory Pipeline: A deep-learning model of spatial understanding in brains and machines.

26 Feb Mac Shine (Sidney University): TBA

19 March ethics discussion on reanimation at zoom 963 0962 4747

26 March Demian Battaglia ( Aix-Marseille University):  Complex neural variability as a resource for cognitive information processing at zoom 963 0962 4747

9 April Jennifer Culbertson (Edinburgh) Understanding nominal word order through information theory and biased learning  at zoom 963 0962 4747

16 April Sander Keemink (Champalimaud):  The underlying geometry of spiking neural networks – on inequalities and convex optimization at zoom 993 6866 9173 Passcode: 028770 

23 April Áine Byrne (U. College Dublin): Next generation neural mass models: an introduction at zoom 963 0962 4747

30 April Seth Bullock (CS) Collective construction in artificial insects at zoom 963 0962 4747

7 May there is an interesting talk in maths which clashes so we won’t have a seminar of our own: https://www.bristolmathsresearch.org/seminar/giacomo-zanella/

14 May learning salon video and discussion at zoom 963 0962 4747

21 May Will Carr: Ripples and memory reactivation patterns in humans
Jonathan Blackman: Dopamine, Sleep and Cognition – DOPAMIND Study

28 May John Butler (Dublin TU)  Two become one: Multisensory Data and Future Modelling at zoom 963 0962 4747

4 June Will Greedy. Journal club talk on https://www.nature.com/articles/s41593-021-00857-x at zoom 963 0962 4747

Joint mini-away-day Neural Computation / Mathematical Biology

14:30 to 16:30 on Friday 30 October at zoom 991 7487 4920

14:30 – opening remarks
14:40 – Cian O’Donnell – Modelling the Rules of Synaptic Plasticity
15:00 – Lucia Marruci and Martin Homer – This is Mathematical Biology.
15:20 – break out room discussions
15:35 – discussion of the break out room discussion
15:45 – Gaurav Malhotra – What do Adversarial Images Tell us about Human Vision?
16:05 – Sophie Landon, Elisa Pedone and Davide Salzano – short talks about Mathematical Biology
16:25 – closing remarks
16:30 – end




Autumn 2020

Most meetings on Fridays at 3pm at zoom 991 7487 4920

2 October Chloe / Naomi

9 October Journal Club: the NumPy paper – Conor

16 October we will watch and discuss Paul Cisek’s learning salon talk. www.crowdcast.io/e/learningsalon/6

23 October Stefan Frank (Radboud U. Nijmegen) “Neural language models and human reading behaviour”

30 October Join mini-away-day with the mathematical biology group: cnumeeting.blogs.bristol.ac.uk/2020/10/20/nc_versus_mb

6 November Casimie Ludwig “Temporal Control in Modelling Eye Fixations”

13 November Matt Suderman / Paul Yousefi “DNA methylation predictors: applications, statistical considerations, and new directions”

20 November learning salon talk by Melanie Mitchell followed by discussion.

27 November Venkat Ramaswamy (BITS-Pilani, India; https://theory.ncbs.res.in/vramaswamy)
“Axiomatic theory for neural circuit computation”

4 December Kanaka Rajan (Mount Sinai, New York; https://www.rajanlab.com)

11 December Cristina Savin (New York University; https://csavin.wixsite.com/savinlab)
“Task-specific routing of information in neural circuits via structured noise”

Summer 2020

CNU lab meetings are usually at 3pm on Fridays. More info on bristolcnu.github.io

24 July 2020 – CNU seminar: Jan Schulz (University of Basel)

“Nonlinear dendritic inhibition: A trickle that stops the wave”

17 July 2020 – CNU seminar: Helen Barron (Oxford)

“Hippocampal-neocortical interactions in prediction and memory”

10 July 2020 –  Stephen Montgomery (Life Sciences, U of Bristol)

“Sensory and cognitive adaptations in butterfly brains”

3 July 2020 – CNU seminar: James Bennett (Sussex)

“Probing reinforcement learning in Drosophila melanogaster”

Our meetings are for now hosted online.

