This track will address modern research areas related to Neurobiology, Neuroinformatics and Computational Neuroscience targeting upstream and downstream research achievements, industrial needs and research opportunities in the field of Neuroscience.
Biology of cerebellum, hippocampus and neocortex
Cellular, molecular and systems neuroscience
Techniques in neurobiology and neuroengineering
Biology of neurons, synapses and glial cells
Neurodegenerative and major neural diseases
Motor control and cognitive modeling
Neurobiology of vision, perception, fear and sleep
Neural basis for consciousness
Shyam Diwakar, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor, Amrita School of Biotechnology
Upinder S. Bhalla, Ph.D.
Professor & Dean, NCBS, Bengaluru, India
Watching the network change during the formation of associative memory
The process of learning is measured through behavioural changes, but it is of enormous interest to understand its cellular and network basis. We used 2-photon imaging of hippocampal CA1 pyramidal neuron activity in mice to monitor such changes during the acquisition of a trace conditioning task. One of the questions in such learning is how the network retains a trace of a brief conditioned stimulus (a sound), until the arrival of a delayed unconditioned stimulus (a puff of air to the eye). During learning, the mice learn to blink when the tone is presented, well before the arrival of the air puff.
The mice learnt this task in 20-50 trials. We observed that in this time-frame the cells in the network changed the time of their peak activity, such that their firing times tiled the interval between sound and air puff. Thus the cells seem to form a relay of activity. We also observed an evolution in functional connectivity in the network, as measured by groupings of correlated cells. These groupings were stable till the learning protocol commenced, and then changed. Thus we have been able to observe two aspects of network learning: changes in activity (relay firing), and changes in connectivity (correlation groups).
Gaute Einevoll, Ph.D.
Professor of Physics, Department of Mathematical Sciences & Technology, Norwegian University of Life Sciences (UMB)
Multiscale modeling of cortical network activity: Key challenges
Gaute T. Einevoll Computational Neuroscience Group, Norwegian University of Life Sciences, 1432 Ås, Norway; Norwegian National Node of the International Neuroinformatics Coordinating Facility (INCF)
Several challenges must be met in the development of multiscale models of cortical network activity. In the presentation I will, based on ongoing work in our group (http://compneuro.umb.no/ ) on multiscale modeling of cortical columns, outline some of them. In particular,
Combined modeling schemes for neuronal, glial and vascular dynamics [1,2],
Development of sets of interconnected models describing system at different levels of biophysical detail [3-5],
Multimodal modeling, i.e., how to model what you can measure [6-12],
How to model when you don’t know all the parameters, and
Development of neuroinformatics tools and routines to do simulations efficiently and accurately [13,14].
- L. Øyehaug, I. Østby, C. Lloyd, S.W. Omholt, and G.T. Einevoll: Dependence of spontaneous neuronal firing and depolarisation block on astroglial membrane transport mechanisms, J Comput Neurosci 32, 147-165 (2012)
- I. Østby, L. Øyehaug, G.T. Einevoll, E. Nagelhus, E. Plahte, T. Zeuthen, C. Lloyd, O.P. Ottersen, and S.W. Omholt: Astrocytic mechanisms explaining neural-activity-induced shrinkage of extraneuronal space, PLoS Comp Biol 5, e1000272 (2009)
- T. Heiberg, B. Kriener, T. Tetzlaff, A. Casti, G.T. Einevoll, and H.E. Plesser: Firing-rate models can describe the dynamics of the retina-LGN connection, J Comput Neurosci (2013)
- T. Tetzlaff, M. Helias, G.T. Einevoll, and M. Diesmann: Decorrelation of neural-network activity by inhibitory feedback, PLoS Comp Biol 8, e10002596 (2012).
- E. Nordlie, T. Tetzlaff, and G.T. Einevoll: Rate dynamics of leaky integrate-and-fire neurons with strong synapses, Frontiers in Comput Neurosci 4, 149 (2010)
- G.T. Einevoll, F. Franke, E. Hagen, C. Pouzat, K.D. Harris: Towards reliable spike-train recording from thousands of neurons with multielectrodes, Current Opinion in Neurobiology 22, 11-17 (2012)
- H. Linden, T Tetzlaff, TC Potjans, KH Pettersen, S Grun, M Diesmann, GT Einevoll: Modeling the spatial reach of LFP, Neuron 72, 859-872 (2011).
