Rafal Bogacz

Senior Research Fellow in Computational Neuroscience, DCN, NDCN

Research Interests

My research is in the area of computational neuroscience, which uses mathematical models to understand how computations in neural circuits give rise to human and animal behaviour. My work focuses on the computational models of brain circuits underlying action selection and decision making. These circuits include a set of subcortical nuclei known as the basal ganglia, which has been intensively studied because it is affected by Parkinson’s disease. Although many questions remain open, the anatomy and the neural activity in the basal ganglia has been characterized to the extent that allows formulating a formal mathematical theory describing how it selects actions in the healthy brain, and how the pathological patterns of activity observed in Parkinson’s disease are generated.

My research concerns models of basal ganglia in both health and disease. I investigate how the cortico-basal-ganglia-thalamic network selects actions on the basis of noisy sensory inputs, and whether this network can perform statistically optimal action selection. I also study in which part of this network and under what conditions, the excessive oscillations in activity are generated in Parkinson’s disease.