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Keynote Talk 4

Bottom-up and top-down strategies for multiscale brain modeling

Egidio D’angelo, University of Pavia,Italy


Neuroscience is experiencing a rapid progress of brain modeling promising breakthroughs in ICT, AI and medicine. However, addressing the multiscale brain organization, which is believed to be fundamental for the brain’s dynamic repertoire, remains challenging. On  one hand, detailed models of neurons and synapses can be connected into large neuronal assemblies, helping to explain the relationship between network activities and microscopic phenomena. The main issue here is that these simulations rapidly increase in complexity and computational cost when large networks are simulated.  On the other hand, whole-brain models can be constructed to infer neuronal functions from ensemble measurements like those  obtained with MRI or EEG. The major limit in this case is that single neurons and synapses are usually not accounted for. In this talk, I will explain how the bottom-up models (generated from the principles of neuronal biophysics) and the top-down models (based on network and ensemble representations of brain activity) can be developed and simulated. Moreover, I will show how detailed models of brain circuits can be embedded into robotic controllers, neuromorphic hardware, and virtual brains, showing how the synergy of top-down and bottom-up strategies can be combined to effectively generate multi-scale brain models and investigate brain physiology and pathology. 

Bio Sketch

ED is Full Professor of Physiology, co-chair of the Department of Brain and Behavioral Sciences and director of the Brain Connectivity Center of IRCCS Mondino. ED coordinates brain research at the international level, spanning from neurophysiology to neurotechnology and medicine, and has uninterruptedly coordinated 9 European projects and several National projects of the Italian Ministry of Health, of the Ministry of the University and Research and other institutions over the 1995-2022 period. In the last 10 years, ED has participated as core partner and co-director in the European Flagship Human Brain Project (HBP- 2020 Framework Programme for Research and Innovation under the Framework Partnership Agreement No. 650003), aimed at bridging cellular-molecular research with integrative neuroscience through computational models and advanced ICT technologies. This HBP activity involves world-wide collaborations on neuronal and microcircuit modeling, MRI and BOLD signals, closed-loop robotic simulators, cellular recordings in vivo, neuronal modelling, Virtual Brain Modeling, Medical Informatics. ED is core partner of CEN (Cerebellum and Emotional Networks), a Marie Skłodowska-Curie ITN that will explore the brain circuits that underlie emotional behavior (Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme- GA No 956414). ED published 194 peer reviewed papers (most as first or last author) including Nature, Science, Nature Neuroscience, Nature Communication, Nature Communications Biology, Cell, Neuron, TINS, J Neuroscience and presented his research at several meetings worldwide, often as invited speaker (recently UCL, CERN, Rimini, TEDex, CAETS). The main scientific interests are centered on the celular and circuit fucntions of the cerebellum and its pathologies in the context of the whole-brain activity. Additional information can be found at

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