Tomas Barta

I am a postdoctoral researcher in computational neuroscience at the Fukai Unit at Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology. My research interests are knowledge generalization and associative memory.

Affiliations and work experience

Postdoctoral researcher

Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology

In the Neural Coding and Brain Computing Unit I study the memory storage limits of the brain and formation of new knowledge from existing memories during offline activity.

September 2018 - June 2023

Doctoral researcher

Institute of Physiology, Czech Academy of Sciences
Institute of Ecology and Enviromental Sciences, INRAE

I worked on my PhD jointly in two labs, which means that each year I spent several months (4-5) in the laboratory of Philippe Lucas in Versailles. In the project with Philippe Lucas I focused on studying how insects use olfactory cues to navigate in complex environments. Particularly, we studied the signal transdution and adaptation mechanisms of the olfactory receptor neurons. To this end I analyzed electrophysiologal recordings from the moth Agrotis ipsilon and used biophysical models to reproduce the activity.

In the second project with Lubomir Kostal (Laboratory of Computational Neuroscience) we focused on the information metabolic efficiency of neurons and neural networks. We employed Shannon's information theory to evaluate the information transmitted by a single neuron or a group of neurons and use biophysical properties of the neurons to estimate the metabolic cost of the activity. We worked mostly with simulated data obtained from Monte Carlo simulations. To perform the simulations we used either custom code in Python and C++ or the Brian2 Python package.

September 2018 - June 2023

Data Scientist


I worked part-time as a data scientist at the end of my BSc and during my MSc studies. Datatree uses transactional data to help banks understand their clients and to automate financial advice. My job was to develop algorithms to classify transaction and evaluate risk factors using both heuristic approaches and machine learning. Subsequently I worked on approaches to evaluate the clients' financial health and to provide suggestions on where money can be saved.

I worked mostly with Python and data analysis and scientific packages - Pandas, NumPy, SciPy. For machine learning I used mostly methods implemented in the SciKitLearn package, XGBoost and Shap for result interpretation. I also used Tableau, D3JS and Plotly for advanced visualizations and SQL for database queries.

September 2015 - August 2018


Charles University in Prague & Sorbonne University in Paris

PhD - Computational neuroscience
September 2018 - May 2023

Charles University in Prague

MSc - Mathematical modelling in physics
September 2016 - June 2018

Charles University in Prague

BSc - General physics
September 2012 - June 2016




Presentations at conferences

  • T. Barta, L. Kostal. 2022. Excitation-inhibition coupling in recurrent neural networks promotes energy-efficient information transmission. Poster: Bernstein Conference 2022, Berlin.
  • T. Barta, L. Kostal. 2022. Maximally informative coupling in a balanced excitatory-inhibitory neuronal network. Talk: CNS*2022, Information theory workshop, Melbourne.
  • T. Barta, L. Kostal. 2022. Spike frequency adaptation mechanism leading to variability quenching in recurrent neural networks. Poster: CNS*2022, Melbourne. abstract online
  • T. Barta, C. Monsempès, E. Demondion, A. Chatterjee, L. Kostal, P. Lucas. 2022. Stimulus duration encoding by moth olfactory receptor neurons. Poster: FENS Forum 2022, Paris.
  • T. Barta, L. Kostal. 2021. Information-metabolically optimal E-I balance in a network of heterogeneous neurons. Online poster: Bernstein Conference 2021. abstract online | summary video (3:03)
  • T. Barta, L. Kostal. 2021. Inhibitory noise decreases membrane potential fluctuations and may lead to increased firing regularity. Online talk: Neural Coding 2021.
  • T. Barta, L. Kostal. 2021. Inhibitory input may increase firing regularity despite higher synaptic noise. Online poster: CNS*2021. abstract online | summary video (2:27)
  • T. Barta, L. Kostal. 2021. Precise spike-timing can be achieved by increasing inhibitory input. Flash talk: International Conference on Mathematical Neurosciences.
  • T. Barta, C. Monsempès, E. Demondion, L. Kostal, P. Lucas. 2021. Triphasic response of the moth olfactory receptor neurons. Online talk: Young Researchers in Life Sciences Conference.
  • T. Barta, L. Kostal. 2020. Inhibition enhances spike firing regularity. Online poster: Bernstein Conference 2020. abstract online

Grants & Awards

  • GA UK (Charles University Grant Agency). 2020-2022: Neural coding and metabolic cost of information processing. 22120 EUR
  • FENS-IBRO/PERC Travel Grant for the FENS Forum 2022. 750 EUR

Teaching & Outreach

Code In Place 2021, 2023, Section Leader.

Member of the teaching team for Code In Place, April - May 2021 and 2023. This online course was offered by Stanford University during the COVID-19 pandemic. The course is a 6-week introduction to Python programming using materials from the first half of Stanford’s CS106A course.

As a volunteer section leader, I prepared and taught a weekly discussion section of small group of students to supplement professors' lectures.

April - May 2021 and 2023

Science To Go, Outreach talk.

Science To Go organizes lectures at various places across the Czech Republic to present various topics from the natural sciences to the general public interested in science.

During my talk at their event I introduced basics of neuroscience and why and how we can use mathematics and physics to investigate information transmission by neurons.

May 2019

FYKOS, Event Organizer

Member of the organizing team of correspondence competition in physics for high school students. I was setting physics problems and grading the solutions. During other events organized by FYKOS I presented various mathematical and physical topics to motivated high school students. I was also the main organizer of Physics Brawl, competition for high school students, taking place once a year, organized by FYKOS.

October 2012 - May 2015

Hobbies & Interests

I love going into nature to run, hike, cycle. I can't do a year without going backpacking or bikepacking at least once. Recently I started climbing and I think it will be my new hobby. I like to play chess, board games and video games with friends (I also like to play video games alone). I also enjoy cooking, baking and learning about why and how it works.