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The Human Green Brain Project: Computational Models of the Developing Connectome

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If you have a question about this talk, please contact Mikail Rubinov.

The human brain consists of connections between neurons at the local level and of connections between brain regions at the global level. The study of the entire network, the connectome, has become a recent focus in neuroscience research. Recent advances in neuroimaging, using diffusion tensor imaging, allow us to observe how the human brain network differs over ages ranging from the embryonic to the adult stage. In the Human Green Brain Project (http://www.greenbrainproject.org/), which started in October 2013, we analyse how the human brain network arises during development by combining data analysis with simulations of brain development. Objectives are to develop a simulation of human brain development, to analyse network features of human brains at different developmental stages, and to compare simulations with real data to discover the underlying mechanisms for brain network development. Simulations are crucial to study the role of different developmental parameters on the final brain network as well as on intermediate networks during development. We present how the network organisation of the brain is changing during evolution and for human ontogentic development. We find while connections are reduced during development (10-40 years), this process spares long-distance connections that are crucial for information integration. Furthermore, this process of connection refinement starts earlier in girls than in boys. Finally, we will present computational models that can account for some of the changes that are seen during network development.

This talk is part of the Brain Mapping Unit Networks Meeting and the Cambridge Connectome Consortium series.

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