Complex Systems in Neuroscience: Bridging Theory and Experiment

March 8-10, 2018, Pittsburgh


Living neural networks are some of the best-known examples of complex systems. They are composed of diverse populations of interacting neurons that behave in highly nontrivial ways. Brain networks, for instance, are constantly active, even while we are fast asleep. This situation gives rise to complex network topologies and nonlinear dynamics, including emergent phenomena, such as oscillations, synchronization, etc. Parallel investigations in numerous scientific disciplines seek to explain how these properties translate to brain function and behavior. A concerted effort could help us understand psychological and neurological disorders, as well as address some key questions, for example: How does the brain process and store information? How do neural networks develop to be robust, yet flexible and adaptive? Under what conditions does the brain operate optimally? In this three-day conference, we aim to bring together interdisciplinary communities of scientists to create a common platform for discussion. Just as our brains rely on the efficient communication between heterogeneous populations of cells, our understanding of these systems relies on an intense collaborative effort between experimentalists and theorists within and across disciplines.

Pittsburgh is an ideal environment for this effort. It is home to two of the nation’s renowned R1 institutions: Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Pittsburgh. The Complex Systems in Neuroscience conference will involve a series of invited lectures by world-renowned theorists and experimentalists, as well as shorter presentations by more-junior researchers designed to encourage interaction and discussion. Attendance is free and open to all, however, all attendees are required to register for the event.



  • Hannah Bos
  • James Hengenius
  • Chengcheng Huang
  • Ryan Phillips
  • Yury Sokolov
  • Rashid Williams-García
  • Dan Wilson