Prof Angus Silver


Personal Profile

Name: Angus Silver Email:
Title: Prof Tel: 020 7679 7830
Department: Neuro, Physiology & Pharmacology Fax:
Position: Professor of Neuroscience & Wellcome Trust Senior Basic Fellow Address: Neuroscience, Physiology and Pharmacology, Medical Sciences Building, UCL, London, WC1E 6BT
Research Domain: Basic Life Sciences, Biomedical Imaging (Frontier Disciplines), Computational Science & Digital Systems, Neuroscience Web Page: Personal Web Page


Research Description

The brain gathers information about the body and the surrounding world, allowing it to build internal representations and to plan and execute movement. My lab works on how synapses, neurons and networks transmit and process such information and perform computations. The brain areas we investigate include the cerebellum and the sensory cortex.

The main aim of our work is to develop a mechanistic understanding of brain function that links the molecular, synaptic, neuronal and network levels. This requires a multidisciplinary approach that combines the most powerful experimental and theoretical methods available. To achieve this we both develop and apply new optical methods for measuring rapid signalling in 3D and new software tools for data acquisition, analysis and modelling. Application of these new experimental and theoretical approaches allows us to link neuronal mechanisms to information processing, thereby bridging different levels of description of brain function.

Research Activities

Synaptic transmission, synaptic integration and information processing in neural networks

experience-dependent cortical plasticity, circuits underlying sensory processing and behaviour

Education Description

I run a 3rd year course entitled "The cellular basis of brain function".

UCL Collaborators

Prof Dmitri Rusakov; Dr Thomas Mrsic-Flogel; Dr Jason Rothman

External Collaborators



    • Rothman JS, Silver RA (2014). Data-driven modeling of synaptic transmission and integration.. Prog Mol Biol Transl Sci, 123, 305 - 350. doi:10.1016/B978-0-12-397897-4.00004-8
    • Farinella M, Ruedt DT, Gleeson P, Lanore F, Silver RA (2014). Glutamate-Bound NMDARs Arising from In Vivo-like Network Activity Extend Spatio-temporal Integration in a L5 Cortical Pyramidal Cell Model.. PLoS Comput Biol, 10(4), e1003590 - . doi:10.1371/journal.pcbi.1003590
    • Vella M, Robinson HPC, Cannon RC, Ganapathy G, Crook S, Davison AP, Angus Silver R, Gleeson P (2014). libNeuroML and PyLEMS: Using Python to combine procedural and declarative modeling approaches in computational neuroscience. Frontiers in Neuroinformatics, 8(APR), - . doi:10.3389/fninf.2014.00038


    • Hallermann S, Silver RA (2013). Sustaining rapid vesicular release at active zones: potential roles for vesicle tethering. TRENDS IN NEUROSCIENCES, 36(3), 185 - 194. doi:10.1016/j.tins.2012.10.001
    • Silver RA, Fernandez-Alfonso T, Nadella S, Kirkb PA, Iacaruso MF, Pichler B (2013). A 2-photon acousto-optic lens microscope for high-speed 3D imaging of neural activity.
    • Fernández-Alfonso T, Nadella KM, Iacaruso MF, Pichler B, Roš H, Kirkby PA, Silver RA (2013). Monitoring synaptic and neuronal activity in 3D with synthetic and genetic indicators using a compact acousto-optic lens two-photon microscope.. J Neurosci Methods, , - . doi:10.1016/j.jneumeth.2013.10.021


    • Vervaeke K, Lorincz A, Nusser Z, Silver RA (2012). Gap junctions compensate for sublinear dendritic integration in an inhibitory network.. Science, 335(6076), 1624 - 1628. doi:10.1126/science.1215101
    • Schwartz EJ, Rothman JS, Dugué GP, Diana M, Rousseau C, Silver RA, Dieudonné S (2012). NMDA receptors with incomplete Mg²⁺ block enable low-frequency transmission through the cerebellar cortex.. J Neurosci, 32(20), 6878 - 6893. doi:10.1523/JNEUROSCI.5736-11.2012
    • Minneci F, Kanichay RT, Silver RA (2012). Estimation of the time course of neurotransmitter release at central synapses from the first latency of postsynaptic currents.. J Neurosci Methods, 205(1), 49 - 64. doi:10.1016/j.jneumeth.2011.12.015


    • Steuber V, Schultheiss NW, Silver RA, De Schutter E, Jaeger D (2011). Determinants of synaptic integration and heterogeneity in rebound firing explored with data-driven models of deep cerebellar nucleus cells. J COMPUT NEUROSCI, 30(3), 633 - 658. doi:10.1007/s10827-010-0282-z
    • Chaigneau E, Wright AJ, Poland SP, Girkin JM, Silver RA (2011). Impact of wavefront distortion and scattering on 2-photon microscopy in mammalian brain tissue.. Opt Express, 19(23), 22755 - 22774.


