Neuroscience – Brain Mind Institute

Researchers at the EPFL Brain Mind Institute develop and apply new technologies to investigate brain function, dysfunction and therapy.

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Pioneering Algebraic Topology in the Blue Brain Project

— In the Spring of 2022, the EPFL Blue Brain Project announced in a paper published in Cell Reports that it had found a way to mathematically build the 3D tree-like geometries of neurons using algebraic topology. One of the main branches of pure mathematics, algebraic topology allowed Blue Brain to describe the geometrical shapes of neurons in a way that could be used to build their digital twins. This breakthrough opens the path to using computers to automatically build digital copies of any of the thousands of different types of neurons found in the brain. The study, led by Blue Brain’s Neuromathematics Leader Lida Kanari and EPFL Professor Kathryn Hess of the Laboratory for Topology and Neuroscience, was the latest in a series of Blue Brain studies where algebraic topology helped tackle and solve a wide range of previously intractable neuroscience problems.

Patient with Parkinson's disease doing walking exercises in the presence of Dr. Eduardo Moraud Martin at the Walking Lab in the Nestlé building. Credit: CHUV 2021 | DEROZE Eric

Scientists decode the neural signals that encode walking in the brain

— Most patients with advanced Parkinson's disease develop disturbances of gait and balance, which severely affect their everyday mobility, independence, and quality of life. Using a last generation deep brain stimulation implant able to simultaneously stimulate and record the brain, we identified the neural activity patterns that correlate with normal and pathological gait. These results open new avenues for the development of adaptive neuromodulation therapies that can target gait deficits and prevent falls in real-time.

An implanted Drosophila melanogaster fruit fly (foreground) interacting with an intact one (background). Credit: Alain Herzog (EPFL)

A window into the fruit fly's nervous system

— Scientists at EPFL have developed an implantation technique that allows unprecedented optical access to the “spinal cord” of the fruit fly, Drosophila melanogaster. This work can potentially lead to breakthroughs in the fields of neuroscience, artificial intelligence, and bio-inspired robotics.

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Brain Mind Institute Events

Brain Mind Institute Seminars

Our monthly seminars convey the latest research developments in a variety of fields to our diverse community of neuroscientists. Wednesdays 16:00-17:00.

Brain Mind Institute Symposia & Workshops

International meetings at EPFL in diverse fields of neuroscience, neurocomputation and neurotechnology.

Neuroscience Events

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Director: Prof. Carl Petersen
Deputy Director: Dr. Gabriele Grenningloh
Administration: Egizia Carbone

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