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Sainsbury Wellcome Centre

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The Sainsbury Wellcome Centre for Neural Circuits and Behaviour brings together experimental and theoretical neuroscientists in the heart of London.

Our Vision

Understanding the brain is a formidable scientific challenge of our era. New technologies are generating a wealth of data about synapses, neuronal cell types and the complex circuits they form at an unprecedented pace. Yet there is very little understanding about how these neural elements combine to generate the activity patterns that underlie perception, cognition and behaviour.

A crucial next step is to integrate emerging knowledge into coherent theories that explain how neural circuits generate behaviour. These theories must be biologically plausible, experimentally testable and unify research across multiple levels of analysis, and must therefore be generated through close interactions between experimentalists and theorists.

The SWC brings together outstanding experimental neuroscientists who work closely with theorists at the Gatsby Computational Neuroscience Unit (GCNU) to generate and test conceptual frameworks that explain how neural circuits give rise to the fundamental processes underpinning adaptive, flexible behaviour, including perception, memory, expectation, cognition, decisions and action.

We are creating an environment with exceptional infrastructure and facilities that deliver new technologies, facilitate discovery and foster scientific interactions, supported by excellent administrators and technical staff.

The SWC is rapidly becoming an international hub for dialogue and collaboration between neuroscientists from within UCL and beyond. Through our international PhD programme the SWC provides training in both experimental and computational techniques, equipping the next generation of neuroscientists with the knowledge and tools to tackle the big questions in neuroscience. 

Through our Public Engagement Network, we engage the public, disseminate discoveries and contribute to a smarter society.

The overarching aspiration is to understand the biology of intelligence, by uncovering the neural algorithms supporting adaptive behaviour.

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