Tutors & Participants / OCNC2017




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Tutors / About yourself & Message

Andrew Gallimore (OIST)


I am a neurobiologist, biochemist, and pharmacologist, currently working in Erik DeSchutter's computational neuroscience group at OIST. At the molecular level, I am interested in the emergent properties of complex networks of intracellular molecules inside neurons. Specifically, I work on the mechanisms underlying synaptic plasticity in the cerebellum. I am also deeply interested in how psychoactive molecules (psychedelic drugs in particular) affect global brain function and consciousness.



Molecular neurobiology, pharmacology
Matlab (esp. SimBiology)
Carlos Enrique Gutierrez (OIST)


Hello, Welcome to Okinawa ! This is my 3rd year as postdoc in Doya Unit at OIST. I am a computer science guy, I did my master and PhD on data mining and machine learning on social networks, mainly using unsupervised learning models. At OIST, I learned about neural dynamics, ran several simulations of interacting populations on HPC using NEST, reduced the dimensionality of huge Spiking Network Models by using community detection and mean field models. Currently, applying unsupervised models and neural networks to segment tracer signal from brain images and performing parameters fitting for global tracktography on DWI data.



python, nest, machine learning, data mining, mean field approximation.


Espen Hagen (University of Oslo, Norway)


I am at present a PostDoc at CINPLA.ORG in Oslo, Norway. I have been involved in several modeling projects relating neuronal activity to extracellular potentials in neural tissue (e.g., spikes and local field potentials). One key component of these studies is multicompartment models combined with an electrostatic forward model. For this purpose, I’m involved in the development of LFPy (LFPy.github.io), a tool for computing such extracellular potentials in Python. One goal of such modeling efforts is aiding the interpretation of these nontrivial signals measured in the brain. 

I am a regular user of point neuron network models, multicompartment neuron models, electrostatic forward models and high-performance computing (HPC) facilities. I will be this year’s NEST (nest-simulator.org) tutor. 
Looking forward to see all of you in Okinawa!



I am a regular user of point neuron network models, multicompartment neuron models, electrostatic forward models and high-performance computing (HPC) facilities.
NEST, NEURON, Python, SciPy stack, LFPy, iCSD, MPI, HPC facilities, Git
Sungho Hong (OIST)


I am a researcher in the Erik De Schutter's lab at OIST, and so I live and work in Okinawa. I am generally interested in things in the domain of biophysics/cellular physiology, and have been trying to understand how they contribute to what is happening in the higher level such as neural networks and so on. I look forward to meeting you all soon!


I have expertise in detailed modeling of neurons with ion channels and intracellular ion dynamics, mainly in the NEURON platform. I also have some experience in developing data analysis techniques by using various statistical modeling frameworks such as LN model, compressive sensing, spectral clustering, and so on. The brain region that I am mostly familiar with is the cerebellar cortex. About computational tools, I write my simulations mostly in NEURON, and do my data analysis in Python and Matlab.

Shane Lee (Brown University, USA)


I am a neuroscience postdoc studying the neurophysiology and behavior of movement disorders, including Essential Tremor and Parkinson's Disease. I am working on understanding how movement and cognition is reflected human neural activity and further how deep brain stimulation (DBS) affects this activity. I record from patients performing motor tasks during DBS electrode implant surgery and also work on computational models of DBS on thalamocortical activity.



