Professor Attila Sik

Image of Professor Attila Sik

Institute of Clinical Sciences
Professor of Cellular Neuroscience

Contact details

+44(0)121 414 6018
+44(0)121 414 7625
View my research portal
Institute of Clinical Sciences
College of Medical and Dental Sciences
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

Attila Sik (pronounced “sheek”) is Professor of Cellular Neurophysiology. He has published several book chapters, 60 research articles in scientific journals, 80 abstracts and has been an invited speaker at over 60 international presentations. His research papers have been cited over 6,500 times. Attila has received major national grants in Hungary, Canada (Canada Foundation for Innovation, Canadian Institutes of Health Research), UK (Medical Research Council) and international grant form Human Frontiers Science Program.


  • MBA Creativity and Leadership, 2014
  • PhD (summa cum laude) Neuroscience, 1997
  • MSc Biology and Chemistry, 1991
  • PDE/PgD Pedagogy, 1991
  • BSc Biology, Chemistry, 1990


Attila Sik received his MSc in Biology and Chemistry field from the Kossuth University, Debrecen, Hungary in 1991. He later worked in the Institute of Experimental Medicine, Hungarian Academy of Sciences in Budapest, Hungary, before he moved to the USA where he worked as a research fellow for almost 4 years at Rutgers University, New Jersey. Upon his return to Hungary in 1996 he received a PhD from Semmelweis Medical School with summa cum laude in the field of Neuroscience.

He is an independent researcher since 2000 when he established his first laboratory at Laval University, Quebec, Canada. He is also an associate professor at McGill University, Montreal, Canada, and guest professor at Yanshan University, China.

He uses numerous classical and innovative techniques to unveil how neurons are connected and function together. He helped to develop instruments and beta tester for various scientific companies. He also studied genetic engineering in Germany, cryo-electron microscopy in the US and the Netherlands, electron tomography in the USA, 3D reconstruction of molecules in the UK and multiphysics modelling in Canada. His main interest is in the hippocampus and epilepsy but also published several articles and still studies other brain regions which are involved in diverse neurological disease for example Parkinson’s disease or schizophrenia.

He now also studies at Warwick Business School to receive an MBA degree in 2012 focusing mainly on leadership and organizations behaviour.


Professor Sik has extensive teaching experience including:

In Canada

  • Development of functional neuroanatomy, electrophysiology and research method courses in the Neuroscience field

In the UK

  • Neurobiology seminars; PhD course
  • Neuroscience
  • Neuropharmacology
  • MRes in vivo course
  • Research Taster
  • Neurobiology of the Brain, BMedSci module
  • The pharmaceutical SME: corporate governance, legal & finance (Module Coordinator)

Postgraduate supervision

Attila is interested in supervising doctoral research students in the following areas:
  • Electrophysiology
  • Epilepsy
  • Hypoxia and hyperoxia
  • Network oscillations
  • Zebrafish model of epilepsy
  • High throughput recording of EEG and ECG
  • Neuroinflammation
  • Neuroanatomy
  • Visual genetics

If you are interesting in studying any of these subject areas please contact Peter on the contact details above, or for any general doctoral research enquiries, please email: or call +44 (0)121 414 5005.

For a full list of available Doctoral Research opportunities, please visit our Doctoral Research programme listings.


Using oxygen probes and multichannel recording method Professor Sik investigates the changes of cortical network oscillations in altered oxygen concentrations in vitro and in vivo, the underlying cellular mechanisms and the effect of altered oxygen on working memory.

Using similar techniques he also investigates the relationship between network activity and NO and pH fluctuations.

Using Cl-sensitive probes he investigates the activity-dependent Cl- redistribution mechanism in the hippocampus.

Professor Sik studies the mechanism of the antiepileptic effect of gap junction blockers using transgenic animals, viral methods and multichannel recording.

He investigates the role of long-range inhibitory neurons in hippocampal network oscillations. He studies the neuroanatomical characteristics of long-projection neurons, the electrophysiological nature of these cells in vivo and the effect of elimination of these neurons in network synchronization.

Using optogenetic he studies the modulatory effect of dopamine on cortical oscillations.

Professor Sik studies cortical network connections using a novel virus tract-tracing method.

