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We are a neural data lab


We interrogate how the joint activity of many neurons encodes the past, present, and future in order to guide behaviour.  We develop neural data analysis techniques, and use them to understand what joint activity is encoding in recordings of hundreds or thousands of neurons, from across different tasks, brain circuits, species, and phyla. And we develop theoretical and computational models for how this joint activity arises from neural circuits.

Supported by the Medical Research Council, the BBSRC, and Innovate UK.



Computing the probability of connection between two neurons

March 2022

In a new lab paper, we introduce a new Bayesian approach to computing the probability of connection between classes of neuron, its distance dependence, and the strength of evidence for it. We use this approach to synthesis the most complete map of the striatal microcircuit currently available. 

Read "Bayesian Mapping of the Striatal Microcircuit Reveals Robust Asymmetries in the Probabilities and Distances of Connections" in the Journal of Neuroscience.


Two new papers on the dimensions of data

August 2021

Two new papers from the lab that are both about the dimensions of data, whether networks or neural:

  1. How to find low dimensional structure in a network by comparison to a null model - including how to estimate the number of dimensions. "Spectral estimation for detecting low-dimensional structure in networks using arbitrary null models" in PLoS One, a whole lab effort, by Humphries, Caballero, Evans, Maggi & Singh. 

  2. When we apply dimension reduction to neural activity, is the low dimensional signal we find actually how the brain computes? Mark's paper on "Strong and weak principles of neural dimension reduction" is out in the new overlay journal Neurons, Behavior, Data analysis, and Theory.


The Spike: An Epic Journey Through the Brain in 2.1 Seconds

March 2021

Mark's new book "The Spike" is out now, published by Princeton University Press. Available in hardback, ebook, and audiobook!

It tells the journey of a spike through your brain, from the eye to hand and everywhere in between. And the journey of the last 30 years of systems neuroscience - of all the things we now know about spikes, and the mysteries we've yet to solve.


New paper on population plasticity in the prefrontal cortex

May 2019

Our new paper "Medial Prefrontal Cortex Population Activity Is Plastic Irrespective of Learning" by Singh, Peyrache & Humphries is out in the Journal of Neuroscience. 

Here we show, in a trial-and-error task, that population activity in PFC is persistently changing, regardless of learning. Only during episodes of clear learning of relevant actions are the accompanying changes to population activity carried forward into sleep, suggesting a long-lasting form of neural plasticity.

Read the write-up of our research in PNAS Front Matter


UK Neural Computation 2019 meeting

July 2019

We're organising a national meeting for the UK's computational neuroscience community. Main meeting will be July 2nd-3rd, and early career workshops on July 1st. All in Nottingham University's beautiful parkland campus.

Abstract submission closes May 10th

Visit the website for full detail!


New paper: learning to remember in prefrontal cortex

June 7, 2018

Our new paper in Nature Communications, "An ensemble code in medial prefrontal cortex links prior events to outcomes during learning" reveals how the PfC's roles in learning and short-term memory intersect. Led by Silvia Maggi, and in collaboration with Adrien Peyrache.


New review of  modelling Parkinson's disease

April 18, 2018

In our new paper, we review what computational models have taught us about Parkinson's disease. With Jose Obeso and Jakob Dreyer, for the BMJ's Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery & Psychiatry.


New paper in PLoS Computational Biology

April 10, 2018

Our paper "A probabilistic, distributed, recursive mechanism for decision-making in the brain" led by Javier Caballero is out! Find out how the brain makes decisions between more than two alternatives.

Code available here

Person Rolling Suitcase in Airport

We've moved!

April 3, 2018

The Humphries lab has landed at the University of Nottingham. Au revoir to our friends at the University of Manchester.


A manifesto for neural data science

March 26, 2018

The neural data scientist uses data from systems neuroscience experiments to ask: how do all these neurons work together to do their thing? This latest post on The Spike is a guide for how to answer this question.


OHBM interview Mark

February 19, 2018

An interview with Mark by the Organisation of Human Brain Mapping (OHBM) blog.


The Spike


Our #scicomm publication at Medium. We essay the latest advances in understanding of neurons work together. And take a deep dive into the philosophy of systems neuroscience — of how best to understand the brain, and of the limits to our understanding.

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