I have worked on understanding gamma and beta oscillatory activity in the context of laminar cortex using both single and multi-compartment Hodgkin-Huxley type cells.
Relevant papers: Lee et al. 2009 (PLCB), Aisworth et al. 2011 (J Neurosci), Ainsworth et al. 2012 (Neuron, review), Lee and Jones 2013 (Front Hum Neurosci), Cannon et al 2014 (Eur J Neurosci, review), Ainsworth et al 2016 (PNAS), Sherman et al 2016 (PNAS).
During my postdoc, I have also been working on understanding the effects of DBS on movement disorders with Stephanie Jones and Wael Asaad. I have experience collecting and analyzing LFP, ECoG, single units, and behavior from awake humans during DBS electrode implant surgery. We also collect behavioral data in a clinical setting to help understand these movement disorders, and we are modeling the effects of DBS in motor thalamus.
Experimental techniques: human intraoperative neural and behavioral recording, spectral analysis, bootstrap methods, basic statistics, spike sorting, electronics, etc.
Computational techniques: single- and multi-compartment Hodgkin-Huxley-type modeling.
Analysis and simulation programming: Python, NEURON (including parallel with MPI), MATLAB, some C/C++.


Matias I. Maturana (University of Melbourne, Australia)


I am a friendly individual with high academic achievements at a post-doctoral level and experience in life sciences, programming, medical device development and computational neuroscience. My interests are in computational neuroscience, neural modelling, machine Learning, and (probably most importantly) tinkering with electronics, programming and science. 

My current work focuses on bionic vision research, where I contribute to developing the technology for new medical devices, trial devices in wet-lab experiments, and develop the algorithms to efficiently stimulate neural tissue. My goal is to use my skills learnt through biomedical engineering to realize devices, algorithms and technology that will truly impact society.



Throughout my research, I have learnt specialized techniques in retinal electrophysiology and device fabrication. I am proficient in techniques such as patch clamp, calcium imaging and photolithography, which allows me to create micron scale electronic devices on glass for the use in wet-lab experiments. As an electrical engineer, I have been able use my skills in programming, electronics, signal processing and control theory to devise experiments that help answer key questions about electrical stimulation of neural tissue. I have used tools in machine learning and statistical modelling to develop mathematical models that can be used to predict how neurons respond to electrical stimulation. The models I develop can be used to create more functional and smarter stimulation devices that can auto-regulate the amount of stimulation applied based on responses from individual cells.
Expertise include:
Programming languages: NEURON (hoc) code, C++, C#, MATLAB, Simulink, LabView, Android (JAVA), iOS
Experimental Neuroscience: Animal handling & retinal dissection, patch clamp, extracellular recording and electrical stimulation, confocal microscopy
Device fabrication: photolithography, PCB design and assembly
Computational Neuroscience: Linear-Nonlinear Models, PCA, Log-likelihood estimators, Neural networks, Hodgkin-Huxley neurons



Ken Nakae (Kyoto University, Japan)


I am a postdoc in Ishii Lab at Kyoto University, where I am interested in statistical approaches to connectome of the brain. I got a PhD at Institute of Statistical Mathematics to develop the method for analyzing dynamical system. Based on this experience, I proposed a dynamic Bayesian approach to estimate the glia-neuronal network using Ca2+ imaging data. My current work is to identifying global network structure obtained by Diffusion MRI and Two-photon microscopy to reveal the connectome of the marmoset brain. I’m looking forward to discussing with students in this OCNC.



Bayesian Statistic, Machine Learning, MATLAB


Merav Stern (University of Washington, Seattle, USA)


I grew up in a small town outside of Tel Aviv. My first tutor-like experience was in my teenage years as a figure skating instructor. Scientifically, I grew up at the Hebrew University, where I graduated with a Bachelor in Math and Physics, Master in Theoretical Physics and PhD in Computational Neuroscience. I also saw the world, I took my classes for my Master in Amsterdam, where I lived for a year, and did part of my PhD research in Columbia university in NY where I lived for three years. Currently, I'm a Postdoc at the University of Washington in Seattle.



During my PhD I improved our tools for studying non linear neural network dynamics. Specifically, I explored static and dynamic mean field solutions of rate neural networks that include strong self coupled units, and networks that include sub-groups of connectivity rules - a study which lead to new results in random matrix theory. In addition I have constructed a model for the pirifom cortex which captures its basic circuit properties and succeeds in explaining how concentration-dependent, temporal odor responses in the olfactory bulb are transformed into a concentration-invariant neuronal ensemble identity code. I also developed models for the olivo-cerebellar loop. Currently, I study different aspects of learning, in both models and recordings. Specifically, I seek to identify brain areas that alter their activity during the course of learning a visually-guided behavioral task and characterize these changes.