Winter/Spring 2020

CNU lab meetings are usually at 3pm on Fridays. See also our list highlighting computational neuroscience seminars across the university. More info on bristolcnu.github.io

12 June 2020 – CNU seminar: Jake Stroud (University of Cambridge)

“A unifying model of prefrontal dynamics across task epochs during working memory”

22 May 2020 – CNU seminar: Tatjana Tchumatchenko (MPI Frankfurt)

“How proteins navigate dendrites”

15 May 2020 – CNU seminar:

“Attention in Psychology, Neuroscience, and Machine Learning”

Grace Lindsay (UCL)

7 May 2020 – CNU seminar:

“On feedback and robustness in spiking networks, and its implications for perturbation experiments”

William Podlaski (Oxford/Champalimaud) [hosted online]

24 April 2020 – Rahul Gupta (CNU / Computer Science)

10 April 2020 – No meeting, public holiday.

20 March 2020 – Thomas Delaney (CNU/Computer Science)

13 March 2020 – no meeting

6 March 2020 – no meeting (clash with SCEEM research conference)

28 Feb 2020 – CNU seminar: Deep learning research directions (Graphcore)

21 Feb 2020 – Song Liu (School of Maths, Bristol)

‘Learning Differential Patterns using Density Ratio Estimation: with Applications in Neuroscience’

14 Feb 2020 – CNU seminar: Everton Agnes (Oxford)

‘Learning with interacting synapses’

31 Jan 2020 – Emma Roscow

‘Replay in brains and machines’

24 Jan 2020 – Claire Hales (PPN)

17 Jan 2020 – Aleks Domanski (PPN)

‘Decoding the sequential contributions of hippocampal-frontal cortical cell assemblies to spatial decision making’

Our meetings are for now hosted online.

Autumn 2019

13 Dec – Emma Roscow (CNU)

6 Dec – TBD

3 Dec (2pm) – CNU seminar: Romain Veltz (INRIA Sophia-Antipolis)

On a toy network of neurons interacting through a nonlinear dendritic compartment

29 Nov – No meeting

22 Nov – Sean Roberts (Anthropology)

Causal Graphs will save us all from Big Data

15 Nov – Haris Organtzidis (PPN/CNU)

Journal club: Cortical Circuit Dynamics Are Homeostatically Tuned to Criticality In Vivo, Ma et al., 2019, Neuron (https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0896627319307378)

8 Nov – Michael Brudfords (Bristol)

Generative models for analysing clinical neuroimaging data

1 Nov – CNU seminar: Laurence Aitchison (CNU) Bayesian inference for synaptic plasticity and deep learning

25 Oct – Ashley Tyrer (CNU)

Noradrenaline in Optimal Decision Making and State-Action Prediction Error

18 Oct – Beatriz Mizusaki (CNU) Representation variability in somatosensory circuits

11 Oct – Milton Llera Montero (EP/CNU) journal club on:

Maheswaranathan et al. Universality and individuality in neural dynamics across large populations of recurrent networks   https://arxiv.org/pdf/1907.08549.pdf

4 Oct – Amelia Burroughs (CNU)

Grammar, lexical category and the neural processing of language

Venue schedule: All rooms are in MVB and we meet on Fridays at 3pm.

04/10/2019 4.01
11/10/2019 4.01
18/10/2019 4.01
25/10/2019 0.2
01/11/2019 4.01
08/11/2019 2.59
15/11/2019 4.01
22/11/2019 4.01
29/11/2019 2.59
03/12/2019 Fry G.09
06/12/2019 4.01
13/12/2019 4.01
20/12/2019 2.59

Spring 2019

CNU lab meetings are usually at 3pm on Fridays. See also our new list highlighting CNU seminars and other computational neuroscience seminars across the university. More info on bristolcnu.github.io

1 February – SNOW!

8  February – Marie Tolkiehn 

“Neural ensemble activity depends on stimulus type in mouse primary visual cortex”

2.59 MVB
Already in the 1950s it was discovered that moving bars at different orientations elicited responses of varying strength in primary visual cortex. This led to the discovery of orientation-selective neurons (Hubel and Wiesel 1959) and much research into edge detection. However, neural ensemble activity differs between stimulus types: Artificial stimuli such as moving bars or gratings induce responses different from spontaneous activity (no stimulation) or evoked by natural scenes. We found spontaneous and natural scenes-evoked activities indicated lower firing rates, Shannon entropies, and binary word distribution divergences (Jensen-Shannon-Divergence) than either to drifting gratings.

15 February – Cian

journal club talk on

Fundamental bounds on learning performance in neural circuits

Dhruva V Raman, Timothy O’Leary


22 February – Conor

journal club talk on

Mikolov, Tomas, et al. “Efficient estimation of word representations in vector space.arXiv preprint arXiv:1301.3781 (2013).


1 March – Alastair Craw (Bath)

A novel prism-glasses based treatment for CFS.

Date TBA – Joint meeting with Collective Dynamics

15 March – Jack Mellor (PPN)

A new model for neuromodulation: Integrated encoding of expectation.

