Computational Neuroscience and Biomedical Engineering

We use computational modelling and analysis to understand how neural systems work and to design engineering solutions for biomedical problems that involve abnormal or lacking neural control.

Neural systems control the behaviour of animals and provide the ability for adaptive behaviour. Understanding and modelling how neural systems work and how they control behaviour is a major scientific challenge. Over a billion pound funding has been recently committed by the governments of the US, EU and Japan to support fundamental neuroscience and computational modelling of neural systems.

One of the Schools Robots Our work covers several strands of research in this area. We aim to build physiologically realistic models of small neural systems to understand how the functionality of these systems emerges through interactions of neurons in response to synaptic inputs and neuromodulation from higher neural centres. We work on the building of biologically inspired models of neural systems that can control virtual or real muscles and deliver physiologically meaningful behaviours through these actuators. We also work on developing biologically inspired controllers for robots, on tracing and modelling growth of neurons and biological tissues, and on the analysis of bio-imaging data.

We generate some of the data in our neuroscience and physiology labs and we also collaborate with other wet-lab groups who provide us data.

Our research has a huge potential for impact in biomedical context and also in terms of innovative bio-inspired solutions to practical engineering problems. For example, our work may lead to novel bio-inspired controllers and sensors for artificial limbs that connect to nerves and muscles to deliver sensation and to allow direct neuro-muscular control. Our work on small biological neural systems may pave the way towards novel neuro-implants that can restore the functionality of diseased or damaged internal organs. 

Research Lead

Members

  • Designing and validating novel voltage sensitive dyes for neuroscience research, Leverhulme Trust 2015-17, GBP 178K - Professor Peter Andras (PI, Keele University), Professor Andrew Benniston (CI, Newcastle University).
  • Restoration of normal activity in damaged neural systems using multi-electrode arrays and FPGA neurons, EPSRC (eFuturesXD), 2013-2014, GBP 60k – Professor Peter Andras (PI, Newcastle University).
  • Development of novel voltage-sensitive dyes for neuroimaging, EPSRC (IAA), 2012-2013, GBP 30k – Professor Peter Andras (PI, Newcastle University).
  • Grid-enabled neuroscience, MRC, 2002-2006, GBP 168k – Professor Peter Andras (PI; Newcastle University).
  • Simulation of shoulder and upper limb musculoskeletal dynamics, collaboration with Case Western Reserve University, NIH funded – Dr Ed Chadwick (Keele PI), Dr Dimitra Blana (Co-I).
  • Real-time human hand model for prosthesis control, collaboration with Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago, NIH funded – Dr Ed Chadwick (Keele PI), Dr Dimitra Blana (Co-I).

Current

  • Katy Dempsey (supervisors: Dr KP Lam, Mr Dave Collins)
  • George Joseph (supervisors: Dr Theocharis Kyriacou, XXXX)
  • Filipa dos Santos (supervisors: Professor Peter Andras, Dr Charles Day)
  • Shaima Jabbar (supervisors: Dr Ed Chadwick, Dr Charles Day)

Past

  • Dr Jannetta Steyn (supervisor: Professor Peter Andras; Newcastle University 2015)
  • David Fourie – MPhil (supervisor: Professor Peter Andras; Newcastle University, 2008)
  • Dr Wolfgang Stein (Illinois State University)
  • Professor Andrew Benniston (Newcastle University)
  • Professor George Kemenes (University of Sussex)
  • Dr Ildiko Kemenes (University of Sussex)
  • Professor Robert Kozma (Memphis University)
  • Professor Peter Erdi (Kalamazzoo College)
  • Professor Alan Roberts (University of Bristol)
  • Professor Allen Selverston (University of California at San Diego)
  • Professor Thomas Nowotny (University of Sussex)
  • Professor Alex Yakovlev (Newcastle University)
  • Dr Patrick Degenaar (Newcastle University)
  • Dr Terrence Mak (The Chinese University of Hong Kong)
  • Dr Carmen Wellman (University of Cologne)
  • Professor Sylvie Renaud (University of Bordeaux)
  • Dr Andras Lõrincz (Eötvös Lóránd University – Budapest)
  • Professor Robert Kirsch (Case Western Reserve University, USA)
  • Professor Ton van den Bogert (Cleveland State University, USA)
  • Dr Wendy Murray (Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago, USA)