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Network science and network medicine: New strategies for understanding and treating the biological basis of mental ill-health

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If you have a question about this talk, please contact Dr Dervila Glynn.

Theme: Neurons, Networks and Circuits

The last twenty years have witnessed extraordinarily rapid progress in basic neuroscience, including breakthrough technologies such as optogenetics, and the collection of unprecedented amounts of neuroimaging, genetic and other data relevant to neuroscience and mental health. However, the translation of this progress into improved understanding of brain function and dysfunction has been comparatively slow. As a result, the development of therapeutics for mental health has stagnated too. One central challenge has been to extract meaning from these large, complex, multivariate datasets, which requires a shift towards systems-level mathematical and computational approaches. A second challenge has been reconciling different scales of investigation, from genes and molecules to cells, circuits, tissue, whole-brain, and ultimately behaviour. In this talk I will describe several strands of work using mathematical, statistical, and bioinformatic methods to bridge these gaps. Topics will include: using artificial neural networks to link the organization of large-scale brain connectivity to cognitive function; using multivariate statistical methods to link disease-related changes in brain networks to the underlying biological processes; and using network-based approaches to move from genetic insights towards drug discovey. Finally, I will discuss how simple organisms such as C. elegans can serve to inspire, test, and validate new methods and insights in networks neuroscience.

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This talk is part of the Cambridge Neuroscience Interdisciplinary Seminars series.

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