- H. Linden, K.H. Pettersen, and G.T. Einevoll: Intrinsic dendritic filtering gives low-pass power spectra of local field potentials, J Computational Neurosci 29, 423-444 (2010)
- K.H. Pettersen and G.T. Einevoll: Amplitude variability and extracellular low-pass filtering of neuronal spikes, Biophysical Journal 94, 784-802 (2008).
- K.H. Pettersen, E. Hagen, and G.T. Einevoll: Estimation of population firing rates and current source densities from laminar electrode recordings, J Comput Neurosci 24, 291-313 (2008).
- K. Pettersen, A. Devor, I. Ulbert, A.M. Dale and G.T. Einevoll. Current-source density estimation based on inversion of electrostatic forward solution: Effects of finite extent of neuronal activity and conductivity discontinuities, Journal of Neuroscience Methods 154, 116-133 (2006).
- G.T. Einevoll, K. Pettersen, A. Devor, I. Ulbert, E. Halgren and A.M. Dale: Laminar Population Analysis: Estimating firing rates and evoked synaptic activity from multielectrode recordings in rat barrel cortex, Journal of Neurophysiology 97, 2174-2190 (2007).
- LFPy: A tool for simulation of extracellular potentials (http://compneuro.umb.no)
- E. Nordlie, M.-O. Gewaltig, H. E. Plesser: Towards reproducible descriptions of neuronal network models, PLoS Comp Biol 5, e1000456 (2009).
Pravat Mandal, Ph.D.
Professor, Neurospectroscopy & Neuroimaging, National Brain Research Center, India
Krishnakumar Menon, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, Centre for Nanosciences & Molecular Medicine, Amrita University, Kochi, India
A Far-Western Clinical Proteomics Approach to Detect Molecules of Clinical and Pathological Significance in the Neurodegenerative Disease Multiple Sclerosis.
Multiple Sclerosis (MS), an autoimmune neurodegenerative disorder of the central nervous system. The disease affects young adults at their prime age leading to severe debilitation over several years. Despite advances in MS research, the cause of the disease remains elusive. Thus, our objective is to identify novel molecules of pathological and diagnostic significance important in the understanding, early diagnosis and treatment of MS. Biological fluids such as cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), that bathe the brain serve as a potential source for the identification of pathologically significant autoantibody reactivity in MS. In this regard, we report the development of an unbiased clinical proteomics approach for the detection of reactive CSF molecules that target brain proteins from patients with MS. Proteins of myelin and myelin-axolemmal complexes were separated by two-dimensional gel electrophoresis, blotted onto membranes and probed separately with biotinylated unprocessed CSF samples. Protein spots that reacted specifically to MS-CSF’s were further analyzed by matrix assisted laser desorption ionization-time-of-flight time-of-flight mass spectrometry. In addition to previously reported proteins found in MS, we have identified several additional molecules involved in mitochondrial and energy metabolism, myelin gene expression and/or cytoskeletal organization. Among these identified molecules, the cellular expression pattern of collapsin response mediator protein-2 and ubiquitin carboxy-terminal hydrolase L1 were investigated in human chronic-active MS lesions by immunohistochemistry. The observation that in multiple sclerosis lesions phosphorylated collapsin response mediator protein-2 was increased, whereas Ubiquitin carboxy-terminal hydrolase L1 was down-regulated, not only highlights the importance of these molecules in the pathology of this disease, but also illustrates the use of our approach in attempting to decipher the complex pathological processes leading to multiple sclerosis and other neurodegenerative diseases. Further, we show that in clinicaly isolated syndrome (CIS), we could identify important molecules that could serve as an early diagnostic biomarker in MS.
Claudia AM Wheeler-Kingshott, Ph.D.