Marcel Stimberg (UPMC, Paris, France)

marcel.stimberg[at]inserm.fr      URL 

I am a research software engineer in the group of Romain Brette at the Vision Institute in Paris, France. My PhD in Klaus Obermayer's group at the TU Berlin, Germany, as well has my time as a PostDoc in Romain's group was about computational modelling, more specifically about small-size networks in the visual and auditory system. In recent years, my focus has shifted somewhat away from modelling towards the development of (open-source) software tools for computational neuroscience. Most importantly, I've been leading the development of Brian 2, your friendly simulator for spiking neural networks.

I am interested in both the technical aspects of computational modelling (how to simulate/analyse/visualize/... computational experiments), as well as in using modelling as a tool to investigate spike-based computation and plasticity in networks of neurons, especially in the sensory system.
Looking forward to meeting you all in Okinawa!



Computational modelling of the early visual and auditory system
Software: Brian, Python (numpy/matplotlib/etc.), general programming/tools (git, C/C++, Linux, ...), to a lesser extent: Matlab, NEURON, PyNN
Criseida Zamora (OIST)


I'm a postdoc in Erik De Schutter’s lab, Computational Neuroscience Unit at OIST. During my Phd, I developed mechanistic models of gene expression and its regulation, with a focus on how the feedback loops in genetic circuits control the intrinsic stochasticity of molecular interactions in gene expression. I’m interested to use computational modeling to investigate the properties of biological systems. Currently, I’m working on modeling cerebellar Long Term Depression (LTD) at molecular level. My general interest is to study the connection between gene expression processes and signaling pathways.



Programming with Python, Matlab and STEPS.
Some publications about my previous work:
Zamora Chimal C.G., Moises Santillan, Jesus Rodriguez Gonzalez. Influence of feedback loops in the trp operon of B. Subtilis on the system dynamic response and noise amplitude. Journal of Theoretical Biology 2012, 310:119-131.
Zamora Chimal C., E.S. Zeron. A simple model for Lutz and Bujard’s controllable promoters and its application for analyzing a simple genetic oscillator. In Silico Biology 2015, 12:69-82.


Yunliang Zang (OIST)


I am a postoc working in Erik De Schutter's lab at OIST. During my phd study, I explored the ionic mechanism of some heart diseases like Heart failure (HF) by build theoretical models. Three years ago I joined Erik's group and began to work on the Purkinje cell modelling. I explore the the role of principal ion currents in the generation of Na spikes in the soma and calcium spikes in the dendrite. 



During my phd study, I used MATLAB and FORTRAN to do cell and tissue level modelling. I also have some experience in COMSOL and ADINA.
Recently, I mainly use NEURON and MATLAB to do the PC modelling and simulation.
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Participants / About yourself & Message

Sophie Aimon
  • Affiliation: Kavli Institute UCSD
  • Position:​ Post-doctorant
  • Email: aimon.sophie[at]gmail.com​
I am a post-doctoral fellow at UCSD and Salk Institute. 
I am interested in observing and modelling large scale brain activity during behavior. I work with fruit flies, using light field microscopy to measure whole brain activity while the fly is walking on a ball.




Maria Alemany
  • Affiliation:IMIM (Hospital del Mar Medical Research Institute)
  • Position: PhD Student
  • Email: malemany[at]imim.es

I'm a PhD student at the M Victoria Puig lab in the Hospital del Mar Medical Research Institute in Barcelona. My research aims to understand how aberrant network dynamics in the Prefronto-Hippocampal circuit cause cognitive deficits using in vivo electrophysiological recordings during memory processing in a genetic mouse model of cognitive impairment.  I'm very glad to have the great  opportunity to attend OCNC2017 and gain expertise in computational and analytical methods to apply to my own data. Looking forward to meeting you all in Okinawa!


