Bob Merrison-Hort

Lecturer (Embedded Systems) / Postdoctoral Research Fellow (Borisyuk Lab), Computational Neuroscience

Google Scholar Profile | ORCID 0000-0001-8215-7527
Office: Room A221, Portland Square, Plymouth University, PL4 8AA, UK
Email: Phone: +44 (0) 1752 586307

Research Interests

We collaborate with Alan Roberts' lab at the University of Bristol and Wen-chang Li's lab at the University of St Andrews to build computational models of the nervous system of Xenopus tadpoles. Our aim is to use such models to investigate how the nervous system produces different behaviours, such as swimming and struggling, and how multiple sensory inputs are combined in order to control behaviour. Working closely with neurobiologists has allowed us to create detailed and biologically realistic large-scale computational models of the tadpole spinal cord that accurately reproduce swimming behaviour. Our current work focuses on improving these detailed models, as well as using reduced models to investigate the theoretical mathematical principles behind pattern and behaviour generating neuronal circuits.

During my PhD I studied computational models of the basal ganglia in health and in Parkinson's Disease. I continue to be interested in this subject, and am currently working on investigating ways of modelling the effects of deep brain stimulation on the basal ganglia.

I am also interested in the use of graphical processing units (GPU) to speed up scientific computation. My software, Fireflies, uses the GPU to produce exciting interactive visualisations of dynamical systems. There are some videos of it in action here, or see the paper below.







Other Stuff

I develop the software part of the FireByWire system for designing and launching musical firework displays. There's a video of one of our shows here! Wireless mesh networks and robotics are cool and so a long-term project of mine is building an autonomous model train system. Unfortunately space is a limiting factor so progress is slow...