CNS*2021 Online: Workshops Program

The detailed schedule that includes links to the video streams is hosted on our Sched instance. The instance is password protected to prevent these links from falling into the hands of trolls. Please register for CNS*20201 to receive the password.

For inquiries related to these workshops, please contact the workshop coordinator at [email protected], or the individual workshop organizers listed below.


List of workshops

W1: Computational approaches for studying astrocyte dynamics and astrocyte-neuron communication

Organizers: Kerstin Lenk, Audrey Denizot, Barbara Genocchi, Suhita Nadkarni, Marsa Taheri.

Description: Exciting experimental studies in the last decade mainly due to advances in technology and availability of target-specific pharmacological tools have led to an entirely new body of work on the participation of astrocytes in normal and pathological brain function. However, the development of a solid theoretical framework to support and quantify some of the pathways has been somewhat limited, first due to the lack of intensive collaboration between the experimentalists and the theorists, second due to a persistent neurocentrist view of brain function. In this workshop, we wish to bring together specialists, theorists, and experimentalists in the field of astrocyte-neuron signaling to initiate a working dialogue between them. The field of neuron astrocyte communication has come into its own and provides a perspective in contrast to the traditional neuron-centric approach to address questions in neuroscience. The online nature of the workshop, devoid of traveling constraints, promotes wider participation. In line with being inclusive, our speaker list comprises scientists from diverse backgrounds and ethnicity. We have especially tried to include scientists in the early stages of their careers.

Speakers: Alla Borisyuk, Max Collard, Audrey Denizot, Yukiko Goda, Laszlo Heja, Renaud Jolivet, Kerstin Lenk, Anup Pillai, Annalisa Scimemi, Ron Refaeli, Jennifer Shih, Guoqiang Yu.


W2: Methods of Information Theory in Computational Neuroscience

Organizers: Michael Wibral, Abdullah Makkeh, Joseph T. Lizier, Justin Dauwels.

Description: Methods originally developed in Information Theory have found wide applicability in computational neuroscience. Beyond these original methods there is a need to develop novel tools and approaches that are driven by problems arising in neuroscience. A number of researchers in computational/systems neuroscience and in information/ communication theory are investigating problems of information representation and processing. While the goals are often the same, these researchers bring different perspectives and points of view to a common set of neuroscience problems. Often they participate in different fora and their interaction is limited. The goal of the workshop is to bring some of these researchers together to discuss challenges posed by neuroscience and to exchange ideas and present their latest work. The workshop is targeted towards computational and systems neuroscientists with interest in methods of information theory as well as information/communication theorists with interest in neuroscience. Potential topics for talks include, but are not limited to: spike coding and modelling, characterising information processing, testing coding hypotheses, and information dynamics and computation.

Speakers: Li Zhaoping, Tatyana Sharpee, Fleur Zeldenrust, Aline Viol, Fernando Rosas, Aaron Gutknecht, Lucas Rudelt, Sarah Marzen, Claudius Gros, Daniel Braun, Madhavun Candadai, Rodrigo Corfe Torres, Thomas Varley, Shuai Shao, Jake Witter.


W3: Graph modeling of macroscopic brain functional activity dynamics

Organizers: Ashish Raj, Parul Verma.

Description: Recent neuroimaging studies indicate that the brain's functional activity does not remain static even while resting. The spatiotemporal pattern of this activity varies in different neurological diseases. Currently, the mechanism of these dynamics is unclear and various statistical and mathematical modeling approaches are being undertaken to investigate its biophysics. In this workshop, we have put together recent statistical and mathematical modeling efforts aimed towards understanding dynamic macroscopic functional activity. We focus largely on graph-based macroscopic systems for this purpose, since at the macroscopic scale, brain regions interact with each other via long range projection fibers – a network organization that is best addressed using graph theory. Graph theory is not currently included in training for neuroscientists with a background in biology or physiology; conversely, computational neuroscientists are steeped in fine-scale neuronal models but may be unfamiliar with the more abstract graph theoretic approaches.

