Michael McCullough

Jubilee Joint Fellow


Dr McCullough is a computational neuroscientist who works at the interface between complex biological phenomena and methods from machine learning and mathematics to study how the brain processes information and controls behaviour. He was awarded his BEng (Hons) in electrical and electronic engineering and BMus (Hons) in music performance in 2013, and his PhD in applied mathematics in 2018 from The University of Western Australia. After graduating he was a postdoctoral research associate with the UWA Young Lives Matter Foundation working on new computational approaches in clinical mental health. In late 2018 he moved to the Queensland Brain Institute at The University of Queensland as a research fellow in computational neuroscience studying information processing in the developing brain using a range of approaches including computer vision, network science, data science, complex systems and computational ethology. At the end of 2022 Dr McCullough joined ANU as a Jubilee Joint Fellow with the School of Computing and the Eccles Institute at the John Curtin School of Medical Research where he leads the Computational Neuroscience Group.


The field of neuroscience is rapidly evolving as emerging technologies enable us to record activity from thousands of neurons in awake and behaving animals. However, analysing the massive amounts of data generated by these experiments is fast becoming a limiting factor, from both technical and conceptual perspectives. Dr McCullough’s research focuses on the development and application of new computational methods to identify biologically interpretable patterns and relationships in large-scale recordings of neural activity and behaviour. He works closely with leading experimental researchers at the Eccles Institute of Neuroscience and international collaborators to uncover new insights into neural coding and information processing in the brain.

Current research areas include:

  • Discovering the topological structures and dynamical properties of large-scale neural activity and sensory coding through neural manifold estimation and nonlinear time series analysis.
  • Investigating information processing in the brain through the lens of complex systems via the analysis of functional connectivity networks and network dynamics.
  • Tracking and modelling sequences of animal behaviour to study the algorithmic basis of sensory processing and action selection.

Join our group


A postdoctoral research position will be advertised soon. Contact Dr McCullough for details.


Our lab is currently recruiting research students at all levels (PhD, Masters, Honours and undergraduate projects). Scholarships are available for Honours students from the School of Computing. Honours, Masters (coursework) and HDR students will be awarded the title of Jubilee Joint Scholar.

Contact Dr McCullough for more information about available projects, and please send a cover letter, CV and academic transcripts if you would like to apply to join the lab.

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