    • Silver RA (2010). Neuronal arithmetic.. Nat Rev Neurosci, 11(7), 474 - 489. doi:10.1038/nrn2864
    • Kirkby PA, Srinivas Nadella KM, Silver RA (2010). A compact Acousto-Optic Lens for 2D and 3D femtosecond based 2-photon microscopy.. Opt Express, 18(13), 13721 - 13745.
    • Kirkby PA, Nadella KMNS, Silver RA (2010). A compact acousto-optic lens for 2D and 3D femtosecond based 2-photon microscopy. Optics Express, 18(13), 13720 - 13744. doi:10.1364/OE.18.013720
    • Vervaeke K, Lorincz A, Gleeson P, Farinella M, Nusser Z, Silver RA (2010). Rapid desynchronization of an electrically coupled interneuron network with sparse excitatory synaptic input.. Neuron, 67(3), 435 - 451. doi:10.1016/j.neuron.2010.06.028
    • Gleeson P, Crook S, Cannon RC, Hines ML, Billings GO, Farinella M, Morse TM, Davison AP, Ray S, Bhalla US, Barnes SR, Dimitrova YD, Silver RA (2010). NeuroML: a language for describing data driven models of neurons and networks with a high degree of biological detail.. PLoS Comput Biol, 6(6), e1000815 - . doi:10.1371/journal.pcbi.1000815
    • Hallermann S, Fejtova A, Schmidt H, Weyhersmuller A, Silver RA, Gundelfinger ED, Eilers J (2010). Bassoon Speeds Vesicle Reloading at a Central Excitatory Synapse. NEURON, 68(4), 710 - 723. doi:10.1016/j.neuron.2010.10.026


    • Crook S, Silver RA, Gleeson P (2009). Describing and exchanging models of neurons and neuronal networks with NeuroML. doi:10.1186/1471-2202-10-S1-L1
    • Rothman JS, Cathala L, Steuber V, Silver RA (2009). Synaptic depression enables neuronal gain control.. Nature, 457(7232), 1015 - 1018. doi:10.1038/nature07604


    • Gleeson P, Steuber V, Silver RA (2008). Using neuroConstruct to develop and modify biologically detailed 3D neuronal network models in health and disease. In Soltesz I, Staley K (Ed.), Computational Neuroscience in Epilepsy (pp. - ). : Elsevier.
    • Arenz A, Silver AR, Schaefer AT, Margrie TW (2008). The contribution of single synapses to sensory representation in vivo. Science, 321(5891), 977 - 980. doi:10.1126/science.1158391
    • Silver RA, Kanichay RT (2008). Neuroscience: Refreshing connections. Science, 320(5873), 183 - 184. doi:10.1126/science.1157589
    • Kanichay RT, Silver RA (2008). Synaptic and cellular properties of the feedforward inhibitory circuit within the input layer of the cerebellar cortex.. Journal of Neuroscience, 28(36), 8955 - 8967.
    • Kirkby PA, Silver RA, Nadella KMNS (2008). Imaging Apparatus and Methods.
    • Silver RA, Kanichay RT (2008). Refreshing connections. SCIENCE, 320(5873), 183 - 184.


    • DiGregorio DA, Rothman JS, Nielsen TA, Silver RA (2007). Desensitization properties of AMPA receptors at the cerebellar mossy fiber granule cell synapse. Journal of Neuroscience, 27(31), 8344 - 8357. doi:10.1523/JNEUROSCI.2399-07.2007
    • Saviane C, Silver RA (2007). Estimation of quantal parameters with multiple-probaility fluctuation analysis. In (Ed.), Patch-Clamp Methods and Protocols (pp. 303 - 317). : Humana Press.
    • Steuber V, Mittmann W, Hoebeek FE, Silver RA, De Zeeuw CI, Hausser M, De Schutter E (2007). Cerebellar LTD and pattern recognition by Purkinje cells. Neuron, 54(1), 121 - 136. doi:10.1016/j.neuron.2007.03.015
    • Gleeson P, Steuber V, Silver RA (2007). neuroConstruct: a tool for modeling networks of neurons in 3D space. Neuron, 54(2), 219 - 235. doi:10.1016/j.neuron.2007.03.025
    • Silver RA, Farrant M (2007). Neurotransmitter-gated channels in dendrites. In Stuart G, Spruston N, Häusser M (Ed.), Dendrites (pp. 190 - 223). : Oxford University Press.
    • Crook S, Gleeson P, Howell F, Svitak J, Silver RA (2007). MorphML: Level 1 of the NeuroML Standards for Neuronal Morphology Data and Model Specification. Neuroinformatics, 5(2), 96 - 104.


