Nicholas V. Swindale

Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences

Phone: 604 875-5379

Web pages:
Lab webpage



  • M.A. (Cantab)
  • D.Phil. (Sussex, UK)


  • Computational and visual neuroscience
  • Theoretical neuroscience
  • Visual cortex

Research Interests

I am interested in vision, and the development and organization of the primary visual cortex. This includes studying how the genes and environment interact in early post-natal development, how cellular mechanisms contribute to perceptual processing, and how disorders such as amblyopia and glaucoma may affect visual function. I use computer models to simulate developmental mechanisms, cats as experimental models for visual processing, and humans as subjects for psychophysical research. Present and past research projects include the following:

  • Application of neural net models to the formation of computational maps of ocular dominance and orientation columns in the visual cortex
  • Analysis of columnar organization in the cat visual cortex using optical recording of stimulus evoked neural activity
  • Multi-electrode recording methods for the comparison of receptive field properties in simultaneously recorded clusters of neurons
  • Quantitative analysis and modeling of spatial summation in simple and complex cell receptive fields in cat visual cortex
  • Physiological and psychophysical studies of the mechanisms of vernier hyperacuity
  • The development of clinically diagnostic psychophysical tests of visual function in glaucoma
  • Early detection of glaucoma using mathematical modelling of optic nerve head shape and neural network methods for classifying images as normal or glaucomatous.

For more information please visit the lab website.

Selected Publications

Godfrey KB, Eglen SJ, Swindale NV (2009) A multi-component model of the developing retinocollicular pathway incorporating axonal and synaptic growthPLoS Comput Biol 5(12):e1000600.

Spacek MA, Swindale NV (2009) Python in neuroscience.Neuromorphic Engineer 10.2417/1200907.1682.

Spacek MA, Blanche TJ, Swindale NV (2009) Python for large-scale electrophysiologyFront Neuroinform 2:9.

Swindale NV (2008) Feedback decoding of spatially structured population activity in cortical mapsNeural Computation 20:176-204.

Godfrey KB, Swindale NV (2007) Retinal wave behavior through activity-dependent refractory periodsPLoS Comput Biol 3(11):e245.

Swindale NV (2007) Visual cortex: more wiggle room for the brain.Current Biology 17(24):R1055-7.

Swindale NV (2007) A model for the thick, thin and pale stripe organization of primate V2Network 18(4):327-42.

Spacek MA, Blanche TJ, Seamans JK, Swindale NV (2007) Accounting for network states in cortex: are (local) pairwise correlations sufficient? Soc Neurosci Abstr 33:790.1.

Godfrey KB, Swindale NV (2007) Spiking model for retinotopic organization and eye-specific segregationSoc Neurosci Abstr33:36.4.

Swindale NV (2006) Cerebral Cortex: The Singular Precision of Visual Cortex MapsCurrent Biology 16(23):991-994.

Blanche TJ, Swindale NV (2006) Nyquist interpolation improves neuron yield in multiunit recordingsJournal of Neuroscience Methods155(1):81-91.

Blanche TJ, Spacek MA, Hetke JF, Swindale NV (2005) Polytrodes: High Density Silicon Electrode Arrays for Large Scale Multiunit RecordingJournal of Neurophysiology 93:2987-3000.



Courses taught

NRSC 501 - Systems Neuroscience

MECH550 - Introduction to Computational Neuroscience