Tilo Schwalger

Assistant Professor in Computational Neuroscience and Data Assimilation.

Technische Universität Berlin

Institut fĂĽr Mathematik

Sekretariat MA 7-2

StraĂźe des 17. Juni 136

10623 Berlin

+49 - (0)30 - 314-22698

In my research, I want to gain a theoretical understanding of how sensations, thoughts and actions emerge from the complex interactions of millions of nerve cells in the brain. Towards that goal, I develop new theoretical methods to bridge different scales in the brain, from the microscopic level of spiking neurons to the mesoscopic level of neuronal populations all the way to the macroscopic level of large-scale brain activity. For this multiscale approach, I use mathematical tools from statistical physics, stochastic processes and nonlinear dynamics, such as mean-field theory, coarse-graining and dimensionality reduction techniques. Our theoretical framework will enable us to better understand neural variability in cortical circuits in terms of their biophysical mechanisms and their functional role for information processing.

Research topics include:

  • mean-field theories for finite-size systems of spiking neurons
  • dimensionality-reduction methods for neural population dynamics
  • stochastic neural field equations
  • coarse-graining of networks of interacting point processes
  • neural dynamics with colored noise


Apr 20, 2022 I am organizing a minisymposium on “Metastable dynamics in neural circuits” at the 8th International Conference on Mathematical Neuroscience (ICMNS 2022). The conference will take place online from July 6th to 8th, 2022, between 14:00 and 18:00 (GMT+2).
Apr 5, 2022 New article on a mesoscopic bottom-up model for hippocampal replay and metastability. See our new arXiv preprint!
Dec 31, 2021 New article on the retrieval of correlated memories
Oct 31, 2021 New article on how to map integrate-and-fire neurons with colored input noise to an integrate-and-fire model with escape noise ("output noise")
Dec 10, 2019 Invited talk at conference NeuroFrontiers’2020 – Simulating Brain Circuits, to be held June 15-17, 2020 at the SEU-Allen Joint Center in Nanjing, China.

selected publications

  1. When shared concept cells support associations: Theory of overlapping memory engrams
    Gastaldi, C., Schwalger, T., De Falco, E., Quiroga, R. Q., and Gerstner, W.
    PLOS Comput. Biol. Dec 2021
  2. Low-dimensional firing-rate dynamics for populations of renewal-type spiking neurons
    Pietras, B., Gallice, N., and Schwalger, T.
    Phys. Rev. E Dec 2020
  3. Towards a theory of cortical columns: From spiking neurons to interacting neural populations of finite size
    Schwalger, T., Deger, M., and Gerstner, W.
    PLoS Comput. Biol. Dec 2017