Ritter Lab

April 29, 2021 | 10:00-12:00 | ZOOM

Project B06

10:00 PETRA RITTER (PI) Short Welcome

The Virtual Brain – Simulation as a Service on the EBRAINS platform
Multiscale co-simulation software
Multiscale co-simulation research
Integrating pathways and atlases in brain models

The Virtual Brain
The challenge in studying the brain as a complex adaptive system is that complexity
arises from the interactions of structure and function at different spatiotemporal scales.
Neuroimaging can provide exquisite measures of structure and function separately, but
misses the fact that the brain complexity emerges from the intersection of the two. Here
is where computational modelling of brain networks can help. Models that simulate
different combinations of subordinate features of behaviour of a complex system that
often can only be measured invasively (e.g. local population dynamics and long-range
interactions) identify the combination of features that most likely give rise to emergent
behaviour that often is observable noninvasively (e.g. EEG, MEG, fMRI) – and importantly
those that are less likely. We can exploit the power of large-scale network models to
integrate disparate neuroimaging data sources and evaluate the potential underlying
biophysical network mechanisms. This approach is now feasible in a whole-brain
simulation platform, TheVirtualBrain (TVB). TVB integrates empirical neuroimaging data
from different modalities to construct biologically plausible computational models of brain
network dynamics. TVB is a generative model wherein biophysical parameters for the
level of cell population activity and anatomical connectivity are optimized/fitted so that
they generate an individual’s observed data in humans, macaques or rodents. The
inferences about brain dynamics, complexity, and the relation to cognition are thus made
at the level of the biophysical features (e.g., balance of excitation and inhibition in a cell
population) that generated the observed data, rather than particular features of the data
(e.g. functional connectivity). For clinical research with The Virtual Brain, two research
directions seem especially promising. One approach is to use brain network modelling in
order to create a better understanding of the biological mechanisms underlying an
illness, with the goal to design and develop better diagnostic and therapeutic tools.
Another approach is to fit TVB models with empirical data in order to find parameters that
can be used as health status indicators for diagnosis, in order to predict therapeutic
outcomes – to decide between therapy alternatives or to guide surgical intervention
specifically and individually for each patient. TVB is a reference tool for Europe’s new
EBRAINS platform.

Participating Institutions