Present Status

I am Professor of Computational Neuroscience & Neural Engineering in the department of Computer Science, Faculty of Engineering, University of Sheffield. I am the Head of the Machine Learning group and I currently serve as Departmental Director of Research & Innovation.


Research Focus

As a Computational Scientist and Engineer with extensive cross disciplinary experience, I contribute to understanding brain learning principles. My team and I take inspiration from these principles to design novel, machine learning techniques, and in particular reinforcement learning methods.  We develop data analytics frameworks for neuroscientists, and we also work closely with engineers from other disciplines to design hardware that computes in a brain-like manner. 


Selected Publications

Cope A., Vasilaki E., Minors, D., Sabo C., Marshall J.A.R. and Barron A.B., (2018) Abstract concept learning in a simple neural network inspired by the insect brain. PLOS Computational Biology, doi.org/10.1371/journal.pcbi.1006435.

Berdan, R., Vasilaki, E. , Wei, S. L., Khiat, A., Indiveri, G., Serb, A., and Prodromakis, T. (2016), Emulating short-term synaptic dynamics with memristive devices. Scientific Reports, Nature Publishing Group, 6, 18639; doi:10.1038/srep18639.

Vasilaki, E. & Gugliano, M. (2014),  Emergence of Connectivity Motifs in Networks of Model Neurons with Short- and Long-term Plastic Synapses, PLoS ONE, 9(1): e84626. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0084626.

Clopath, C., Buesing, L., Vasilaki, E., and Gerstner, W. (2010), Connectivity reflects Coding: A Model of Voltage-based Spike-Timing-Dependant-Plasticity with Homeostasis. Nature Neuroscience, doi: 10.1038/nn.2479.

Vasilaki, E., Fremaux, N.,Urbanczik, R., Senn, W, and Gerstner, W. (2009), Spike-based reinforcement learning in continuous State and Action Space: when policy gradient methods fail. PLOS Computational Biology, Vol.5(12):e1000586 doi:10.1371/journal.pcbi.1000586.


Current Grants

Wellcome Trust, ‘The cortical representation of low-probability stimuli and its neuromorphic implementation’, Fellow Dr Vanattou-Saïfoudine, collaboration with the institute for NeuroInformatics ETHZ/University of Zurich (Sep 2016 - Aug 2019). Supervisor. 

EPSRC, 'Brains on Board: Neuromorphic Control of Flying Robots’, Programme grant. Co-I.

Google Deepmind Academic Grant, 'Modeling probabilistic reinforcement learning and variable behaviour in the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster’ (2018). 

Amazon Alexa Fund.

© Eleni Vasilaki 2018