Blue Brain Founder and Director

Henry Markram

Henry Markram is a professor of neuroscience at the Swiss Federal Institute for Technology (EPFL), director of the Laboratory of Neural Microcircuitry (LNMC) and the Founder and Director of the Blue Brain Project.

After earning his PhD at the Weizmann Institute of Science, with distinction, he was a Fulbright scholar at the National Institutes of Health, and a Minerva Fellow at the Max-Planck Institute for Medical Research. In 1995, he returned to the Weizmann Institute, becoming an Associate Professor in 2000. In 2002, he became a full professor at EPFL.

Markram’s research has focused on synaptic plasticity and the microcircuitry of the neocortex, in which he has discovered fundamental principles governing synaptic plasticity and the structural and functional organization of neural microcircuitry. Other key discoveries include the concept of Liquid Computing and the Intense World Theory of Autism.

In 2005, he launched the Blue Brain Project to reconstruct and simulate the brain, starting with the rodent neocortical column.

Markram has published well over one hundred papers which have been cited over 25’000 times. Since 2002, he has spearheaded Switzerland’s ambition to become a world leader in high performance computing and to prioritize simulation-based research; these fields are now two of the three national research priorities declared by the Swiss government.

Markram is also the founder of the Brain Mind Institute and the founder of the European Human Brain Project, one of two ten-year one billion Euro Flagship Projects selected in January 2013 by the European Commission. He designed and co-founded the Frontiers open access publishing model to bring efficiency, accountability and transparency to peer-review (frontiersin.org).

Markram has received numerous awards including the Shannon Visionary Award from Bell Labs and the International Hebb Award from the International Neural Network Society.

Henry has five kids and what he likes most is to go hiking with them in the Alps.

Selected Publications

Spike Timing Dependent Plasticity – Spike Times Matter: H. Markram, J. Lubke, M. Frotscher and B. Sakmann. (1997). Regulation of Synaptic Efficacy by Coindence of Postsynaptic APs and EPSPs. Science, 275, pp. 213-215.

Residtribution of Synaptic Dynamics – Plasticity of Short-Term Dynamics: H. Markram and M. Tsodyks. (1996). Redistribution of Synaptic Efficacy Between Neocortical Pyramidal Neurons. Nature, 382, pp. 807-810.

The Tsodyks-Markram Model of dynamic synaptic transmission: M. Tsodyks and H. Markram. (1997). The Neural Code Between Neocortical Pyramidal Neurons Depends on Neurotransmitter Release Probability. PNAS, 94, pp. 719-723.

Gating synaptic plasticity: H. Markram and M. Segal. (1990). Long-Lasting Facilitation of Excitatory Postsynaptic Potentials in the Rat Hippocampus by Acetylcholine. J Physiol, 427, pp. 381-393.

Network Timing Plasticity – Timing of the Network Matters: V. Delattre, D. Keller, M. Perich, H. Markram and E. B. Muller. (2015). Network-timing-dependent plasticity. Frontiers in Cellular Neuroscience, 9, pp. 220.

Rewiring neural microcircuitry: J. –V. Le Be and H. Markram. (2006). Spontaneous and Evoked Synaptic Rewiring in the Neonatal Neocortex. PNAS, 103(35), pp. 13214-9.

First detailed Anatomical and Physiological Map of a Neocortical Synaptic Pathway: H. Markram, J. Lubke, M. Frotscher, A. Roth and B. Sakmann. (1997). Physiology and Anatomy of Synaptic Connections Between Thik Tufted Pyramidal Neurones in the Developing Rat Neocortex. J Physiol, 500, pp. 409-440.

Axons speak many “languages”: H. Markram, Y. Wang, M. Tsodyks. (1998). Differential Signaling via the Same Axon of Neocortical Pyramidal Neurons. PNAS, 95, pp. 5323-5328.

Map of Inhibitory Synapses of the Neocortex: A. Gupta, Y. Wang and H. Markram. (2000). Organizing Principles for a Diversity of GABAergic Interneurons and Synapses in the Neocortex. Science, 287(5451), pp. 273-8.