    • Saviane C, Silver RA (2006). Errors in the estimation of the variance: Implications for multiple-probability fluctuation analysis. Journal of Neuroscience Methods, 153(2), 250 - 260. doi:10.1016/j.jneumeth.2005.11.003
    • Saviane C, Silver RA (2006). Fast vesicle reloading and a large pool sustain high bandwidth transmission at a central synapse.. Nature, 439(7079), 983 - 987. doi:10.1038/nature04509


    • Sargent PB, Saviane C, Nielsen TA, DiGregorio DA, Silver RA (2005). Rapid vesicular release, quantal variability, and spillover contribute to the precision and reliability of transmission at a glomerular synapse.. Journal of Neuroscience, 25(36), 8173 - 8187.
    • Thompson SM, Kao JP, Kramer RH, Poskanzer KE, Silver RA, Digregorio D, Wang SS (2005). Flashy science: controlling neural function with light.. Journal of Neuroscience, 25(45), 10358 - 10365.


    • Semyanov A, Walker MC, Kullmann DM, Silver RA (2004). Tonically active GABA(A) receptors: modulating gain and maintaining the tone. Trends in Neurosciences, 27(5), 262 - 269.
    • Nielsen TA, DiGregorio DA, Silver RA (2004). Modulation of glutamate mobility reveals the mechanism underlying slow-rising AMPAR EPSCs and the diffusion coefficient in the synaptic cleft.. Neuron, 42(5), 757 - 771. doi:10.1016/j.neuron.2004.04.003


    • Nielsen TA, DiGregorio DA, Silver RA (2003). Release probability-dependent changes of the AMPA receptor EPSC waveform at the rat cerebellar mossy fibre to granule cell synapse.
    • Sargent PB, Nielsen TA, DiGregorio DA, Silver RA (2003). Time course of uniquantal release at the cerebellar mossy fiber-granule cell synapse.
    • Momiyama A, Silver RA, Hausser M, Notomi T, Wu Y, Shigemoto R, Cull-Candy SG (2003). The density of AMPA receptors activated by a transmitter quantum at the climbing fibre-Purkinje cell synapse in immature rats. The Journal of Physiology, 549, 75 - 92.
    • Silver RA (2003). Estimation of nonuniform quantal parameters with multiple-probability fluctuation analysis: theory, application and limitations.. Journal of Neuroscience Methods, 130(2), 127 - 141.
    • Mitchell SJ, Silver RA (2003). Shunting inhibition and mGluR-mediated disinhibition modulate the gain of granule cell input-output relationships during synaptic excitation in rat cerebellum.
    • Mitchell SJ, Silver RA (2003). Shunting inhibition modulates neuronal gain during synaptic excitation.. Neuron, 38(3), 433 - 445. doi:10.1016/S0896-6273(03)00200-9
    • Silver RA, Lubke J, Sakmann B, Feldmeyer D (2003). High-probability uniquantal transmission at excitatory synapses in barrel cortex.. Science, 302, 1981 - 1984. doi:10.1126/science.1087160
    • Nielsen TA, DiGregorio DA, Silver RA (2003). Slowed glutamate diffusion distinguishes between epscs mediated by prolonged local release and those arising from spillover of neurotransmitter.


    • DiGregorio DA, Nusser Z, Silver RA (2002). Spillover of glutamate onto synaptic AMPA receptors enhances fast transmission at a cerebellar synapse. Neuron, 35(3), 521 - 533. doi:10.1016/S0896-6273(02)00787-0
    • DiGregorio DA, Nusser Z, Silver RA (2002). Spillover of glutamate onto synaptic AMPA receptors enhances fast transmission at a cerebellar synapse (vol 35, pg 521, 2002). NEURON, 36(1), 187 - 187.
    • Sargent PB, Silver RA (2002). Stationary and non-stationary quantal analysis of glutamate release at mossy fibre-granule cell synapses in the rat cerebellum. [Abstract].
    • Feldmeyer D, Lubke J, Silver RA, Sakmann B (2002). Synaptic connections between layer 4 spiny neurone-layer 2/3 pyramidal cell pairs in juvenile rat barrel cortex: physiology and anatomy of interlaminar signalling within a cortical column. The Journal of Physiology, 538(3), 803 - 822.