Speakers: Fei Jiang, Srikantan Nagarajan, Pratik Mukherjee, Katharina Glomb, Adeel Razi, Bill Lytton, Prejaas Tewarie, Alex Leow, Anna Cattani, Ashish Raj, Parul Verma.


W4: Clinical computational neuroscience: How computational neuroscience can solve problems from the clinic

Organizers: Xenia Kobeleva, Laure Buhry.

Description: Despite great advances in understanding of brain function using computational
neuroscience, complex neural activity analyses and models are rarely used for clinical purposes. This workshop aims to bridge this gap and to bring computational neuroscientists and clinicians together to discuss current challenges and solutions for bringing more computational neuroscience to patient-oriented questions. Topics will include translation from animal models to patients, exploration of virtual therapies and personalized medicine. Apart from several success stories of clinical computational neuroscience, we will also have discussion rounds to deepdive into current challenges of the computational neuroscience community and their potential solutions. The outcome of the workshop will be to (a) inform interested researchers on clinically relevant questions, (b) provide an overview of computational tools that can be used to answer these questions, and (c) establish a working group on clinical computational neuroscience for all interested researchers and discuss practical steps to work on the roadblocks that were identified during the workshop.

Speakers: Kirk Leech, Matthieu Gilson, Julien Modolo, Yujiang Wang, Jil Meier, Christian Meisel, Vesna Vuksanovic, Peter Hitchcock.


W5: Topological insights on brain structure and function

Organizers: Manish Saggar, Giovanni Petri.

Description: Over the past couple of decades, network science has gained considerable ground in computational neuroscience, with a shift in research from localized activations towards analysis of whole-brain networks. Most of the previous work related to brain networks has been focused on modeling pairwise interactions. However, there is a growing recognition that higher-order interactions between brain regions at the structural as well as functional level can be highly informative for understanding brain functioning. A promising framework from the field of algebraic topology and other related tools (collectively known as Topological Data Analysis or TDA) has been recently shown to provide a solution to this issue. The talks in this workshop will present a wide array of current applications of TDA in neuroscience, ranging from topological analysis of synaptic plasticity to whole-brain activity/connectivity and their dynamics. Some of the talks will also discuss the potential applications of TDA-based analysis in clinical settings.

Speakers: Raphael Liegeois, Alice Patania, Giovanni Petri, Manish Saggar, Chad Giusti, Bei Wang.


W6: Spatiotemporal brain state dynamics and their impact on behavior

Organizers: Adrian Ponce-Alvarez, Gabriela Mochol.

Description: Neural populations continuously generate spatiotemporal activity patterns at multiple scales. The study of how different brain states emerge and impact its function is a key to understand the organizing principles of brain activity. Although brain state changes were historically attributed to sleep, akin phenomena were recently observed during wakefulness, allowing the study of their impact on behavior. Moreover, current recording techniques allow to track the neural activity at unprecedented spatial and temporal resolutions going from the micro-circuit to brain-wide activity and from milliseconds to months. During the workshop, we will discuss current theoretical frameworks to study the emergence of different states in neural networks and their impact on information processing. Furthermore, we will discuss the experimental findings relating different brain states to animal behavior during complex cognitive tasks. Due to the interdisciplinary nature of the workshop, it will be interesting to a broad spectrum of CNS members ranging from experimentalists interested in brain states to theoreticians looking for cutting-edge data to constrain new models.

Speakers: Tatiana Engel, Anna Levina, Valentin Dragoi, Enzo Tagliazucchi.


W7: Multiscale approaches to link microscopic complexity with brain rhythms at large scales

Organizers: David Angulo-Garcia, Matteo Di Volo

Description: The workshop will focus on recent advances in mean field models (MFM), linking the microscopic scale (neurons) with the collective dynamics of neuronal networks. Several approaches exist today to model the mean activity of neural networks and we want to bring them together, discussing advantages and disadvantages of different techniques. This is a timing opportunity to reach an unified view on population models of brain activity at the mesoscopic scale, paving the way to obtain biologically realistic whole brain models. The workshop will focus on the application of MFM to model brain oscillations and the interactions between neural rhythms (e.g. cross-frequency coupling). The general goal is to discuss the circuit mechanisms behind brain rhythms and how they are affected by the underlying complexity of the microscopic constituents. A special emphasis will be given to the capacity of recent MFM to keep track of such microscopic complexity, expressed by an astonishingly high heterogeneity among neurons and endogenous fluctuations due to sparse connectivity. The impact of microscopic heterogeneity and of neural diversity for emergent dynamics is a timing and unsolved topic in neuroscience, that requires a multi-scale computational approach.