Manuel Baltieri
  • Affiliation: ​University of Sussex
  • Position: PhD Student
  • Email: m.baltieri[at]sussex.ac.uk
  • URL

I am a PhD student at the University of Sussex, working under the supervision of Christopher Buckley and Thomas Nowotny. My background is in computer science and AI whereas my current research lies at the intersection of AI and cognitive science with theoretical and computational neuroscience.

At the moment I’m working on models of action-perception loops under the Bayesian brain hypothesis with a focus on theories of motor control. In more detail, using recent developments in theoretical neuroscience including predictive coding and active inference I’m creating minimal computational models of agency. At OCNC I’m looking forward to applying my computational background to models of behaviour. My focus will be in particular on the modelling of tail-beating adaptation due to visual feedback in larval zebrafish.

See you all in Okinawa!


Aleksandra (Ola) Bykowska 
  • Affiliation: University of Bristol, UK
  • Position:PhD Student
  • Email: a.bykowska[at]bristol.ac.uk

I am a PhD student at University of Bristol. My research combines computational modelling and electrophysiology to study synaptic properties of interneurons. My background is mostly in experimental neuroscience so I am excited to learn more about computational approaches at Okinawa. Looking forward to meeting you all!




Michael Lawrence Castanares
  • Affiliation: The John Curtin School of Medical Research, Australian National University
  • Position: PhD student
  • Email: michael.castanares[at]anu.edu.au
  • URL

I am a trained Physicist from undergraduate and master studies. Now, I am doing a PhD in Neuroscience applying the tools in optics to develop new optical tools that would help us probe and understand the computational roles of neuronal projections called the dendrites. I look forward to an exciting learning experience in the upcoming computational Neuroscience workshop.


Samyukta Chillara
  • Affiliation: University of Hyderabad
  • Position: Masters student

I am in the final semester of the Integrated Masters program in Systems Biology at the University of Hyderabad. I have been working on mathematical modelling of the cell size control mechanism and cell cycle dynamics in yeast, for the last one year. Neuroscience fascinates me and I am particularly interested in understanding information integration and processing by neuronal networks/systems. I would like to join a PhD program soon and OCNC will be a wonderful beginning for my future and career in Neuroscience. I am looking forward to a great learning experience with everybody at Okinawa!!



Aurelio (Aure) Cortese 
  • Affiliation: ATR Institute International
  • Position:​ Researcher
  • Email: cortese_a[at]atr.jp
Hello everyone, I am very happy to attend this year's OCNC, and I am definitely looking forward to meeting you all!
Right now I am a postdoc in Mitsuo Kawato's lab at ATR, Japan, where I also recently finished my phd. 
Scientifically, I am attracted by the computational foundations of neural information transmission/communication and how this defines behavior. From a more philosophical standpoint I share a big interest in consciousness, how can it arise from neural activity? Some fascinating food for thoughts. In truth, I have been working with and modeling fMRI data, which can be a bit far from actual neural activity. 
Aside from science, travelling and exploring the world is what drives me around. 
I have heard so many good things about OCNC, I feel these are going to be extremely rich days with lots of interesting persons and discussions, and loads to learn!


Jack Curran
  • Affiliation: University of Bristol
  • Position: PhD Student
  • Email: jack.curran[at]bristol.ac.uk
My PhD project is investigating the effects of ageing on the circadian clock, using the humble fruit fly.  My main experimental focus is on how clock neurons change with age by recording their activity and properties using whole-cell patch-clamp electrophysiology.  I have also been attempting to use genetically encoded voltage membrane reports to optically record neuronal activity.
I am also investigating how circadian organisation of behaviour and sleep are altered by ageing and through the manipulation of ion channels.  In the near future, I am planning to use RNA-Seq to investigate how ion channel expression in clock neurons changes across the circadian cycle and during the ageing process.
My computational ambitions during my PhD are to develop a biophysical model of a clock neuron, which can be used to explain the circadian changes in electrical activity, and how this changes with age.  During OCNC2017 I intend to make the most of the opportunity afforded to me by OIST and learn as much as possible from the lecturers, especially in modelling the nonlinear dynamics of neuronal activity, and incorporate what I learn into my PhD project.
Audrey Denizot
  • Affiliation:​ INRIA & Univ Lyon, UMR5205 CNRS, F-69621, Villeurbanne, France
  • Position: PhD student
  • Email: audrey.denizot[at]inria.fr