Plasticity of Inhibitory Synapses: J. V. Raimondo, H. Markram and C. J. Akerman. (2012). Short-Term Ionic Plasticity at GABAergic Synapses. Frontiers in Synaptic Neuroscience, 4, pp. 5.

The Common Neighbor Rule for Synaptic Connectivity: R. Perin, T. K. Berger and H. Markram. (2011). A Synaptic Organizing Principle for Cortical Neuronal Groups. PNAS, 108(13), pp. 5419-24.

Order in networks by chance: S. L. Hill, Y. Wang, I. Riachi, F. Schürmann and H. Markram. (2012). Statistical Connectivity Provides a Sufficient Foundation for Specific Functional Connectivity in Neocortical Neural Microcircuits. PNAS, 109(42), pp. e2885-94.

A vast potential: N. Kalisman, G. Silberberg and H. Markram. (2005). The Neocortical Microcircuit as a Tabula Rasa. PNAS, 102(3), pp. 880-5.

The connectome can be computed: M. W. Reimann, J. G. King, E. B. Muller, S. Ramaswamy and H. Markram. (2015). An Algorithm to Predict the Connectome of Neural Microcircuits. Frontiers in Computational Neuroscience, 9, pp. 120.

First digital reconstruction of the neocortical column: H. Markram, E. Muller, S. Ramaswamy, M. W. Reimann, M. Abdellah et al. Reconstruction and Simulation of Neocortical Microcircuitry. Cell, 163(2), pp. 456-492.

A “soft: dendritic calcium signal: H. Markram and B. Sakmann. (1994). Calcium Transients in Apical Dendrites Evoked by Single Sub-Threshold Excitatory Post-Synaptic Potentials via Low Voltage-Activated Calcium Channels. PNAS, 91, pp. 5207-5211.

A “loud” dendritic calcium signal: H. Markram, P. J. Helm and B. Sakmann. (1995). Dendritic Calcium Transients Evoked by Single Back-Propagating Action Potentials in Rat Neocortical Pyramidal Neurons. J Physiol, 485, pp. 1-20.

Power of being different: S. Ramaswamy, S. L. Hill, J. G. King, F. Schürmann, Y. Wang et al. Intrinsic Morphological Diversity of Thick-Tufted Layer 5 Pyramidal Neurons Ensures Robust and Invariant Properties of In Silico Synaptic Connections. J Physiol, 590, pp. 737-52.

Super connectivity in autism: T. Rinaldi, G. Silberberg and H. Markram. (2008). Hyperconnectivity of Local Neocortical Microcircuitry Induced by Prenatal Exposure to Valproic Acid. Cereb Cortex, 18(4), pp. 763-70.

Super synaptic learning in autism: T. Rinaldi, K. Kulangara, K. Antoniello, H. Markram. (2007). Elevated NMDA Receptor Levels and Enhanced Postsynaptic Long-Term Potentiation Induced by Prenatal Exposure to Valproic Acid. PNAS, 104(33), pp. 13501-6.

Super circuit learning in autism: T. Silva, J. -V. Le Bé, I. Riachi, T. Rinaldi, K. Markram et al. (2009). Enhanced Long-Term Microcircuit Plasticity in the Valproic Acid Animal Model of Autism. Frontiers in Synaptic Neuroscience, 1, pp. 1.

Super fear in autism: K. Markram, T. Rinaldi, D. La Mendola, C. Sandi and H. Markram. (2008). Abnormal Fear Conditioning and Amygdala Processing in an Animal Model of Autism. Neuropsychopharmacology, 33(4), pp. 901-12.

Curing the negative symptoms in autism: F. Monica Regina, D. La Mendola, J. Meystre, D. Christodoulou, M. Cochrane et al. (2015). Predictable Enriched Environment Prevents Development of Hyper-Emotionality in the VPA Rat Model of Autism. Frontiers in Neuroscience, 9(127).

Just too intense: K. Markram and H. Markram. (2010). The Intense World Theory – a Unifying Theory of the Neurobiology of Autism. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 4, pp. 224.

The brain as a super liquid: W. Maass, T. Natschläger, and H. Markram. (2002). Real-Time Computing Without Stable States: A New Framework for Neural Computation Based on Perturbations. Neural Computation, 14(11), pp. 2531-2560.

Full CV here