    • Mitchell SJ, Silver RA (2000). GABA spillover selectively inhibits low frequency excitatory transmission at cerebellar mossy fibres.
    • Mitchell SJ, Silver RA (2000). Glutamate spillover suppresses inhibition by activating presynaptic mGluRs. Nature, 404(6777), 498 - 502.
    • Clements JD, Silver RA (2000). Unveiling synaptic plasticity: a new graphical and analytical approach. Trends in Neurosciences, 23(3), 105 - 113.
    • Mitchell SJ, Silver RA (2000). GABA spillover from single inhibitory axons suppresses low-frequency excitatory transmission at the cerebellar glomerulus. Journal of Neuroscience, 20(23), 8651 - 8658.
    • Lubke J, Feldmeyer D, Silver RA, Sakmann B (2000). Morphology of synaptic connections between spiny layer 4 neurones and layer 2/3 pyramidal cells in rat barrel cortex. EUR J NEUROSCI, 12, 14 - 14.
    • Feldmeyer D, Silver RA, Lubke J, Sakmann B (2000). Physiology of synaptic connections between spiny layer 4 neurones and layer 2/3 pyramidal cells in rat barrel cortex. EUR J NEUROSCI, 12, 365 - 365.
    • Feldmeyer D, Lϋbke JHR, Silver RA, Sakmann B (2000). Physiology of synaptic connections between spiny layer 4 neurones and layer 2/3 pyramidal cells in rat barrel cortex.


    • Silver RA, Farrant M (1999). Neurotransmitter-gated channels in dendrites. In Stuart G, Spruston N, Häusser M (Ed.), Dendrites (pp. 114 - 138). : Oxford University Press.
    • Mitchell SJ, Silver RA (1999). Heteroreceptor mediated presynaptic inhibition at the glomerulus of the rat cerebellum.
    • Feldmeyer D, Silver RA, Lϋbke J, Sakmann B (1999). Synaptic connections between spiny layer 4 neurones and layer 2/3 pyramidal cells of rat barrel cortex.
    • Mitchell SJ, Silver RA (1999). Reciprocal presynaptic inhibition at the cerebellar glomerulus of the rat.


    • Silver RA (1998). Neurotransmission at synapses with single and multiple release sites. In Faber DS, Korn H, Redman SJ, Thomson SM, Altman J (Ed.), Central Synapses: quantal mechanisms and plasticity (pp. 130 - 139). : .
    • Silver RA, Momiyama A, Cull-Candy SG (1998). Locus of frequency-dependent depression identified with multiple-probability fluctuation analysis at rat climbing fibre-Purkinje cell synapses. The Journal of Physiology, 510, 881 - 902.


    • Silver RA, Momiyama A, Cull-Candy SG (1997). Transmitter release and quantal size at cerebellar climbing fibre-Purkinje cell synapses of the rat.


    • Silver RA, Colquhoun D, Cull-Candy SG, Edmonds B (1996). Deactivation and desensitization of non-NMDA receptors in patches and the time course of EPSCs in rat cerebellar granule cells.. The Journal of Physiology, 493(1), 167 - 173.
    • Silver RA, Cull-Candy SG, Takahashi T (1996). Non-NMDA glutamate receptor occupancy and open probability at a rat cerebellar synapse with single and multiple release sites.. The Journal of Physiology, 494(1), 231 - 250.




    • Sarantis M, Ballerini L, Miller B, Silver RA, Edwards M, Attwell D (1993). Glutamate uptake from the synaptic cleft does not shape the decay of the non-NMDA component of the synaptic current.. Neuron, 11(3), 541 - 549.


    • Silver RA, Traynelis SF, Cull-Candy SG (1992). Rapid-time-course miniature and evoked excitatory currents at cerebellar synapses in situ.. Nature, 355(6356), 163 - 166. doi:10.1038/355163a0
    • Silver RA, Whitaker M, Bolsover SR (1992). Intracellular ion imaging using fluorescent dyes: artefacts and limits to resolution.. Pflugers Arch, 420(5-6), 595 - 602.


    • Bolsover S, Silver RA (1991). Artifacts in calcium measurement: recognition and remedies.. Trends Cell Biol, 1(2-3), 71 - 74.
    • Silver RA, Bolsover SR (1991). Expression of T-type calcium current precedes neurite extension in neuroblastoma cells.. J Physiol (Paris), 85(2), 79 - 83.


    • Silver RA, Lamb AG, Bolsover SR (1990). Calcium hotspots caused by L-channel clustering promote morphological changes in neuronal growth cones.. Nature, 343(6260), 751 - 754. doi:10.1038/343751a0


    • Silver RA, Lamb AG, Bolsover SR (1989). Elevated cytosolic calcium in the growth cone inhibits neurite elongation in neuroblastoma cells: correlation of behavioral states with cytosolic calcium concentration.. J Neurosci, 9(11), 4007 - 4020.