About Computational Neuroscience & Neurophysiology
In contrast to other fields in biology, mathematical thinking and methodology have become entrenched in neuroscience since its very beginning, as witnessed by the classical work of Hodgkin and Huxley. Indeed, important developments in mathematics, and particularly in statistics (for example, point processes theory), have their roots in this field.
One of the biggest open challenges mathematicians and engineers face, is understanding the complex computation that takes place in our brain. Among the most interesting parts of the brain, is the `little brain’, otherwise known as the cerebellum. The cerebellum is of critical importance for sensory-motor control and learning and its disruption causes a dramatic neurological syndrome called ataxia.
The granular layer forms the input stage of the cerebellum in which information coming from the peripheral and central systems converge through the mossy fibers. The granular layer has by far the smallest(∼ 5μm) and the most numerous neurons(∼ 10^11 ) in humans. Understanding how the granular layer process information appears critical to understand the cerebellar function, since signals coming into upper cortical layers are provided by the granular layer.
Current focus in theoretical neuroscience studies here at ASBT is the detailed modeling of cerebellar cells and its network functions.
DBT Project on Computational Neuroscience
A new grant has been sanctioned by the Department of Biotechnology(DBT) of the Government of India.
The goal of the project is to construct a biophysically detailed model of a central neuronal network to test function of brain circuits and its disorders. The project is for 3 years.
Indo – Italy Project
A joint project proposal for Exchange of Researchers within the frame of the Executive Programme of Scientific and Technological Cooperation between the Replubic of India and the Italian Republic for the years 2012 – 2014 has been selected.
The proposal will enable researchers from India (Amrita University) and from Italy (University of Milan, University of Pavia and Italian Institute of Technology at Genova) to collaborate on a new project using bio-inspired architecture for robotics.
Connecting Neuroscience, modeling and robotic control will be on of the main goals in this project.
Recent work on Virtual Labs was presented at the GUIDE conference titled “E-learning innovative models for the integration of education, technology and research” held at Rome, Italy from Nov 18-19, 2011.
GUIDE International Conference 2011 is organized by Guide Association in collaboration with the Università degli Studi “Guglielmo Marconi” of Rome. Global Universities in Distance Education (GUIDE) – is a non-profit, non-political and non-secretarial organization, which is not aligned to any party ideology. This 2011 GUIDE conference focused on the e-evaluation, e-assessment and self-assessment process that enable both teachers and students to assess the ongoing acquisition of knowledge as well as to build flexible learning paths.
Representing Amrita’s work on Virtual Labs, a talk and a paper titled “Virtual Labs: Pervasive education & scenes from an ICT perspective” was presented. Amrita University with IITs are part of the National mission in Education through ICT to create and disseminate online laboratories for Engineering and Science education.
Recent developments at the lab was presented at the Bernstein conference held at University of Freiburg in Germany from Oct 4-6, 2011.
The work was titled “Information processing in the cerebellum granular layer and changes in plasticity revealing single neuron effects in neural ensembles”.In the presented work, an estimate of information flow in terms of spikes in the cerebellum granular layer was discussed. Information transmission at the Mossy Fiber (MF) – Granule cell (GrC) synaptic connection is crucial to understand mechanisms of signal coding in the cerebellum . The work involved the computational models developed in the lab and overall attributes connecting how single neurons influence what is seen as population signals were illustrated.
Italian Society of Physiology (SIF) meeting
Amrita Computational Neuroscience study on local field potentials was presented at the Italian Society of Physiology (SIF) meeting held at Sorrento near Naples in Italy from Sept 25-27, 2011.
The meeting’s presentation was a work in collaboration with University of Milan’s Prof Giovanni Naldi and University of Pavia’s Prof. Egidio D’Angelo. The work was titled “Modeling evoked local field potentials in the cerebellum granular layer and plasticity changes reveal single neuron effects in neural ensembles” and was scheduled in the “Neurobiology and neurophysiology” session.
The study has been published as part of ACTA PHYSIOLOGICA, Official journal of the federation of European Physiological Societies, September 2011, Volume 203, Supplement 688.
July 13, 2011
Lab members Harilal Parasuraman and Krishna Chaitanya Medini participate in two international workshops. Amrita NEWS coverage is available here.
