Modelling Memory Circuits in Brain Health and Disease

Eligibility: Undergraduate students

The Fields Institute for Research in Mathematical Sciences
222 College Street 
Toronto, ON, M5T 3J1

The application deadline is on February 14th, 2022, at 9:00 AM EST. For more information and the application form please visit the website

Supervisor: Prof. Jérémie Lefebvre

Project Overview:
Myelinated nerve fibres, notably found in white matter, orchestrate brain communication between different brain regions. The conduction of action potentials along white matter is strongly influenced by myelin, a fatty substance wrapping around axonal membranes. Myelin allows action potentials to both transmit quickly and without attenuation. Most importantly, however, myelin influences axonal conduction delays, that is, the time it takes for action potentials to reach their destination. Tightly calibrated conduction delays are essential for neural communication and memory formation. Memory circuits of the hippocampus are a great example of the importance of myelin– especially in the the formation of certain types of oscillations important for memory encoding. Such oscillations can be impaired in diseases such as epilepsy, resulting in profoundly debilitating consequences on brain function. Mathematical and computational models of such circuits with varying levels of biophysical detail have been generated to understand the mechanisms of hippocampal theta rhythm. However, current approaches do not yet provide satisfactory mechanistic explanations. The goal of this project is to help a team of mathematicians and neuroscientists better understand how such circuits work, and how myelin and other features of these networks influence the formation of oscillatory activity required for memory formation.