University Reader in Magnetic Resonance Physics, Department of Neuroinflammation, UCL Institute of Neurology, London, UK
Detecting neuronal activity in vivo non-invasively is possible with a number of techniques. Amongst these, in 1990 functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) was proposed as a technique that has a great ability to spatially map brain activity by exploiting the blood oxygenation level dependent (BOLD) contrast mechanism [1, 2]. In fact, neuronal activation triggers a demand for oxygen and induces a localised increase in blood flow and blood volume, which actually exceeds the metabolic needs. This in turns causes an increase of oxyhaemoglobin in the venous compartment, which is a transient phenomenon and is accompanied by a transient change (decrease) in the concentration of deoxyhaemoglobin. Due to its paramagnetic properties, the amount of deoxyhaemoglobin present in the venous blood affects the local magnetic field seen by the spins (protons) and determines the local properties of the MR signal. A decrease in deoxyhaemoglobin during neuronal activity, therefore, induces local variations of this magnetic field that increases the average transverse relaxation time of tissue, measured via the T2* parameter . This means that there is an increase of the MR signal (of the order of a few %, typically <5%) linked to metabolic changes happening during brain function. Activation can be inferred at different brain locations by performing tasks while acquiring the MR signal and comparing periods of rest to periods of activity.
The macroscopic changes of the BOLD signal are well characterised, while the reason for the increased blood supply, exceeding demands, needs further thoughts. Here we will discuss two approaches for explaining the BOLD phenomenon, one that links it to adenosine triphosphate production  and enzyme saturation, the other that relates it to the very slow diffusion of oxygen through the blood-brain-barrier with a consequent compensatory high demand of oxygen . Some evidence of restricted oxygen diffusion has been shown by means of hypercapnia , although it is not excluded that both mechanisms may be present.
Overall, the BOLD signal changes theory and its physiological basis will be presented and discussed.
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- Gjedde, A., et al. Reduction of functional capillary density in human brain after stroke. J Cereb Blood Flow Metab, 1990. 10(3): p. 317-26.
- Hoge, R.D., et al., Linear coupling between cerebral blood flow and oxygen consumption in activated human cortex. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A, 1999. 96(16): p. 9403-8.
Rohit Manchanda, Ph.D.
Professor, Biomedical Engineering Group, IIT-Bombay, India
Modelling the syncytial organization and neural control of smooth muscle: insights into autonomic physiology and pharmacology
We have been studying computationally the syncytial organization and neural control of smooth muscle in order to help explain certain puzzling findings thrown up by experimental work. This relates in particular to electrical signals generated in smooth muscles, such as synaptic potentials and spikes, and how these are explicable only if three-dimensional syncytial biophysics are taken fully into account. In this talk, I shall provide an illustration of outcomes and insights gleaned from such an approach. I shall first describe our work on the mammalian vas deferens, in which an analysis of the effects of syncytial coupling led us to conclude that the experimental effects of a presumptive gap junction uncoupler, heptanol, on synaptic potentials were incompatible with gap junctional block and could best be explained by a heptanol-induced inhibition of neurotransmitter release, thus compelling a reinterpretation of the mechanism of action of this agent. I shall outline the various lines of evidence, based on indices of syncytial function, that we adduced in order to reach this conclusion. We have now moved on to our current focus on urinary bladder biophysics, where the questions we aim to address are to do with mechanisms of spike generation. Smooth muscle cells in the bladder exhibit spontaneous spiking and spikes occur in a variety of distinct shapes, making their generation problematic to explain. We believe that the variety in shapes may owe less to intrinsic differences in spike mechanism (i.e., in the complement of ion channels participating in spike production) and more to features imposed by syncytial biophysics. We focus especially on the modulation of spike shape in a 3-D coupled network by such factors as innervation pattern, propagation in a syncytium, electrically finite bundles within and between which the spikes spread, and some degree of pacemaker activity by a sub-population of the cells. I shall report two streams of work that we have done, and the tentative conclusions these have enabled us to reach: (a) using the NEURON environment, to construct the smooth muscle syncytium and endow it with synaptic drive, and (b) using signal-processing approaches, towards sorting and classifying the experimentally recorded spikes.
Egidio D’Angelo, MD, Ph.D.
Full Professor of Physiology & Director, Brain Connectivity Center, University of Pavia, Italy
Realistic modeling: new insight into the functions of the cerebellar network
Realistic modeling is an approach based on the careful reconstruction of neurons synapses starting from biological details at the molecular and cellular level. This technique, combined with the connection topologies derived from histological measurements, allows the reconstruction of precise neuronal networks. Finally, the advent of specific software platforms (PYTHON-NEURON) and of super-computers allows large-scale network simulation to be performed in reasonable time. This approach inverts the logics of older theoretical models, which anticipated an intuition on how the network might work. In realistic modeling, network properties “emerge” from the numerous biological properties embedded into the model.
