Modeling Neural Development

Arjen van van Ooyen
Neuroscience, Cognition

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.