Understanding neural circuit development through theory and models

Leonidas MA Richter, Julijana Gjorgjieva

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


How are neural circuits organized and tuned to achieve stable function and produce robust behavior? The organization process begins early in development and involves a diversity of mechanisms unique to this period. We summarize recent progress in theoretical neuroscience that has substantially contributed to our understanding of development at the single neuron, synaptic and network level. We go beyond classical models of topographic map formation, and focus on the generation of complex spatiotemporal activity patterns, their role in refinements of particular circuit features, and the emergence of functional computations. Aided by the development of novel quantitative methods for data analysis, theory and computational models have enabled us to test the adequacy of specific assumptions, explain experimental data and propose testable hypotheses. With the accumulation of experimental data, theory and models will likely play an even more important role in understanding the development of neural circuits.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)39-47
Number of pages9
JournalCurrent Opinion in Neurobiology
StatePublished - Oct 2017


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