I am a first year PhD student in Beagle team at INRIA CRI Grenoble Rhône-Alpes, Villeurbanne in France. My project aims at simulating calcium signaling in fine astrocytic processes. I have an experimental biology background and I am expecting to learn a lot more about computational sciences by attending OCNC. I am looking forward to meeting you all in Okinawa!


Vasha DuTell
  • Affiliation: ​University of California, Berkeley
  • Position: PhD Student
  • Email: vasha[at]berkeley.edu
  • URL

I grew up in Oregon and studied Physics and Computer Science during my undergraduate at the University of Oregon. After living in New Zealand for a year, I did my Master's in Bioinformatics in Dr. Ron Yu's lab in Kansas City. I came to Berkeley in 2015 to start my PhD in Vision Science, working with Dr. Bruno Olshausen. My research interests surround efficient coding approaches to understanding the visual system's encoding of natural stimuli. Outside of research, I love cooking, rock climbing, and exploring new places!



Samantha (Sam) Esteves 
  • Affiliation:​ University of Toronto
  • Position: PhD student
  • Email: samantha.esteves[at]mail.utoronto.ca
  • URL

I am a multidisciplinary PhD student who is currently trying to understand the genes that regulate neurite development. I am specifically interested in the molecular influence of the Clustered Protocadherin gene locus on neural wiring and dendrite patterning. I aim to determine the cellular behaviour of dendrite development using experimental live-imaging approaches to capture time-lapse videos of dendrite development. At OCNC I hope to create a graphical model of dendrite morphology development to gain novel insight that can be used to direct my live-imaging experiments.


Matthew Farrell
  • Affiliation: University of Washington
  • Position: Ph.D. Student
  • Email: msf235[at]cornell.edu
I work in Eric Shea-Brown's lab as part of my Ph.D. program in Applied Mathematics at the University of Washington. I am interested in the role of recurrence and dynamics in biological and artificial neural networks. In particular, I am studying the properties of balanced artificial neural networks of relatively simple spiking units.
My background is in mathematics and my expertise is much more on the theoretical end of the spectrum. I am interested in incorporating more biological details into the models I work with, such as neural heterogeneity.


Hamza Giaffar
  • ​Affiliation: Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory
  • Position: PhD student
  • Email: hgiaffar[at]cshl.edu
Originally from the UK, I'm now a graduate student in computational/theoretical neuroscience at CSHL in New York.  My thesis work focuses on theoretical approaches to understanding olfaction and I am also engaged in projects/collaborations looking at information routing and complex networks, and the evolution of language.
I am a PhD student under  Alexei Koulakov at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory. 
Broadly, I am interested in complexity in biological systems. My thesis work involves a combination of machine learning (SVMs and 'dual' networks) and theoretical work (I primarily use MATLAB, but also use a little python/C++).  I have also started working on a project looking at information routing in networks of coupled pulse/phase oscillators (python mostly), which combines information and network theory.
Outside of work, I enjoy sports (excited about the diving!), music, politics, food, whisky etc...   I look forward to meeting everyone!


Dorian Goueytes
  • ​Affiliation: Unité Neuroscience Information et Complexité (UNIC), CNRS
  • Position: Ph.D Student
  • Email: dorian.goueytes[at]unic.cnrs-gif.fr
  • URL
I’m a PhD.D student at the Neuroscience, Information and Complexity unit in CNRS in Paris. I am currently working on a closed-loop brain machine interface project in mice. My goal is to use BMIs to probe the sensorimotor system and particularly the role of sensorimotor noise during learning. In my research I combine electrophysiology with optogenetics and behaviour.
I’m looking forward to meet you and discover Okinawa.



