Research & Education

Introductory Workshop on Computational Methods in Neuroscience

University of Lethbridge, Canadian Centre for Behavioural Neuroscience (CCBN)

Next Workshop: June 2017 (dates TBC)


Workshop Description


Contemporary neurobiological experiments often generate complex data sets with many dependent variables collected continuously through time. Appropriate analysis tools are needed to uncover relationships among signals and allow for a better understanding of the underlying biological processes. This workshop aims to give students an introduction to the theory and practical application of computational methods for the analysis of neurobiological data. The workshop is composed of lectures, hands-on use of key analysis methods in a computer lab, and a course project. Several data sets will be provided for students' use. Instruction and exercises will use MATLAB, the most commonly used data analysis and visualization tool for quantitative sciences; however, no prior experience with this software is required. Each student will be asked to complete a project during the workshop. Students can choose to bring their own data for use in the projects or may use data provided by the instructors. The instructors and TAs will provide support at every phase of the project, including selecting an appropriate topic, deciding on analyses, programming, and visualization. Although the course will focus on signals from animal behaviour and electrophysiology, the methods taught in the course are applicable to many other types of signals encountered in neurobiological research. 


This ten-day workshop is comprised of lectures, hands-on use of key analysis methods in a computer lab, and a course project.


Online Workshop Extension

The in-person portion of the workshop will be followed by the online course extension (June 13-July 29), which will consist of a series of optional lectures and seminars and will provide additional guidance for students on their individual projects



General Topics

  • Introduction to MATLAB

  • Data visualization

  • Overview of analysis methods for neurobiological signals

  • Fundamental concepts in signal processing

  • Working with discrete data (action potentials, behavioural events, etc.)

  • Methods for working with multiple simultaneous signals (e.g. EEG signals)

  • Analysis of imaging data


Instructors (to be confirmed)
David Euston, Aaron Gruber, Artur Luczak, Majid Mohajerani, Masami Tatsuno, Bruce McNaughton (Director of the Polaris Brain Dynamics research group).

Bios of the CCBN faculty members can be found at:


2016 Guest Speakers:

  • Avery Berman, U of C
  • Jeremy Caplan, U of A
  • Clayton Dickson, U of A
  • Kelvin Jones, U of A
  • Bruce McNaughton, U of L 
  • Matt Tata, U of L 
  • Rebecca Williams, U of C



Eligibility Criteria:

  • Graduate level students (Masters or PhD) and Postdoctoral fellows registered full-time in a post-secondary institution working in neuroscience or a related discipline.

  • Undergraduate students registered full-time in a post-secondary institution working in neuroscience or a related discipline, involved in a research project and sponsored by an academic faculty member. 

  • No prior experience with any programming language is required. Students will learn to use the MATLAB computing environment.

    • Students can outline previous experience on the application. Previous experience will be taken into consideration during evaluation.

  • Students are expected to have familiarity with hypothesis testing and basic concepts of neuroscience (e.g. action potentials).


Registration Process:

Registration is limited to 25 students. Priority is given to graduate students who meet the eligibility criteria and are registered in a Campus Alberta Neuroscience partner institution  (University of Alberta, University of Calgary, University of Lethbridge).


Registration is now closed. Thank you to all the applicants and to the Alberta neuroscience community for your conitnued support of this unique educational initiative.


Please note that all application components - including the Online Application Form, applicant CV, and Letter of Supervisor Support - must have been received by the application deadline. Failure to receive all components of the application will result in your application being marked as 'incomplete' and will not be considered by the reviewers.



Registration fees will be covered or reimbursed for Alberta-based students who are:


  1. Registered full-time in an Campus Alberta Neuroscience partner institution (UofA, UofC, UofL), and
  2. Sponsored by a faculty member holding a full-time, continuing faculty appointment at a Campus Alberta Neuroscience partner institution and who is also a member of Campus Alberta Neuroscience (those who are not members can join the CANdex here)


Financial support for travel, some meals and accommodation will also be provided for eligible Alberta-based students. Only costs related to this workshop will be reimbursed and are at the discretion of the sponsors (Campus Alberta Neuroscience and the NSERC CREATE Biological Information Processing Program). 


Students from outside of Alberta and those from Alberta who are not registered full-time in a partnered institution will be required to cover all costs associated with the course, including tuition, travel, meals and accommodation.



The Computational Neuroscience Committee will review and rank all complete applications. *Applications will be evaluated on merit and on the following criteria:

  • Preference to graduate students working in neuroscience or related discipline
  • Preference to Alberta-based students studying at an albertaneuro partner institution (University of Alberta, Calgary or Lethbridge)
  • Quality of student's CV
  • Benefit to student's program of study/project
  • Contribution to Supervisor's program of neuroscience research


Notice of Decision

  • Applicants will be notified of the Committee's decision in writing by Campus Alberta Neuroscience
  • Students accepted into the workshop will be provided with a registration package in advance. The package will include additional details on the workshop content, course credit and fees, travel, meals and accommodation.



If you are interested in applying to this program and require further information, please contact Renee Dumas.


List of all 2015 Workshop participants can be found here




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