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Jülich - Tokyo / Okazaki

German - Japanese Collaboration in Computational Neuroscience

Neuronal network mechanisms of reinforcement learning
(funded by BMBF and JST)

The goal of this project is to understand the processes of reward learning in the cortico - basal ganglia loops on the single-cell and network level. To this end, neuronal network models will be developed based on known anatomic and physiological characteristics of the cortical-striatal circuit. In addition, model parameters will be specifically restricted by an accompanying program of experimental investigations. As the main result, we aim to describe the underlying dynamics of the development of dopaminergic activity response during stimulus / reward association tasks. It is expected that the results of this project will significantly contribute to the investigation of learning and decision-making processes in mammals. In addition, a broader understanding of the mechanisms of human learning is an advancement with great clinical relevance, because it is needed to better understand and treat dopamine-related diseases such as Parkinson's disease and Tourette's syndrome.

In the first half of the funding period, local circuit models will be developed that realize sub-functions of the entire system. In addition, anatomical and physiological experiments will be carried out to specify the models as accurately as possible. In the second half, the local models will be integrated into a global model of the cortico - basal ganglia loop.


The following scientists take part in this collaboration:

  • Prof. Abigail Morrison, Forschungszentrum Jülich
  • Dr. Kenji Morita, University of Tokyo, Japan
  • Dr. Mieko Morishima, National Institute for Physiological Sciences, Okazaki, Japan


German Coordinator:

Prof. Abigail Morrison

Institute of Neuroscience and Medicine (INM-6)      
Computational and Systems Neuroscience &
Institute for Advanced Simulation (IAS-6)
Theoretical Neuroscience
Research Center Jülich
52425 Jülich

Tel.: +49 2461 61-9473