Robert Gowers
  • Affiliation: University of Warwick
  • Position: PhD Student
  • Email: r.gowers[at]warwick.ac.uk
  • URL

I am a PhD student at the University of Warwick.  My research involves modelling the frequency response and firing patterns of spatially extended neurons in the subthreshold regime.  From these complex patterns, I hope to provide insight into neuropathologies such as epilepsy.  My background is in electrical engineering and, while I currently do theoretical and computational research, this means I have some experimental experience.  I am looking forward to expanding my knowledge and providing a context for my research, particularly by modelling how neurons behave in a network.


Olya Hakobyan
  • Affiliation: Ruhr-University Bochum
  • Position: Phd student
  • Email: olya.hakobyan[at]rub.de
  • URL
I recently started my PhD in the computational neuroscience group led by Prof. Sen Cheng at the Ruhr-University Bochum. My research interests have mainly been focused on the hippocampus and its role in memory and spatial navigation. In my Master's thesis I used  a network-level model of hippocampus to investigate robust sequence propagation and place field dynamics in CA1 and CA3 regions. Currently, I'm using an abstract model to study the role of the hippocampus in cognitive processes such as recognition memory. 
I am looking forward to meeting you in Okinawa!
Felix Z. Hoffmann
  • Affiliation: ​Frankfurt Institute for Advanced Studies (FIAS)
  • Position: PhD Student
  • Email: felix11h.dev[at]gmail.com
  • URL
Through plasticity, neuronal activity shapes the connectivity between cells. In turn, however, activity in the network depends on the connectivity in the first place. As a mathematician, I'm excited about theoretical models describing this relationship from the viewpoint of connectivity. My contributions so far have modelled the emergence of specific connectivity patterns in local cortical circuits. Now I'm learning more about plasticity mechanisms and models of network activity.
I'm looking forward to meeting all of you in Okinawa and learn more about the topics you are working on. Talk to me about Open Science and what software you use to help you in your research!


Caleb Holt
  • Affiliation: University of Oregon
  • Position: Graduate student
  • Email: cholt[at]uoregon.edu

I'm a physicist who studies computational neuroscience now. I focus on the primary visual cortex and how gamma oscillations depend on network properties. At OIST, I will study the role of complex synapses in the unsupervised learning of sensory representations. Or, how a group of neurons may learn to see the world, given that their synapses have a "memory" beyond their weight.




Maria Kesa
  • Affiliation: StatFinn Estonia OY
  • Position: Statistical programmer/statistician
  • Email: maria.kesa[at]gmail.com

I am a master's student working on modeling an experimentally observed phenomenon in the area V1 in the mouse neocortex (with professor Michael Berry, Princeton Neuroscience Institute). I conduct simulations to understand how recurrent networks in layer 2/3 of the neocortex make predictions and respond to surprising stimuli. In Okinawa, I will be working on understanding how reward-modulated Hebbian plasticity shapes receptive fields for positive or negative outcomes in the basolateral complex of the amygdala.



Emma Krause
  • Affiliation: Harvard University
  • Position: PhD Student
  • Email: mmakrause[at]g.harvard.edu

I am a Neuroscience PhD student in Jan Drugowitsch’s lab at Harvard University. I am currently studying the computational mechanisms underlying goal-directed spatial navigation. I am especially interested in the idea that the brain executes planning through probabilistic inference. My background is largely in experimental neuroscience and I have been focusing on strengthening my computational skills since starting graduate school. I’m looking forward to meeting everyone in Okinawa!




