Integrating Connectomics with Brain Activity Mapping


Human (and animal) behaviour requires an efficient and flexible integration of information processed and encoded in a distributed manner in different brain areas. Furthermore, the mutual entrainment of those different brain areas should be integrated in a task dependent manner according to the corresponding goal-directed requirements. Nevertheless, our understanding of the neural and cortical mechanisms regulating the interplay of different specialized brain areas for reaching that integration remains poorly understood. In this project, we will develop and study those mechanisms by means of an interdisciplinary tour de force combining state-of- the-art experimental and theoretical/computational approaches.

Specifically, we aim to understand spontaneous resting and task-evoked whole brain activity from a unifying theoretical framework. We will relate how empirical long- and short-range inter- and intra-area correlations can be properly induced in a large-scale network model constrained both macroscopically (by Diffusion Tensor Imaging, DTI; functional Magnetic

Resonance Imaging, fMRI, Magnetoencephalography, MEG, etc.) and microscopically (single and multiple cell recordings). We will investigate how small extrinsic perturbations (stimulation) can shape task-related network dynamics, by considering the context sensitivity of extrinsic (between node) coupling to be mediated by the pure nonlinear dynamics on each node. In this way, we can optimize the parameters of intrinsic and extrinsic connectivity and explain functional connectivity purely in terms of local «effective» dynamical state changes and endogenous fluctuations (and NOT in terms of an «effective» connectivity). Furthermore, we will study the spatio-temporal structure and transients of global brain activity states and the exact moments of transitions between those states, thus, providing useful information about the temporal characteristics of resting-state and task-evoked- activity, such as state durations or dwell-times. Finally, we will apply the developed framework for understanding the breakdown of inter-areal communication and consequently of functional interaction and integration in psychiatric and neuropsychological diseases.

  • Mauricio Corbetta, Washington University School of Medicine
  • Jochen Braun, Otto-von-Guericke Universität Magdeburg
  • Alvaro Pascual-Leone, Harvard Medical School
  • Morten Kringelbach, University of Oxford
  • Ranulfo Romo, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM)
  • Nikos Logothetis, Max Planck Institute for Biological CYBERNETICS
  • Pascal Fries, Ernst Strüngmann Institute (ESI) for Neuroscience

Funded by: Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness. Plan Estatal de fomento de la investigación científica y técnica de excelencia.

Project reference: PSI2013-42091- P