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Nicolas Brunel

Duke School of Medicine Distinguished Professor in Neuroscience
Neurobiology
311 Research Drive, Durham, NC 27710

Overview


We use theoretical models of brain systems to investigate how they process and learn information from their inputs. Our current work focuses on the mechanisms of learning and memory, from the synapse to the network level, in collaboration with various experimental groups. Using methods from
statistical physics, we have shown recently that the synaptic
connectivity of a network that maximizes storage capacity reproduces
two key experimentally observed features: low connection probability
and strong overrepresentation of bidirectionnally connected pairs of
neurons. We have also inferred `synaptic plasticity rules' (a
mathematical description of how synaptic strength depends on the
activity of pre and post-synaptic neurons) from data, and shown that
networks endowed with a plasticity rule inferred from data have a
storage capacity that is close to the optimal bound.


Current Appointments & Affiliations


Duke School of Medicine Distinguished Professor in Neuroscience · 2022 - Present Neurobiology, Basic Science Departments
Adjunct Professor of Neurobiology · 2024 - Present Neurobiology, Basic Science Departments
Professor of Physics · 2017 - Present Physics, Trinity College of Arts & Sciences
Faculty Network Member of the Duke Institute for Brain Sciences · 2018 - Present Duke Institute for Brain Sciences, University Institutes and Centers
Member of the Center for Cognitive Neuroscience · 2018 - Present Center for Cognitive Neuroscience, Duke Institute for Brain Sciences

Education, Training & Certifications


Pierre and Marie Curie University (France) · 1993 Ph.D.