NIH BRAIN Initiative Summer Course

Interdisciplinary Research Training in Computational Neuroscience

For PhD students, post-docs, medical students, residents and faculty

A longstanding goal of neuroscience research is to understand how activity of individual neurons and within neural circuits gives rise to outputs ranging from movement to thought. Integrative and interdisciplinary training in neuroscience is necessary to help develop scientists who can work together to address this goal by using approaches from diverse fields including biology, psychology, computer science, electrical engineering, and physics. Our training course is designed to introduce and strengthen the quantitative skills of researchers with biological backgrounds and increase the knowledge of neuroscience concepts for those from quantitative backgrounds. No previous experience with modeling is expected.

Summer Course Components

Math refresher; Neurons and Circuits – including wet lab experiments; Modeling projects at 1- 2-cell and network levels using NEURON programs; Model development from basics using NEURON; and Neuro-electrophysiology from an engineering systems perspective.

Past attendees have been from universities across the nation, including UC-Berkeley, UCLA, Brown, Florida, Georgia Tech, Emory, UMass, MIT, MGH, Maryland, Michigan, NYU, Penn, Rochester, Rutgers, UCSF, Stanford, Tulane, Washington, and more.

Who’s Eligible?

  • Pre- and Post-docs from biology, psychology, computer science, electrical engineering, bioengineering, physics, math, etc.

  • Medical students and residents with interest in research

  • Faculty from any of the disciplines above

  • Limited to U.S. citizens and permanent residents (exceptions can be made if the applicant is from a U.S. institution and is presently supported by NIH funds; Evidence needs to be provided by the PI of the applicant’s Lab)

What will you get?

  • Neurobiology concepts from an advanced perspective. Also, free virtual labs (software experiments) that can be run on your own laptops/desktops – Nernst & Rest potential, Action potential, Bursting, Synaptic transmission, Central pattern generator, Simple networks

  • Basics of wet-lab experiments including intracellular recordings

  • Understanding electrophysiology expts. and limitations; also translating biological data into model parameters

  • Computational modeling using Hodgkin-Huxley formulation – single cell and network levels

  • Ability to use NEURON as a tool for research

  • Appreciation of systems and quantitative thinking in neuroscience

  • Contacts and comradeship with like-minded scientists and educators in the region

  • Year-round follow-up from Mizzou via phone and webinars to help you with your independent computational modeling project.

To Apply

Click here to apply for the Summer Course. Please be sure to have prepared:

  • Research statement in any format you prefer. It is important to include specifics of how the Summer Course will benefit you presently and in the future. For instance, you can briefly discuss the brain region or phenomenon you may model, and how that might be useful for your research.

  • Curriculum vitae

  • Pre- and post-docs, medical students, and residents should also have one reference letter sent to The letter should specify how the course will impact on-going or planned research of the trainee.

Location and Accommodations

The two-week Summer Course (limited to 24 participants) will be conducted on the University of Missouri campus. Participants will stay in MU residence halls, which have single and double occupancy rooms. If you desire to stay off campus, we can reimburse you only at the dorm rate for lodging and a per diem rate for meals. You will be responsible for finding your own accommodation in that case. A list of Columbia-area hotels may be found at


NIH will pay for all expenses including travel, accommodation at an MU residence hall and meals in residence hall dining facilities. If participants opt to stay off campus, they are responsible for all arrangements associated with lodging, and we will provide reimbursement at the dorm lodging and dining rates.