UK Nonlinear News, May 2000

Recent thesis

The Dynamical Effects of Dendritic Structure on Neural Systems

Barry de Souza

Nonlinear and Complex Systems Group
Dept of Mathematics, Loughborough University

Supervisor: Paul Bressloff (Loughborough)


The role of the dendritic tree and the way it functions within a neuron has been of interest to neurologists for over a century. As investigative techniques have become more sophisticated and thus revealing, our perception of the dendrites as being purely an information gathering component has changed to one where the dendritic tree may be viewed as a highly complex, nonlinear information processor. In spite of this, most mathematical studies of the dynamical behaviour of neural populations have neglected the influence of the dendritic tree. The aim of this thesis is to address this imbalance. We thus re-examine, from a dendritic perspective, two important features of neurobiological systems: that of neural pattern formation and mode-locking. This is accomplished by including a simple representation of the dendritic tree into the standard mathematical models of neural pattern formation, Ermentrout & Cowan and mode-locking. We then fully investigate each model, through a mixture of analysis and computer simulation, emphasising the dynamical effects of the dendritic cable throughout. The thesis is online at

Source: Steve Coombes

<< Move to UK Nonlinear News Issue 20 Index Page.
Page Created: 12th April 2000.
Last Updated: 3rd May 2000.