Prof Matthew Nolan

We are interested in the mechanisms used within the brain to mediate cognitive processes and guide learned behaviours.

Professor Matthew Nolan

Professor of Neural Circuits and Computation

Hugh Robson Building

15 George Square

Edinburgh EH8 9XD

Contact details

 Work: +44 (0)131 650 9874


 Web: Nolan Lab website


Personal profile

  • 2014 - present: Chair of Neural Circuits and Computation, University of Edinburgh
  • 2011 - 2014: Reader, University of Edinburgh
  • 2007 - 2010: Marie Curie Excellence Team Leader, University of Edinburgh
  • 2006 - 2011: Lecturer, University of Edinburgh
  • 1999 - 2006: Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Columbia University, New York, USA
  • 1997 - 1999: Postdoctoral Research fellow, University of Aberdeen
  • 1993 - 1997: PhD, University of Aberdeen

Research Theme


Dr Matthew Nolan's research briefing

We want to understand how cognitive functions of the brain emerge from its neural circuitry. Our main focus is on cellular and circuit mechanisms for spatial cognition and memory.

Approaches used in the lab include virtual reality based behavioural assays, in vivo and ex vivo electrophysiology and optogenetics, molecular and classical neuroanatomical methods, and computational modelling.


Team members


Selected Publications

Klara Gerlei, Jessica Passlack, Ian Hawes, Brianna Vandrey, Holly Stevens, Ioannis Papastathopoulos and Matthew F. Nolan (2020). Grid cells are modulated by local head direction.  Nature Communications, 11, 4228. PMCID: PMC7445272. Preprint (2019): doi:   

Pastoll, H., Garden D.L.F., Sürmeli G., Nolan M.F. (2020). Inter- and intra-animal variation in the integrative properties of stellate cells in the medial entorhinal cortex. eLife, 9:e52258. doi: 10.7554/eLife.52258. PMCID: PMC70675841. Preprint (2019):

Vandrey B., Garden D.L.F., Ambozova V., McClure C., Nolan M.F.*, Ainge J.A.* (2020). Fan cells in layer 2 of lateral entorhinal cortex are critical for episodic-like memory. Current Biology, 30(1): 169-175.e5. PMCID: PMC6947484. Preprint (2019): * Equal contributing corresponding authors.

Garden D.L.F.*, Oostland M.*, Jelitai M., Rinaldi A., Duguid I. & Nolan M.F. (2018). Inferior olive HCN1 channels coordinate synaptic integration and complex spike timing. Cell Reports, 22(7): 1722-33. * Equal contribution of both authors. PMCID: PMC5847187.

Tennant S.A., Fischer L., Garden D.L.F., Gerlei K.Z., Martinez-Gonzalez C., McClure C., Wood E.R. & Nolan M.F. (2018). Stellate cells in the medial entorhinal cortex are required for spatial learning. Cell Reports, 22(5): 1313-1324. PMCID: PMC5809635.

Schmidt-Hieber, C. & Nolan, M.F. (2017). Synaptic integrative mechanisms for spatial cognition. Nature Neuroscience, 20(11): 1483-1492.  

Sürmeli G., Marcu D-C., McClure C., Garden D.L.F., Pastoll H. & Nolan M.F. (2015). Molecularly defined circuitry reveals input-output segregation in deep layers of the medial entorhinal cortex. Neuron 88(5):1040-1053. PMCID: 4675718.

Pastoll H., Solanka L., van Rossum M.C.W. & Nolan M.F. (2013). Feedback inhibition enables theta-nested gamma oscillations and grid firing fields. Neuron 77, 141-154. PMID:23312522  

O’Donnell, C. and Nolan, M.F. (2011). Tuning of synaptic integration: an organizing principle for optimization of neural circuits. Trends in Neurosciences 34, 51-60. DOI: 10.1016/j.tins.2010.10.003. PMID:21067825.

Garden, D.L.F.*, Dodson , P.D.*, O’Donnell, C., White, M.D.  & Nolan,  M.F. (2008). Tuning of Synaptic Integration in the Medial Entorhinal Cortex to the Organization of Grid Cell Firing Fields. Neuron 60, 875-889. PMID:19081381. * Equal contribution of both authors.


Research in a Nutshell: Neuronal computation

Information for students:

Willingness to discuss research projects with undergraduate and postgraduate students: YES - please click here