Mario Senden, PhD
Mario Senden received his Ph.D. from the Department of Cognitive Neuroscience at Maastricht University, where he is currently employed as a postdoctoral researcher within the human brain project (HBP). His research interests fall within three categories. The first is visuomotor integration with a focus on the development of large-scale models of eye movement control and attention. The second concerns computational neuroimaging with a focus on population receptive field mapping and mental imagery. The third is the role of structural hubs for the globally coordinated integration of specialized brain regions.
Embodied brains & dynamic environments
The central nervous system of autonomous agents enables them to dynamically interact with their environment. The brain does thus not operate in a vacuum, but through its sensory-motor apparatus, constituting a closed-loop with the surroundings in which it is embedded. In order to understand neural systems of action and perception, it is necessary to identify the tasks and challenges autonomous agents are confronted with. Together with knowledge of brain architecture and neuronal dynamics, these put strong constrains on the kind of information processing carried out by neural systems. In my talk, I will detail how a top-down approach studying problems faced by robotic systems in dynamic environments can further our understanding of the brain.
Pieter Roelfsema, PhD
Pieter R. Roelfsema received his MD degree in 1991. He did his PhD project with Wolf Singer at the Max-Planck-Institute for Brain Research in Frankfurt and he received his PhD degree in 1995. In 2002, he started to work at the Netherlands Institute for Neuroscience in Amsterdam where he became director in 2007. He is professor at the Free University of Amsterdam and also Professor at the AMC in Amsterdam. He received a NWO-VICI award (2008) and an ERC-Advanced grant (2013). Roelfsema studies visual perception, plasticity and memory in the visual system of experimental animals, humans, and with neural networks. His main question is how neurons in different brain areas work together during thinking. Even the simplest task activates thousands of neurons across a large number of cortical and subcortical brain areas. Roelfsema studies how these networks of neurons work together to solve the task and how they configure themselves during learning. He uses knowledge about the visual system to create a visual prosthesis for blind people that will restore a rudimentary form of sight.
Visual cortical prosthesis for the blind
A long-standing dream of scientists has been to directly connect a camera to the visual cortex, a method that could restore a rudimentary form of vision for blind people. Previous studies implanted electrodes in the visual cortex of patients. Electrical stimulation of one electrode leads to the perception of a small dot of light called a "phosphene". The idea is to stimulate multiple mini-electrodes at the same time, just like how a matrix board works. One light of a matrix board yields the perception of a dot of light and multiple lights can be lit to form a shape. Analogously, when multiple electrodes are stimulated in the visual cortex to create multiple phosphenes at the same time, the blind user of the prosthesis should see a shape. We aim to show that this can work safely in monkeys. If successful, this research will take a big step to create brain prostheses to combat blindness.
Alard Roebroeck, PhD
Dr. Alard Roebroeck did his PhD at Maastricht University on Magnetic Resonance Imaging methods to study human brain connectivity. Currently, he is an Associate Professor at the department of Cognitive Neuroscience at Maastricht University, where he leads the Multiscale Imaging of Brain Connectivity section and the Computational Brain Connectivity lab. Dr. Roebroeck’s research focusses on measuring and modeling the neuronal connectivity that organizes the human cortex into computational circuits, maps and areas.
Mapping human cortical architecture with MRI and light sheet microscopy
The human cerebral cortex is enormous: approximately twenty billion neurons, each making thousands of connections to other neurons. These connections organize the cortex into computational circuits, maps and areas at different spatial scales. Therefore, measuring locations, characteristics and connections of many neurons is crucial to understanding cortical computations. This talk shows how Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) and light sheet microscopy can be used to investigate the computational architecture of human cortex from the micron-level of single cells to the centimeter-level of cortical areas.
Miranda Schram, PhD
Miranda Schram is one of the founders of The Maastricht Study, she works at Maastricht University Medical Center from 2008 onwards. She holds a MSc in Biomedical Science from Leiden University, a MSc in Epidemiology and PhD diabetes research from VU University Medical Center. In 2015 she was appointed associate professor with a specific interest into the effects of type 2 diabetes on the human brain.
Maastricht study - neuroimaging ndings in relation to phenotype
How best to assess brain functioning in large population-based cohort studies. The Maastricht Study as an example of the opportunities and potential limitations of such approach.
Mark Richardson, PhD
Mark Richardson is Paul Getty III Professor of Epilepsy and Head of the Division of Neuroscience at King's College London. He has an active clinical practice as a neurologist running an epilepsy clinic at King's College Hospital. His research programme is broadly focussed on understanding the dynamics of seizures and epilepsy - particularly the mechanisms of transitions from normal brain network states to seizures, and the factors associated with occurrence of seizures in the out-of-hospital environment. He is Principal Investigator of a UK Medical Research Council Programme Grant 'Brain networks in epilepsy: Endophenotypes and generative models' (MR/K013998/1) and is lead of the Epilepsy Workpackage in the European Union Innovative Medicines Initiative programme 'Remote Assessment of Disease and Relapse - Central Nervous System (RADAR-CNS)', which is focussed on out-of-hospital non-EEG remote sensor monitoring in epilepsy.
IMI project - data from wearables
'Big Data' is a term often used to refer to complex multidimensional datasets emerging from detailed observations made at a single timepoint, such as studies using brain imaging or genetics. However, simple observations collected frequently and repeatedly in the same subject over long periods of time also generate large and rich datasets. Sensor devices, such as smartwatches and smartphones, are very widely used and can be exploited to passively monitor many parameters related to behaviour, mood, and health-related brain states. Coupled with active reporting of events and subjective brain states through smartphone apps, such data may provide a rich picture of the evolution of brain state and brain health over time. 'Remote Assessment of Disease and Relapse - Central Nervous System (RADAR-CNS)' is a research programme funded by the European Union Innovative Medicines Initiative, that is exploring the potential of wearable sensor devices to help prevent and treat depression, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. I will describe the methods used to collect data in the RADAR-CNS project and the platform infrastructure on which it is built. Possible use-cases and analysis strategies will also be discussed.
Michel Dumontier, PhD
Dr. Michel Dumontier is a Distinguished Professor of Data Science at Maastricht University. His research focuses on the development of computational methods for scalable integration and reproducible analysis of FAIR (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable and Reusable) data. His group combines semantic web technologies, machine learning and network analysis for drug discovery and personalized medicine. Previously at Stanford University, Dr. Dumontier now leads a new inter-faculty Institute for Data Science at Maastricht University that is thematically aligned to accelerating scientific discovery, improving health and well-being, and strengthening communities. He is a Principal Investigator in the Dutch National Research Agenda, for NIH/NCATS Biomedical Data Translator, and the NIH Data Commons. He is a co-founder of the FAIR (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, Re-usable) principles, and is the scientific director for Bio2RDF, an open source project to generate Linked Data for the Life Sciences. He is the editor-in-chief for the journal Data Science and an associate editor for the journal Semantic Web. He is internationally recognized for his contributions in bioinformatics, biomedical informatics, and semantic technologies.
Embodied brains & dynamic environments
The FAIR (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, Reusable) principles aim to enhance the discovery and reuse of digital resources such as datasets, repositories, software and web services. I will discuss the nature and rational for the FAIR principles, and emerging global ecosystem to create a vast internet of FAIR data and services. In turn, this new global infrastructure will open new opportunities to power neuroscience research and applications.