Greg Kronberg
  • Affiliation: The City College of New York
  • Position: PhD Student
  • URL

I am a PhD student in Biomedical Engineering at the City College of New York, where I work under Lucas Parra.  My research focuses on understanding how weak electric fields can enhance memory processes with the goal of informing noninvasive brain stimulation techniques in humans. Specifically I'm interested in modeling synaptic plasticity in small networks during electrical stimulation.  My experience with computational neuroscience is mostly from textbooks and playing around with simple models, so it'll be great to learn from the incredible collection of experts in Okinawa.  Looking forward to meeting and getting computational with you all.


Liya Ma
  • Affiliation: University of Western Ontario
  • Position: Postdoctoral Fellow
  • Email: liyamariama[at]gmail.com

I am a postdoctoral fellow working at the University of Western Ontario in London, Ontario, Canada. I study the activities of individual neurons as well as field potentials in the frontal cortex of animals while they perform cognitive tasks. I believe that computational neuroscience will play a critical role in solving one of the ultimate mysteries of our universe: the mechanism through which new ideas emerge from the interaction of large ensembles of neurons. I am truly thrilled to have this opportunity to meet with fellow computation-enthusiasts and to learn from the best people in the field of computational neuroscience!


Zhengyu Ma
  • Affiliation: Washington University in St Louis
  • Position: Graduate student
  • Email: zhengyuma[at]wustl.edu
Majoring in physics as a Ph.D. candidate in physics department at Washington University, I would like to apply physics concepts and mathematic methods to neuroscience. 
I'm interested in neuron dynamics, especially network dynamics. My research is about Neural Microcircuits, Spatiotemporal Network Dynamics, Neuronal Avalanche Analysis.  My major research experience is on statistical data analysis and modeling. And I also have interests in two-photon calcium imaging and whole cell recording. 
I'm trilled to be accepted by OIST and work with you.



Akiko Mizuno
  • Affiliation: University of Pittsburgh
  • Position: Postdoctoral fellow
  • Email: akm82[at]pitt.edu
  • URL

I am a postdoc fellow in the Geriatric Psychiatry Lab at the University of Pittsburgh. My Ph.D. training was in cognitive psychology at Carnegie Mellon University.  I investigate social cognition in autism, dimentia, and depression.  My current goal is to apply Parallel Distribution Processing modeling with fMRI data to investigate cognitive processes among antidepressant placebo responders.  I am a Japanese native, but have never been to Okinawa!




Jordi-Ysard Puigbò Llobet
  • Affiliation: Universitat Pompeu Fabra
  • Position: PhD Student
  • Email: jordiysard.puigbo[at]upf.edu

I'm pursuing my PhD on computational Neuroscience in Universitat Pompeu Fabra in Barcelona. Here I study how Acetylcholine modulates learning and attention, becoming a special learning mechanism based on surprise. 
I'm also interested on how computational models of different brain areas can be related to SotA machine learning techniques or even provide new insights. 
I'm looking forward to seeing you all in Okinawa.


Luis Giordano Ramos Traslosheros Lopez
  • ​Affiliation: European Neuroscience Institute Goettingen
  • Position: PhD student

I am interested in how nervous systems interact with the environment to guide behavior. For my PhD, I focus on vision, in particular on the emergence of direction selectivity in the fruit fly. To dissect the underlying neural circuit elements, and their response properties I make use of genetics, connectomics, and behavioral and physiological readouts . I plan to incorporate the resulting data into computational models that will in turn guide future research. I hope to refine my quantitative skills in Okinawa. And of course, I hope to have a great time learning with you all!


