Alexander van Meegen


I am a Swartz postdoctoral fellow at the Center for Brain Science at Harvard University working with Haim Sompolinsky.

During my PhD in computational neuroscience in the Theoretical Neuroanatomy Group at INM-6, Research Centre Jülich I worked with Moritz Helias and Sacha van Albada. My PhD research focused on the link between the single-neuron level and the collective dynamics of neural networks. I approached this problem along different lines of attack: I developed and employed methods from statistical physics to gain analytical insights into the dynamics and I constructed and simulated biologically constrained, large-scale models of cortical networks.

Conceptually, I aim to keep a tight balance between the overwhelming neurobiological complexity and the simplifications that are inherent in modeling. In particular, I try to neither create a “map of the empire that […] coincides with it point for point” (Abbott, 2008) nor examine oversimplified systems that neglect all of the relevant complexity. From a broader perspective, I hope to contribute to a shift in Neuroscience from a strongly Galisonian (method driven) culture towards a more Kuhnian (theory driven) approach (Dyson, 2012).