Henry Kerr



College: College of Engineering, Mathematics and Physical Sciences
Research Centre/Unit: Living Systems Institute

I am a PhD student within the Living Systems Institute.  My educational background is in mathematics, and my supervisors are Dr Kyle Wedgwood and Prof Peter Ashwin.

My research is focused on using mathematical modelling to research patterns and travelling waves in networks of spiking neurons in 1D and 2D.  This involves developing tools for modelling individual neurons en masse, and interpreting and analysing the dynamics of phenomena we observe in the model while comparing to biological results.

I am currently working with GPU-parallelised neuron models based on the leaky integrate-and-fire model, and trying to understand the development of travelling waves and their relation to static or semi-static bumps.

My primary biological inspirations are currently the responses of the visual cortex and the regular patterns produced by the grid cells that are involved in giving us a sense of our location.  However, certain aspects of the models and tools can be generalised or adapted to other neural or non-neural systems of excitable cells.

Other Interests

I am also interested in how certain optical illusions or hallucinations may potentially be explained by the simple dynamics of the visual cortex, particularly in cases where the underlying mechanisms may be similar to my primary research area.

My Master's dissertation focused on the dynamics of small 2- or 3-neuron connection patterns, and the potential impact they may have on larger networks.  While I can't say whether they really do impact wide-scale behaviours very much, it gave me an appreciation for how the emergent behaviours of small structures can act to discriminate between different thresholds of input.