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Dr Cian O'Donnell


My research uses computational and mathematical modelling to understand how the brain works. I focus on synaptic plasticity (the basis for learning and memory) and the dynamics of neural circuits. Most existing theoretical accounts of brain function ignore molecular neurobiology completety: my aim is to reverse this trend by discovering the computational function of these molecular mechanisms for learning. I'm also interested in applying ideas from theoretical neuroscience to help understand brain disorders such as Autism, Schizophrenia and Depression.

I did my undergraduate in Applied Physics at Dublin City University before switching fields to computational neuroscience for postgrad. This took me to Edinburgh, where I did and MSc and PhD in computational neuroscience in the School of Informatics. I then spent three years doing postdoctoral research at the Salk Institute in sunny San Diego, California, and have returned to the UK to take up a Lectureship in Computer Science at Bristol.