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Systems and Behavioural Neuroscience

 
 
The question of how the brain works is one of the great mysteries of science and a major focus of the Systems and Behavioural Neurosciences. Perception, cognition, learning, memory, reasoning, emotion, and all other aspects of psychological functioning depend on communication that occurs among the brain's neurons. Behavioural Neuroscientists study behaviour and its functional correlates in the brain with the goal of understanding the neural bases of psychological and behavioural responses. At McMaster University, systems and behavioural neuroscientists study behavioural mechanisms using techniques ranging from recording of activity in single neurons to imaging activity in the human brain.

For Graduate Students

The Systems and Behavioural Neuroscience group includes 15 laboratories, creating opportunities for integrated, multidisciplanary research in the areas of Attention, Development, Learning & Memory, Neural Plasticity, and the Neural Basis of Perception and Cognition.

We have a tradition of collegiality and collaboration that makes this a strong training environment. Our laboratories include state-of-the-art facilities for studies at all levels of neuroscience including: cellular/molecular, brain imaging, electrophysiology, computational modeling, psychophysics, optical imaging, ERP, and behavoural studies.

There are opportunities for students to hear and present research throughout the year. Browse through the Web pages of our systems and behavioural neuroscience faculty to learn more about the research laboratories, and visit our graduate web page for details on applying to our graduate programme.


For Undergraduate Students

The question of how the brain works is one of the great mysteries of science and a major focus of the Systems and Behavioural Neurosciences. Sensation, perception, learning, memory, reasoning, emotion, and all other aspects of brain functioning depend on cellular communication within the nervous system. Behavioural neuroscientists study behaviour and its physiological correlates in the brain with the goal of understanding the neural mechanisms underlying behaviour. At McMaster University, systems and behavioural neuroscientists study behavioural mechanisms using techniques ranging from recording of activity in single neurons to imaging activity in the human brain. Our laboratories include state-of-the-art facilities for studies at all levels of neuroscience including: cellular/molecular, brain imaging, electrophysiology, computational modeling, psychophysics, optical imaging, ERP, and behavoural studies.

The Department offers a variety of courses that are relevant to the study of Systems and Behavioural Neuroscience, including Introduction to Neuroscience (2F03), Sensory Processes (2E03), Neuropsychology (2D03), and Animal Behaviour (2TT3), which provide a solid foundation from which students can branch into more specialized coursework in their later years. Students may then study topics in Audition (Psych 3A03), Cognitive Neuroscience (3BN3, 4BN3), Neurobiology of Learning and Memory (3FA3), Visual Neuroscience (3J03), Hormones, Neurochemistry and Behaviour (4Y03), Special Topics in Neuroscience (4F03), and Neurobiology (BIOLOGY 4T03). Valuable laboratory experience is available from several relevant lab courses (3EE3, 3L03, 3MM3). Students interested in pursuing post-graduate studies should take one of the thesis courses (4D09, 4D06, 4DD6), which allows a full year of experience in the laboratory of one of our faculty members. It is also recommended that student have some physics and chemistry. Students who have studied in this area will be well prepared for careers in areas related to biomedical sciences and neuroscience.

Systems and Behavioural Neuroscience Faculty
Sue Becker - Computational models of learning, memory, and perception. 
Patrick Bennett - Visual perception, psychophysics, perceptual learning & development, aging & vision, ideal observer theory.
Denys deCatanzaro - Behaviour and neuroendocrine interactions in stress and pregnancy.  decatanz@mcmaster.ca
Paul Faure - animal communication; audition; biological sonar; bioacoustics; echolocation; evolutionary neurobiology; hearing; neural mechanisms of acoustically-evoked behavior; neuroethology; psychoacoustics; sensory ecology; sensory systems. paul4@mcmaster.ca
Deda Gillespie - sensory neuroscience, systems neuroscience, activity-dependent plasticity, synaptic plasticity, synaptic inhibition, auditory development, sound localization.
Dan Goldreich - Tactile perception and psychophysics, Tactile perceptual consquences of cortical plasticity following sensory deprivation' Tactile perception as Bayesian inference.
David Jones - Computational models of biological vision systems, optical imaging of brain function.  djones@insight.mcmaster.ca 
Daphne Maurer - Development of vision in normal infants and infants born with cataracts.  maurer@mcmaster.ca 
Bruce Milliken attention and visual perception. millike@mcmaster.ca
Kathryn Murphy - Neural development and plasticity, visual neuroscience, optical imaging of brain function. kmurphy@vision.mcmaster.ca
Larry Roberts - Cortical map plasticity and associative learning in humans.  roberts@mcmaster.ca 
Judith M. Shedden - MRI and ERP studies of the processes involved in spatial attention.  shedden@mcmaster.ca 
David I. Shore - Crossmodal temporal processing, memory and visual search, varieties and effects of attention. dshore@mcmaster.ca
Allison Sekuler - Cognition neuroscience, visual perception, perceptual organization, face and object recognition, motion perception, aging and vision, neuroimaging. sekuler@mcmaster.ca
Louis Schmidt - Neural basis of human emotion, developmental psychophysiology, social emotional development in children. schmidtl@mcmaster.ca
Hongjin Sun - Visual neuroscience, visual motion processing and visuomotor control, virtual reality.  sunhong@mcmaster.ca
Laurel Trainor - Auditory development, ERP measures of auditory cognition in normal and low birth-weight infants as predictors of language development.  ljt@.mcmaster.ca
Scott Watter - Divided attention and executive control.

 

 
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