Project Overview

Computational Simulation of Hippocampal Place Cell Networks

Faculty Sponsor

Patrick Crotty (


Physics and Astronomy


This is a project in computational neuroscience that will explore the dynamics and behavior of a model of place cell networks in the hippocampus.  Place cells are are type of neuron believed to encode information related to spatial navigation.  We have been simulating neural and synaptic degeneration in our model and found some interesting, nontrivial behavior that could have real-world consequences.  The specific long-term aims of this research are (1) to establish as rigorously as possible how the memory capacity of the place cell network is affected by the network topology, or pattern of synaptic connections, and (2) simulate different kinds of neurodegenerative conditions and study how the network is affected, and what kinds of changes in cognition or behavior this could imply.

Student Qualifications

- Familiarity with Python and MATLAB
- Familiarity with, or willingness to work in, a Linux environment
- Familiarity with differential equations
- Willingness to do a large amount of self-study in neuroscience and related areas of physics

Number of Student Researchers

2 students

Project Length

8 weeks

Applications open on 01/05/2018 and close on 02/05/2018

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If you have questions, please contact Karyn Belanger (