Centre for Discovery Brain Sciences
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Prof Matthew Nolan

We are interested in the mechanisms used within the brain to mediate cognitive processes and guide learned behaviours.

Professor Matthew Nolan

Professor of Neural Circuits and Computation

  • Hugh Robson Building
  • 15 George Square
  • Edinburgh EH8 9XD

Contact details

Personal profile

  • 2014 - present: Chair of Neural Circuits and Computation, University of Edinburgh
  • 2011 - 2014: Reader, University of Edinburgh
  • 2007 - 2010: Marie Curie Excellence Team Leader, University of Edinburgh
  • 2006 - 2011: Lecturer, University of Edinburgh
  • 1999 - 2006: Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Columbia University, New York, USA
  • 1997 - 1999: Postdoctoral Research fellow, University of Aberdeen
  • 1993 - 1997: PhD, University of Aberdeen

Research Theme

Neurons containing stochastic ion channels throughout their axonal and dendritic membranes


Dr Matthew Nolan's research briefing

We want to understand how cognitive functions of the brain emerge from its neural circuitry. Our main focus is on cellular and circuit mechanisms for spatial cognition and memory.

Approaches used in the lab include virtual reality based behavioural assays, in vivo and ex vivo electrophysiology and optogenetics, molecular and classical neuroanatomical methods, and computational modelling.

Neuronal activity


Ion channel signalling in dendrites


Team members



Chadwick A., van Rossum M.C.W., Nolan M.F. (2016) Flexible theta sequence compression mediated via phase precessing interneurons. eLife, 5:e20349. PMCID: 5245972.

Shipston-Sharma, O., Solanka L. & Nolan, M.F. (2016) Continuous attractor network models of grid cell firing based on excitatory-inhibitory interactions. Journal of Physiology, 594(22):6547-6557. PMCID: 5108899.

Sürmeli G., Marcu D-C., McClure C., Garden D.L.F., Pastoll H. & Nolan M.F. (2015) Molecularly defined circuitry reveals input-output segregation in deep layers of the medial entorhinal cortex. Neuron 88(5):1040-1053. PMCID: 4675718.

Solanka L., van Rossum M.C.W. & Nolan, M.F. (2015) Noise promotes independent control of gamma oscillations and grid firing within a recurrent attractor network. eLife 2015;4:e06444.

Chadwick A., van Rossum M.C.W., Nolan M.F. (2015) Independent Theta Phase Coding Accounts for CA1 Population Sequences and Enables Flexible Remapping. eLife 4:e03542. Doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.7554/eLife.03542. PMCID:4383210.

Ramsden H.L., Sürmeli G. ,McDonagh S.G. & Nolan M.F. (2015) Laminar and Dorsoventral Molecular Organization of the Medial Entorhinal Cortex Revealed by Large-Scale Anatomical Analysis of Gene Expression. PLoS Computational Biology 11(1): e1004032. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pcbi.1004032. PMCID: PMC4304787.

Gonzalez-Sulser A., Parthier D., Candela A., McClure C., Pastoll H., Garden G., Sürmeli G., and Nolan M.F.  (2014) GABAergic projections from the medial septum selectively inhibit interneurons in the medial entorhinal cortex. Journal of Neuroscience 34, 16739-16743. PMCID: PMC4261098.

Pastoll H., Solanka L., van Rossum M.C.W. & Nolan M.F. (2013). Feedback inhibition enables theta-nested gamma oscillations and grid firing fields. Neuron 77, 141-154. PMID:23312522

O’Donnell, C. and Nolan, M.F. (2011). Tuning of synaptic integration: an organizing principle for optimization of neural circuits. Trends in Neurosciences 34, 51-60. DOI: 10.1016/j.tins.2010.10.003. PMID:21067825.

Garden, D.L.F.*, Dodson , P.D.*, O’Donnell, C., White, M.D.  & Nolan,  M.F. (2008). Tuning of Synaptic Integration in the Medial Entorhinal Cortex to the Organization of Grid Cell Firing Fields. Neuron 60, 875-889. PMID:19081381.

Matthew Nolan publication list (PDF)


Research in a Nutshell: Neuronal computation

Information for students:

Willingness to discuss research projects with undergraduate and postgraduate students: YES - please click here