The Swartz Inititative

The Swartz Foundation has sponsored an Initiative that will foster collaborative research and inter-disciplinary training in Computational and Systems Neuroscience at Yale. This initiative was founded and directed by Xiao-Jing Wang from 2006 - 2012. 

Recent years have seen great strides in our understanding of sensory processing and plasticity at the cellular and molecular levels. A major challenge today is to firmly establish general principles as well as detailed neural mechanisms of basic cognitive functions. Our work aims at making progress in this direction, with a focus on the network properties of the neocortex. 

Theory, computational modeling, and system neuroscience play a critical role in this enterprise, especially in studies of strongly recurrent cortical circuits which we believe hold the key to understanding the chain of causal links from molecules to complex and flexible behaviors. Topics of active research represented in this Program include self-sustained neural activity patterns and working memory, decision making, reinforcement learning, timing, variability and synchrony of neural activity, visual attention in naturalistic environment.