Harilal participates at the brain and cognition workshop at Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore organized by Department of Science and Technology and the Indo-US Science and Technology forum has been aimed at techniques and concepts of systems and cognitive neuroscience. The workshop is scheduled between July 5-15, 2011.
The Computational Neuroscience Cold Spring Harbor Asia School in China has accepted Krishna Chaitanya Medini as a participant. The course meeting is from July 16-31,2011 at Suzhou, China.
July 11, 2011
The book is titled Computational Neuroscience of Granule Neurons: Biophysical modeling of single neuron and network functions of the cerebellum granular layer. Published by Lambert Academic Publishing, Germany, it is priced at $101.00 (or 68.00 €).The book is available for purchase at amazon.com and other online as well as brick-and-mortar bookstores around the world.
Authored by Dr. Shyam Diwakar, the book uses computational modelling to analyze neuronal processing to determine the possible role and function of a neuron in a particular neural microcircuit.
“Using mathematical biophysics, studies of neurons and neuronal hypotheses have become easier, thanks to increased computational resources,”
“The initial chapters of the book serve as a quick reference for biophysics of neural computation. This book should be useful as a user manual for making biophysically detailed computational models of neurons and learning how these models can be used to understand the role of neurons in population coding.”
“Some properties of neurons have been noted to play a role in population coding and in network function. This book discusses a new algorithm, ‘ReConv’ for reconstructing local field potentials (LFPs) from detailed models of neurons. The algorithm has the ability to predict the relationship between cellular processes and their manifestation during circuit activity in vivo.”
May 31, 2011
For educating classroom students with Neuronal biophysics, a new neuron simulator has been developed. The simulator models the properties of a Hodgkin-Huxley neuronal model. A full virtual lab has been developed using the graphical web-based Neuron simulator and models a section of excitable neuronal membrane using the Hodgkin-Huxley equations. Various experiments will deal with the several parameters of Hodgkin-Huxley equations and will model resting and action potentials, voltage and current clamp, pharmacological effects of drugs that block specific channels etc.
Anyone may freely use the simulator for classroom education and as workbook exercise. The web-link ishttp://amrita.vlab.co.in/?sub=3&brch=212
This simulator will also complement exercises in the Virtual Neurophysiology laboratory.To use the Virtual Lab, one may need the Adobe flash plugin.
May 31, 2011
A new grant has been sanctioned by the Department of Science and Technology of the Government of India under the cognitive Science initiative (CSI).
Cognitive Science is the study of the processes by which the humans and other animals come to know properties of their external environment and convert that knowledge into action as well as relay that knowledge to others by means of communication.
January 31, 2011
“What an eye opening experience our visit to Amrita has been!” stated Dr. Judson Harward, from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), who recently spent some time visiting our large campuses at Amritapuri, Coimbatore and Kochi.
Dr. Judson was accompanied by his associate Mr. James Hardison, also from MIT. Both men are associated with MIT’s Center for Educational Computing Initiatives, the former serving as its Associate Director and the latter working there as research engineer.
At their visit to the compneuro lab, they were keen on understanding the remote experiment setup and on the possibilities on neuroscience based educational experiments.
Back home, Dr. Judson is involved in MIT’s celebrated iLab Project, that provides access to real laboratory experiments to students via the Internet, allowing educators to provide an online lab experience for distance learners.
“Scientists and engineers typically believe that laboratory experimentation is a critically important part of training in their fields,” stated Dr. Judson. “Due to logistical or resource constraints, however, students are often denied such laboratory experiences.”
“During a decade of the project’s evolution, iLabs have allowed us to reexamine what the role of labs can and should be in education. We have found that online labs help introduce students to the fundamental engineering cycle of requirements analysis, design, implementation, testing and evaluation.”
“Amrita University is devoting great originality and energy to their program of remote labs,” stated Dr. Judson. “They need to publish their efforts more widely to let the field know what they are doing.”
January 30, 2011
Can the biological equivalent of action potential reproduced through electrical circuits? Here, we address this question by generating the action potential on electrical hardware built with simple components which can be remotely triggered by the user.
Control interface... »»