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Emerging Groups

CONNECT: Understanding complex nervous system performance in health and disease

Abstract: To causally explain nervous system performance is a fundamental goal of neuroscience. This endeavor requires research on all levels of the nervous system from the microscopic via the mesoscopic right through to the macroscopic scale: structure / function relations of molecules, the genetic determination of cellular processes, the identity and synaptic connectivity of neurons that constitute neural microcircuits, the composition of neural networks and their interaction.

In the past decades great progress has been made in understanding the details of neural processes that act at each of these levels. However, the consequences of this detailed analysis for the system function is often difficult to reveal, especially across levels. Solutions for this problem are offered by a prosperous, relatively new field in neuroscience, that is computational neuroscience. Incorporating experimental findings obtained at all levels of the nervous system into models based on mathematical descriptions, using methods of information technology, will allow us to generate novel hypotheses about complex systems performance and dysfunction thereof in neurological or psychiatric disease.

For example, modeling approaches can be used to capture the dynamics of molecular interactions and pathways, cellular neuronal properties, network interactions from simple small networks to large scale network interactions, and, finally, simulations of the interaction of the nervous system with its environment.

The primary aim of our Emerging Group is to foster already existing collaborations between experimental and clinical neuroscientists and theoreticians at the University of Cologne (UoC) and to integrate further excellent researchers from both the UoC and partner institutions that belong to the Research Alliance Cologne, i.e. the Max Planck Institute of Neurological Research and the Institute of Neuroscience and Medicine at the Research Center Ju?lich into new research alliance (CONNECT). This activity shall allow for forming new, creative and highly effective paths the interplay between experimental neuroscientists and theoreticians that will allow us to establish the UoC on the international map of top research places in the area of neuroscience.

Funding Period:

01.01.2014 – 30.04.2019