Other activities

  • Editor-in-Chief: Open Access Neuroscience London, 2012-2015
  • Advisory board: Brain Structure and Function
  • Guest Editor: Information Fusion in Neuronal Signal Processing
  • Guest Editor: Computers in Biology and Medicine

Committee and Council membership, directorship

  • Federation of European Neuroscience Societies, Governing Council Member (2014-)
  • British Neuroscience Association, Treasurer (Council member, Trustees) (2014-)
  • British Neuroscience Association Charity, Director (2014-)
  • British Neuroscience Association Events Ltd, Director, (2014-)
  • British Neuroscience Association, Fundraising committee chair (2014-)
  • Publication Integrity an Ethics, Founding council member, (2013-)
  • British Neuroscience Association, National Committee, Publications Secretary (2011-13)

Committee member/reviewer:

  • Agence Nationale de la Recherché (France)
  • Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (UK)
  • Canadian Institutes of Health Research (Canada)
  • Centre de Recherché sur le cerveau, le comportement et la neuropsychiatrie (Canada)
  • Epilepsy Research (UK)
  • Human Frontiers Science Program (International)
  • Medical Research Council (UK)
  • Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (Canada)
  • The Foundation for Polish Science (Poland)

International Conference/Symposium Organizer

  • Festival of Neuroscience, 2015, Edinburgh, Program Committee
  • International Union of Physiological Sciences, 2013, Organizer and Chair (Network oscillations: binding brain areas to functional structures)
  • Festival of Neuroscience, 2017, Birmingham, Program Committee
  • Federation of European Neuroscience Societies, 2020, Glasgow, Program Committee

Professional memberships:

  • 2014- International Management Research Academy
  • 2011- British Neuroscience Association
  • 2011- The Physiological Society, UK
  • 2007- American Physiological Society
  • 2002- Microscopy Society of America
  • 1997- Society for Neuroscience
  • 1997-2001 Hungarian Neuroscience Association
  • 1997- European Neuroscience Association
  • 1991-1996 Hungarian Electron microscopy Association 


Selected best papers (H index: 177-829 in 2013):
Cumulative impact factor of published articles:  ~420; Citation: >6500, h factor> 31

A.Sík (2016) Creativity in cross-domain collaborations: searching for factors to increase efficiency, Management Research Review 39(2):144-166

Tóth A, Kátai E, Kálmán E, Bogner P, Schwarcz A, Dóczi T, Sík A and Pál J (2016) In vivo detection of hyperacute neuronal compaction and recovery by MRI following electric trauma in rats. J Magnetic Resonance Imaging [Epub ahead of print]

Zeng K, Yan J, Wang Y, Sík A, Ouyang G and Li X (2015) Automatic detection of absence seizures with compressive sensing EEG. Neurocomputing 171:497-502

Yan J, Wang Y, Yu T, Li Y, Sík A and Li X (2015) Analysis of electrocorticogram in epilepsy patients in terms of criticality. Nonlinear Dynamics 83(4):1909-17

Ferecskó as, Jiruska P, Foss l, Powell ad, Chang W-C, Sík A* and Jefferys JGR (2015) Structural and functional substrates of tetanus toxin action in an animal model of temporal lobe epilepsy. Brain Structure and Function 220(2):1013-29
*co-corresponding author

Kroeger D, Tamburri A, Amzica F and Sík A (2010) Activity dependent layer-specific changes in the extracellular chloride concentration and chloride driving force in the rat hippocampus. J Neurophysiology 103(4):1905-14

Urushitani M, Sík A, Sakurai T, Nukina N, Takahashi R and Julien JP (2005) Chromogranin-mediated secretion of mutant superoxide dismutase proteins linked to amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Nature Neuroscience 9(1):108-18

Kocsis B, Varga V, Dahan L and Sík A (2006) Serotonergic neuron diversity: identification of raphe neurons with discharges time-locked to the hippocampal theta rhythm. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 103(4):1059-64

Li S, Varga V, Sík A and Kocsis B (2005) GABAergic control of the ascending input from the median raphe nucleus to the limbic system. J Neurophysiol 94(4):2561-74

Coull JA, Boudreau D, Bachand K, Prescott SA, Nault F, Sík A, De Koninck P and De Koninck Y (2003) Trans-synaptic shift in anion gradient in spinal lamina I neurons as a mechanism of neuropathic pain. Nature 424(6951):938-42

Sík A, Hájos N, Gulácsi A, Mody I and Freund TF (1998) The absence of a major Ca2+ signaling pathway in GABAergic neurons of the hippocampus. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 95(6):3245-50

Sík A, Ylinen A, Penttonen M and Buzsaki G (1994) Inhibitory CA1-CA3-hilar region feedback in the hippocampus. Science 265(5179):1772-4

Sík A, Penttonen M, Ylinen A and Buzsaki G (1995) Hippocampal CA1 interneurons: An in vivo intracellular labeling study. J Neurosci 15(10):6651-65

Gulyas AI, Miles R, Sík A, Toth K and Freund TF (1993) Hippocampal pyramidal neurons excite nonpyramidal cells via single release sitesNature 366(6456):683-7

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