Neuromodulator systems provide the principle signals to achieve rapid behaviourally-relevant adaptations in brain function. However, our understanding of their mechanism of action is hampered by current models of the different neuromodulator systems as segregated signalling modalities. In this talk I will propose a new model for neuromodulation where distinct but functionally overlapping neuromodulator systems combine and interact to signal different aspects of predictions, prediction errors and uncertainty, i.e. expectation. I will describe how we might test these models by measuring where and when neuromodulation by dopamine, serotonin, noradrenaline and acetylcholine occurs in prefrontal cortex during a behavioural task in mice designed to manipulate the type and degree of uncertainty.

22 March – Milton Montero (Journal club)


Task representations in neural networks trained to perform many cognitive tasks, Guangyu Robert Yang, Madhura R. Joglekar, H. Francis Song, William T. Newsome & Xiao-Jing Wan

29 March – no meeting

5 April – Jeff Mitchell (EP)

Extrapolation in Deep-Learning

Historically, criticism of neural or connectionist models of cognition has often used symbolic architectures as a contrast to highlight shortcomings, with systematicity and productivity being two characteristics that are frequently asserted to be lacking in the former but not the latter. Recently, Marcus re-opened this dialogue with a  widely discussed essay that criticised deep learning from a symbolic perspective on a number of fronts. This talk will focus on the issue of extrapolation and Marcus’s identity learning challenge, dating back to 1998.

While the ability to successfully make novel predictions outside the original domain is usually considered a critical test of scientific models and theories, the standard machine learning methodology focuses almost exclusively on within domain testing. Extrapolating outside the training data may require different approaches, in particular architectures that connect distant regions of the input space. I will discuss the role of symmetry in this regard and present a couple of examples.

12 April -. Orlando da Silva.

Orlando is a consultant ophthalmologist with interest in proprioceptive disorders and their treatment through optical means. More about his background can be found on this site


The work has links with neuroscience, psychology and medicine; for example, relating to the recent talk by Dr Alastair Craw, mathematician from the University of Bath, on his experiences with M.E.

19 April – Good Friday

26 April – Roberto Feuda (Palaeobiology and Biodiversity Research Group)

Towards a system-level understanding of the evolution of the nervous system

3 May – no talk

10 May – Anne-Lene Sax (SCEEM/EP, Bristol)

Towards understanding of self-beliefs in the context of depression

17 May – Interviews for new post

24 May – Sean-James Fallon (Bristol) 0.2 MVB

The effect of dopamine and Parkinson’s disease on the control of irrelevant information.

7 June – Thom Griffith / Sophie Baker (Bristol) 5.68 Wills

11 June – CNU seminar: Irene Malvestio (Univ. Pompeu Fabra, Spain)

Venue: 3.33 Wills Memorial Building      Time: 4pm

Detection of directional interactions between single neurons: comparison of methods and application to sleep recordings

11 June – CNU seminar: Marinho Lopes (University of Bristol)

Venue: 3.33 Wills Memorial Building      Time: 11:30am

Mathematical modelling of epilepsy and its applications in epilepsy surgery and epilepsy classification

14 June – Moved to later in the year

Simon Bright (PPN, Bristol)

On Deeplabcut: http://www.mousemotorlab.org/deeplabcut

21 June – CNU Seminar: Katharina Wilmes (Imperial College London) 4.01 MVB

Inhibitory microcircuits for top-down plasticity of sensory representations

28 June – Paul Dodson (PPN, Bristol) 4.01 MVB

A Mötley Crüe: Heterogeneity in the encoding of behaviour by dopamine neurons

5 July – Daniel Bennett (SCEEM, Bristol) – TBC 4.01 MVB

July – September – summer hiatus


Venue schedule:

2.59 MVB: 1st Feb / 8th Feb / 15th Feb / 22nd Feb / 1st March / 8th March

4.01 MVB: 15th March / 22nd March / 29th March

2.59 MVB: 5th April / 12th April / 19th April / 26th April / 3rd May

0.3 MVB: 10th May


Winter 2018

14 September – Cian

21 September – Mark Humphries   

28 September – Rui 

5 October- Raymond 

 12 October – Beatriz 

 19 October – Karoline Weisner 

 26 October – Carl Henrik Ek 

 9 November – Amelia 

 16 November – Chloe S 


23 November Charlie Williams (30 mins) 


30 November Nathan 


7 December Thilo Gross – Thilo has cancelled Perla Jazmin Mayo Diaz de Leon 


14 December –