Hannes Rapp
  • Affiliation: University of Cologne
  • Position: Phd Student
  • Email: mail.hrapp[at]gmail.com
I'm a first year Phd student in Computational Biology at the University of Cologne, Germany. I'm a computer scientist (MSc) by training and since the start of my undergrad also operate my own software corporation. Other than that, my live is a random process of working, researching, making music, sports, travelling, sleeping, cooking & eating. Our teeny-weeny Computational Systems Neuroscience lab in Cologne is part of the Zoology department. Most people are working on or with insects and are less computational oriented. 
I take my Phd as opportunity to broaden my mind and experience things which I've never heard of or seen before. With my background in CS I'm particularly excited about "learning systems" - artificially and biologically and particullarly how they can go together. For that reason, I want to dig into reinforcement learning with spiking neurons on real spike trains during the OCNC. I'm very glad that OIST gave me the opportunity for this great experience to meet and interact with a bunch of exciting and smart people.
Looking forward to meet the OCNC'17 gang !


Katja Seeliger
  • Affiliation: Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behaviour​
  • Position: PhD student at Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behaviour

I'm a PhD student at the Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behaviour in Marcel van Gerven's lab and am focusing on understanding the brain from the perspective of natural algorithms based on encoding models. We study how representations from deep neural networks relate to human perceptual processing and reflect upon their biological plausibility. I also work on the inversion of this mapping (decoding).



Taisei Sugiyama
  • Affiliation: University of Tsukuba
  • Position: Ph.D. student
  • Email: tsugiyam[at]usc.edu
I am a Ph.D. student in Empowerment Informatics program at University of Tsukuba. I earned BS in cognitive science at UCLA, and after that I did research internship in several neuroscience labs where I gained experience in computational motor learning, brain stimulation (TMS, tDCS), and neuroimaging. 
My current research interest is neurocomputational motor behavior. Specifically, I'd like to elucidate how the basal ganglia and the cerebellum communicate with each other in motor behavior by developing their computational models, and I hope that will provide insights into how we can improve motor rehabilitation in the future. During OCNC, I'd like to work on representation of errors in motor tasks, which is quite relevant to my current research work, or something along the lines of it. I look forward to seeing you and sharing ideas and thoughts during OCNC!


Jeroen Verharen

  • Affiliation: Brain Center Rudolf Magnus, University Medical Center Utrecht
  • Position: PhD Candidate
  • Email: jeroenverharen[at]gmail.com
Hi everyone, 
My name is Jeroen and I am a PhD student at Utrecht University Medical Center in The Netherlands. My research focuses on the neural circuits underlying motivated behaviors in rodents, especially reinforcement learning and decision making. I try to explain changes in behavior and brain activity with mathematical models, and in that way hope to find the key to explain the computations that underlie complex human behaviors.
I'm looking forward to seeing you all in Okinawa!


Matthijs  (Thijs) Verhoog
  • Affiliation: Department of Integrative Neurophysiology, Center for Neurogenomics and Cognitive Research, VU University Amsterdam
  • Position: Post doctoral researcher
  • Email: thijs.verhoog[at]gmail.com

I am a postdoctoral researcher at the Center for Neurogenomics and Cognitive Research at the VU University Amsterdam, The Netherlands. I have a background in neurophysiology and am currently exploring the electrical properties and morphology of human cortical neurons. I look forward to improving my computational skills at OCNC2017.


Thomas (Tommy) James Younts
  • ​Affiliation: University College London
  • Position: Marie Skłodowska-Curie International Fellow
  • Email: t.younts[at]ucl.ac.uk
  • URL

I am a postdoc at UCL working with Prof. Angus Silver. I am interested in the mechanisms underlying dendritic computations. My current experimental work is focused on how different network states shape dendritic integration in space and time. I am also carrying out 3D imaging of dendritic spine activity in mice that are performing visual tasks to gain a better understanding of dendritic computations in vivo. I am very excited about the OCNC because it will strengthen my abilities to think about, conduct, and analyze experiments in a multidisciplinary manner. My goal for the course is to explore the input/output relationship of individual dendritic branches with an emphasis on background synaptic conductance, distributed vs clustered excitatory synaptic inputs, and compartmentalized inhibition. The more I learn about computational neuroscience, the more I appreciate how a unique synergy is achieved when experimental and computational neuroscience are appropriately combined to study brain function. I look forward to meeting everyone in Okinawa and learning more about computational neuroscience!

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