This approach is illustrated here through an outstanding application of realistic modeling to the cerebellar cortex network. The neurons (over 105) are reproduced at a high level of detail generating non-linear network effects like population oscillations and resonance, phase-reset, bursting, rebounds, short-term and long-term plasticity, spatiotemporal redistrbution of input patterns. The model is currently being used in the context of he HUMAN BRAIN PROJECT to investigate the cerebellar network function.
Correspondence should be addressed to
Laboratory of Neurophysiology
Via Forlanini 6, 27100 Pavia, Italy
Phone: 0039 (0) 382 987606
Fax: 0039 (0) 382 987527
This work was supported by grants from European Union to ED (CEREBNET FP7-ITN238686, REALNET FP7-ICT270434) and by grants from the Italian Ministry of Health to ED (RF-2009-1475845).
Aditya Murthy, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, Centre For Neuroscience, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, India
Since Karl Lashley’s seminal work on the formulation of serial order, numerous models assume simultaneous representation of competitive elements of a sequence, to account for serial order effects in different types of behavior like typing, speech, etc. Such models follow two basic assumptions: (1) more than one plan representation can be simultaneously active in a planning layer; (2) the most active plan is chosen in another layer called the competitive choice layer. Using the oculomotor system I will describe behavioral and neurophysiological experiments that tests the two critical predictions of such queuing models, providing evidence that basal ganglia in monkeys and humans instantiate a form of queuing that transforms parallel movement representations into more serial representations, allowing for the expression of sequential saccadic eye movements.
K. P. Mohanakumar, Ph.D.
Chief Scientist, Cell Biology & Physiology Division, Indian Institute of Chemical Biology, Kolkata
Neuroprotective and neurodestructive effects of Ayurvedic drug constituents: Parkinson’s disease
The present study reports the good and the bad entities in an Indian traditional medicine used for treating Parkinson’s disease (PD). A prospective clinical trial on the effectiveness of Ayurvedic medication in a population of PD patients revealed significant benefits, which has been attributed to L-DOPA present in the herbs . Later studies revealed better benefits with one of the herbs alone, compared to pure L-DOPA in a clinical trial conducted in UK , and in several studies conducted on animal models of PD in independent laboratories world over [3-5]. We have adapted strategies to segregate molecules from the herb, and then carefully removed L-DOPA contained therein, and tested each of these sub-fractions for anti-PD activity in 1-methyl-4-phenyl-1,2,3,6-tetrahydropyridine, rotenone and 6-hydroxydopamine -induced parkinsonian animal models, and transgenic mitochondrial cybrids. We report here two classes of molecules contained in the herb, one of which possessed severe pro-parkinsonian (phenolic amine derivatives) and the other having excellent anti-parkinsonian potential (substituted tetrahydroisoquinoline derivatives). The former has been shown to cause severe dopamine depletion in the striatum of rodents, when administered acutely or chronically. It also caused significant behavioral aberrations, leading to anxiety and depression . The latter class of molecules administered in PD animal model , caused reversal of behavioral dysfunctions and significant attenuation of striatal dopamine loss. These effects were comparable or better than the effects of the anti-PD drugs, selegiline or L-DOPA. The mechanism of action of the molecule has been found to be novel, at the postsynaptic receptor signaling level, as well as cellular α-synuclein oligomerization and specifically at mitochondria. The molecule helped in maintaining mitochondrial ETC complex activity and stabilized cellular respiration, and mitochondrial fusion-fission machinery with specific effect on the dynamin related protein 1. Although there existed significant medical benefits that could be derived to patients due to the synergistic actions of several molecules present in a traditional preparation, accumulated data in our hands suggest complicated mechanisms of actions of Ayurvedic medication. Our results also provide great hope for extracting, synthesizing and optimizing the activity of anti-parkinsonian molecules present in traditional Ayurvedic herbs, and for designing novel drugs with novel mechanisms of action.
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David Ibanez, Laura Dubreuil and Alejandro Rier
Neurofeedback (NF) is a type of biofeedback that uses real time display of electroencephalography to illustrate brain activity. EEG features are extracted and displayed allowing the user to, with practice, modulate their temporal evolution. Neurofeedback training has many therapeutic applications such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), migraine, depression or conduct disorders. This document presents NeuroSurfer, a novel general-purpose tool for neurofeedback training with a use case of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) treatment.