Speakers: John Rinzel, Alain Destexhe, Moritz Helias, Ernest Montbrio, Boris Gutkin , Aine Byrne, Spase Petkoski, Cristiano Capone, David Angulo-Garcia , Richard Gast , Hugh Osborne, Halgurd Taher.


W8: Dissecting the role of interneurons in mnemonic functions using computational modelling approaches

Organizers: Alexandra Tzilivaki, Spiros Chavlis

Description: GABAergic interneurons comprise one of the main types of cells in the mammalian nervous system. They play a critical role in learning and memory processes via inhibition and disinhibition pathways. Interneurons exhibit a variety of structural, molecular, electrophysiological and connectivity features. This high degree of variability makes it quite challenging to delineate their role in mnemonic functions through current experimental approaches. Computational modeling approaches, on the other hand, are a prominent tool used to predict their contribution to acquisition, storage and retrieval of information. The aim of this workshop is to present the latest computational work that
highlights the function of interneurons in learning and memory processes. Additionally, we will actively discuss the next steps on how modeling approaches, from single cell to network models level, would benefit future research on interneurons as pertaining to mnemonic functions.

Speakers: Ivan Soltesz, Claudia Clopath, William Stacey, Claudio Mirasso, Maria Geffen.


W9: Dynamic properties of brain states and their transitions

Organizers: Alain Destexhe, Jennifer Goldman, Alessandra Camassa, Mavi Sanchez-Vives.

Description: Computational neuroscience offers insights into the dynamical properties of the brain under different states of awareness. The classification of brain states is relevant not only for the multiscale investigation of circuits and full brain networks, but also clinically relevant for the diagnosis (and eventual treatment) of disorders of sleep and consciousness, and to identify novel targets for anesthesia. The temporal and spatial features of activity patterns generated by the brain under different states provide information about the computations carried out by the brain during different states, and the mechanisms and dynamics underlying transitions across states. The joint effort of experimentalists and computational neuroscientists results in electrophysiological, imaging, and simulated data that span space-time scales, to provide unique insights into brain dynamics and novel explanations of observed phenomena, providing new possibilities for overcoming experimental limitations. In this workshop we bring together a wide range of experimental and clinical approaches, analysis techniques and computational models, generating multimodal and multiscale data and simulations to characterize the spontaneous spatiotemporal activity of the brain, its responsiveness, complexity, and dynamical properties under different brain states. We also open to floor to discuss which are the main open questions in the field.

Speakers: Mavi Sanchez-Vives, Albecht Stroh, David McCormick, Marcello Massimini, Alessandra Camassa, Morten Kringelbach, Viktor Jirsa, Alessandro Arena, Maurizio Mattia, Gustavo Deco, Cristiano Capone, Alain Destexhe, Jennifer Goldman.


W10: Training resources for cross initiative data-driven modeling workflows

Organizers: Sharon Crook, Malin Sandstrom, Training Task Force of the Data Standards and Sharing Working Group of the International Brain Initiative

Description: While many BRAIN Initiatives and other resources have publicly available training materials that are associated with the data and software platforms that they produce, the global neuroscience community lacks training resources and documentation about data and modeling workflows that span initiatives. We aim to fill in these gaps for one community – researchers building data-driven models of neurons and neuron circuit models. The goal of this workshop is to bring this community together to identify existing training materials and gaps that can be filled so that a coherent “course” on this topic can be assembled and shared at the INCF Training Space. Over time, additional workflows and resources can be added so that researchers can identify relevant resources efficiently and find the information that they need to use them.

Speakers: Kenji Doya, Sharon Crook, Matthew Abrams, Andrew Davison, Shinya Ito, Kaitlyn Casimo.



Back to top