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Hardcover | Out of Print | ISBN: 9780262220668 | 336 pp. | 8 x 9 in | 96 illus.| August 2003

Modeling Neural Development

Edited by Arjen van Ooyen


This original and timely collection is one of the first books to study neural development using computational and mathematical modeling. Modeling provides precise and exact ways of expression, which allow us to go beyond the insights that intuitive or commonsense reasoning alone can yield. Most neural modeling focuses on information processing in the adult nervous system; Modeling Neural Development shows how models can be used to study the development of the nervous system at different levels of organization and at different phases of development, from molecule to system and from neurulation to cognition. The formal models described can give structure and meaning to complex phenomena and data, create and explore new hypotheses, and guide further research.

The book's fourteen chapters follow loosely the chronology of neural development. Chapters 1 and 2 study the very early development of the nervous system, discussing gene networks, cell differentiation, and neural tube development. Chapters 3-5 examine neuronal morphogenesis and neurite outgrowth. Chapters 6-8 study different aspects of the self-organization of neurons into networks. Chapters 9-12 cover refinement of connectivity and the development of specific connectivity patterns. Chapters 13 and 14 focus on some of the functional implications of morphology and development.

The science of studying neural development by computational and mathematical modeling is relatively new; this book, as Dale Purves writes in the foreword, "serves as an important progress report" in the effort to understand the complexities of neural development.

About the Editor

Arjen van Ooyen is a researcher at the Netherlands Institute for Brain Research.


"Brain development and function are inseparable facets of a whole, whose understanding requires both theoretical and modeling approaches. This insightful and approachable book provides the most comprehensive view to date of the modeling of neuronal development, from the molecular level to system and cognitive levels."
—Idan Segev, David & Inez Myers Chair and Head, Interdisciplinary Center for Computational Neuroscience, Hebrew University, Jerusalem
"Developmental neuroscience is turning a corner, and this book is helping to usher in a new, quantitative era. With chapters that approach the subject from diverse viewpoints, this book is essential reading for practitioners in the field."
—Rafael Yuste, Department of Biological Sciences, Columbia University
"The more we learn about the brain, the more we are coming to realize that understanding its development will be a key to unlocking its functions, especially its ability to adapt to new environments. The wide range of levels of development that can be studied, from the molecular to the cognitive, are described in this book by some of the leading researchers in this growing field of computational neural development."
—Terrence J. Sejnowski, Howard Hughes Medical Institute at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies, and University of California, San Diego