Systems Neuroscience is an approach to brain sciences that seeks the basic principles of brain organization, dynamics and function across a hierarchy of spatial and temporal scales. It is a rapidly growing field that differs considerably from the traditional reductionist paradigm in neuroscience that addresses sufficient causes for local phenomena.

The work of our group embodies these principles across three broad domains -empirical, computational and clinical neuroscience. The overarching aim of this work is to contribute towards unifying models of brain architecture, dynamics and cognitive (dys)function.

Beneath such lofty goals, are a bunch of often gruelling, specific and highly technical details to which we are also happy to devote time and endless cups of coffee.

We are funded by the National Health and Medical Research Council (a Program Grant and a Dementia Research Team Grant) and a clinical collaborative award from QIMR Berghofer.


We are at Hunter Medical Research Institute, University of Newcastle.


  • Dynamic models of large-scale brain activity Movement, cognition and perception arise from the collective activity of neurons within cortical circuits and across large-scale systems of the brain. While the causes of single neuron spikes have ...
    Posted Mar 24, 2017, 6:19 PM by Michael Breakspear
  • Muscle networks: Connectivity analysis of EMG activity during postural control Do we control our muscles individually? In this paper we use network analysis of surface EMG to investigate how muscles are coordinated by the central nervous system: http://www.nature ...
    Posted Dec 4, 2015, 2:25 AM by Tjeerd B
  • Network dysfunction of emotional and cognitive processes in those at genetic risk of bipolar disorder. The emotional and cognitive vulnerabilities that precede the development of bipolar disorder are poorly understood. Using Dynamic Causal Modelling to analyse fMRI data, we suggest dysfunction in the processes that ...
    Posted Oct 16, 2015, 1:01 AM by Michael Breakspear
  • The heavy tail of the human brain Fluctuating oscillations are a ubiquitous feature of neurophysiology. Are the amplitude fluctuations of neural oscillations chance excursions drawn randomly from a normal distribution, or do they tell us more? 
    Posted Sep 5, 2015, 1:00 AM by Michael Breakspear
  • The connectomics of brain disorders. We consider how brain-network topology shapes neural responses to damage, highlighting key maladaptive processes (such as diaschisis, transneuronal degeneration and dedifferentiation), and the resources (including degeneracy and reserve) and ...
    Posted Aug 10, 2015, 4:48 PM by Michael Breakspear
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