Prof. Dr. Sen Cheng

Institut für Neuroinformatik
Ruhr-Universität Bochum
Universitätsstraße 150
Building NB, Room NB 3/33
D-44801 Bochum
Computational Neuroscience


My research group investigates the neural mechanisms underlying learning and memory. We are primarily interested in the hippocampus, the brain region that is mainly involved in episodic memory, as well as in the learning and memory of sequences. Our research focuses on the dynamics of these processes, which has received relatively little attention to date.

We employ two complementary approaches. Our first approach is modeling, including mathematic models as well as computer simulation of complex networks. While all models are simplified, we aim to build biologically realistic models that capture the essence of the neural circuit mechanism underlying learning and memory. Our second approach is data-mining. We develop methods for model-based data analysis and apply such methods to experimental data. These data include electrophysiological and EEG recordings as well as behavioral data. We collaborate closely with neuroscientists on the RUB campus and at other universities in Germany and abroad.

Fang, J., Rüther, N., Bellebaum, C., Wiskott, L., & Cheng, S.. (2018). The Interaction between Semantic Representation and Episodic Memory. Neural Computation, 30(2), 293–332.
Werning, M., & Cheng, S.. (2018). Doing without metarepresentation: Scenario construction explains the epistemic generativity and privileged status of episodic memory. Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 41.
Cheng, S. (2017). Gedächtnisverbesserung: Möglichkeiten und kritische Betrachtung. In F. Hüttemann & Liggieri, K. (Eds.), Die Grenze . Diskurse des Transhumanismus. (p. invited contribution). Bielefeld: transcript Verlag.
Cheng, S. (2017). Consolidation of Episodic Memory: An Epiphenomenon of Semantic Learning. In N. Axmacher & Rasch, B. (Eds.), Cognitive Neuroscience of Memory Consolidation (pp. 57–72). Cham, Switzerland: Springer International Publishing.
Neher, T., Azizi, A. H., & Cheng, S.. (2017). From grid cells to place cells with realistic field sizes. PLoS ONE, 12(7), e0181618.
Werning, M., & Cheng, S.. (2017). Taxonomy and Unity of Memory. In S. Bernecker & Michaelian, K. (Eds.), The Routledge Handbook of Philosophy of Memory (p. forthcoming). London: Routledge.
Werning, M., & Cheng, S.. (2017). No need for meta-representation: How scenario construction explains the epistemic generativity and privileged epistemic status of episodic memory. Behavioral and Brain Sciences, in press.
Babichev, A., Cheng, S., & Dabaghian, Y. A. (2016). Topological Schemas of Cognitive Maps and Spatial Learning. Frontiers in Computational Neuroscience, 10, 18.
Cheng, S., & Werning, M. (2016). What is episodic memory if it is a natural kind? Synthese, 193(5), 1345–1385.
Cheng, S., Werning, M., & Suddendorf, T. (2016). Dissociating memory traces and scenario construction in mental time travel. Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews, 60, 82–89.
Bayati, M., Valizadeh, A., Abbassian, A., & Cheng, S.. (2015). Self-organization of synchronous activity propagation in neuronal networks driven by local excitation. Frontiers in Computational Neuroscience, 9, 69.
Neher, T., Cheng, S., & Wiskott, L.. (2015). Memory Storage Fidelity in the Hippocampal Circuit: The Role of Subregions and Input Statistics. PLoS Computational Biology, 11(5), e1004250.
Demic, S., & Cheng, S.. (2014). Modeling the Dynamics of Disease States in Depression. PLOS ONE, 9(10), 1–14.
Azizi, A. H., Schieferstein, N., & Cheng, S.. (2014). The transformation from grid cells to place cells is robust to noise in the grid pattern. Hippocampus, 24(8), 912–919.
Pyka, M., Klatt, S., & Cheng, S.. (2014). Parametric Anatomical Modeling: a method for modeling the anatomical layout of neurons and their projections. Frontiers in Neuroanatomy, 8, 91.
Werning, M., & Cheng, S.. (2014). Is Episodic Memory a Natural Kind?-A Defense of the Sequence Analysis. In P. Bello, Guarini, M., McShane, M., & Scassellati, B. (Eds.), Proceedings of the 36th Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society (Vol. 2, pp. 964–69). Austin, TX: Cognitive Science Society. Retrieved from
Cheng, S., & Werning, M. (2013). Composition and replay of mnemonic sequences: The contributions of REM and slow-wave sleep to episodic memory. Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 36(06), 610–611.
Azizi, A. H., Wiskott, L., & Cheng, S.. (2013). A computational model for preplay in the hippocampus. Frontiers in Computational Neuroscience, 7, 161.
Cheng, S. (2013). The CRISP theory of hippocampal function in episodic memory. Frontiers in Neural Circuits, 7, 88.
Helduser, S., Cheng, S., & Güntürkün, O. (2013). Identification of two forebrain structures that mediate execution of memorized sequences in the pigeon. Journal of Neurophysiology, 109(4), 958–968.
Crotty, P., Lasker, E., & Cheng, S.. (2012). Constraints on the synchronization of entorhinal cortex stellate cells. Phys. Rev. E, 86(1), 011908.
Buhry, L., Azizi, A. H., & Cheng, S.. (2011). Reactivation, Replay, and Preplay: How It Might All Fit Together. Neural Plasticity, 2011, 1–11.
Cheng, S., & Frank, L. M. (2011). The structure of networks that produce the transformation from grid cells to place cells . Neuroscience , 197, 293–306.
Cheng, S., & Frank, L. M. (2008). New Experiences Enhance Coordinated Neural Activity in the Hippocampus . Neuron , 57(2), 303–313.
Cheng, S., & Sabes, P. N. (2007). Calibration of Visually Guided Reaching Is Driven by Error-Corrective Learning and Internal Dynamics. Journal of Neurophysiology, 97(4), 3057–3069.
Cheng, S., & Sabes, P. N. (2006). Modeling Sensorimotor Learning with Linear Dynamical Systems. Neural Computation, 18(4), 760–793.
Cheng, S., Petriconi, S., Pratt, S., Skoby, M., Gale, C., Jeon, S., et al. (2004). Statistical and dynamic models of charge balance functions. Phys. Rev. C, 69(5), 054906.
Pratt, S., & Cheng, S.. (2003). Removing distortions from charge balance functions. Phys. Rev. C, 68(1), 014907.
Cheng, S., & Pratt, S. (2003). Isospin fluctuations from a thermally equilibrated hadron gas. Phys. Rev. C, 67(4), 044904.
Cheng, S. (2002). Statistical physics in a finite volume with absolute conservation laws.
Cheng, S. (2002). Modeling Relativistic Heavy Ion Collisions.
Cheng, S., Pratt, S., Csizmadia, P., Nara, Y., Molnár, D., Gyulassy, M., et al. (2002). Effect of finite-range interactions in classical transport theory. Phys. Rev. C, 65(2), 024901.
Cheng, S., & Pratt, S. (2001). Quantum corrections for pion correlations involving resonance decays. Phys. Rev. C, 63(5), 054904.