Students in Centre for Theoretical Neuroscience computer labThe Centre for Theoretical Neuroscience at the University of Waterloo was officially approved by the University Senate in October, 2006. It currently consists of ten core and affiliate faculty, who span the departments of Biology, Applied Mathematics, Psychology, Engineering, Philosophy, Computer Science and Statistics. The Centre is currently expanding, running searches for additional core faculty. The distinguished faculty of the Centre include two Canada Research Chairs and a fellow of the Royal Society of Canada. In addition, the Centre has a number of student researchers, both graduate and undergraduate, and hosts postdocs and visiting researchers.

Research at the Centre spans the discipline of theoretical neuroscience (aka computational neuroscience). As such, faculty at the Centre pursue work on purely theoretical questions regarding the foundational principles guiding the function of neural systems, as well as constructing detailed neurobiological models of specific brain areas. The lab descriptions contain more detailed information on the research focus of each faculty member.

The Centre also hosts a graduate program for students wishing to obtain an officially recognized specialization in theoretical neuroscience.


Members of the Centre have access to a number of research-related resources:

  • The list of upcoming and recent past events provides information on the Centre's workshops, colloquia, etc.
  • Centre members have access to state-of-the-art computing facilities both locally and as part of Sharcnet, a world-class high performance computing (HPC) network that spans 16 leading research institutions in south central Ontario.
  • Experimental facilities used by faculty include functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), clinical neuropsychology, transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), event-related potential (ERP), kinematics, histology epidemiology, single cell physiology (whole cell patch clamp, single channel, sharp electrode, etc.), molecular biology (mutagenized ion channels, heterologous expression of channel subunits, molecular modelling, etc.), among others.
  • Dedicated research space and collaboration/conference area.

Centre for Theoretical Neuroscience Boardroom

Waterloo researchers among top in Canada

Chris Eliasmith writing on a whiteboardChris Eliasmith, Director of the Centre for Theoretical Neuroscience, received the prestigious John C. Polanyi Award  and is also an inaugural member of the Royal Society of Canada's College of New Scholars, Artists, and Scientists.

How to Build a Brain

Chris Eliasmith’s team at the Centre for Theoretical Neuroscience has built Spaun, the world’s largest simulation of a functioning brain. The related book is now available and for the full article Waterloo Stories.


This is a collection of coverage of work with Nengo (Neural Engineering Objects) that has appeared in the popular press recently.