Biomathematics / Computational Biology Colloquium

Computational Neurology – Translational Multiscale Modeling of Brain Disorders

Speaker: Pedro Doria Maia, Department of Radiology & Brain and Mind Research Institute, Weill Cornell Medicine

Location: Warren Weaver Hall 1314

Date: Tuesday, November 7, 2017, 12:30 p.m.


Most brain disorders generate pathologies across multiple spatial scales. In the past few years, we developed a series of computational studies to model two major injurious effects to neuronal dynamics: Focal Axonal Swelling (FAS) and demyelination. FAS is one of the key signatures of Traumatic Brain Injuries, but is also present in Alzheimer’s Disease, Parkinson’s Disease, and others, while demyelination is the key signature of Multiple Sclerosis. Both pathologies impact spike-train encodings along injured axons, leading to compromised signal processing and impaired neural responses. We will show that these impairments are frequency-dependent and that working memory, visual consciousness and other higher cognitive functions operate in a band that is optimally guarded against them. Impaired tuning curves for a few classic visual/motor studies will be proposed to facilitate experimental validation of our results. We also investigate the collective effect of FAS and demyelination at a neural network level, quantifying functional decline in models for decision-making, associative-memory, cognition and learning. Overall, our work links, in a translational way, the signal-processing anomalies at a cellular level to dysfunctions at a macroscopic network level, contributing to the emerging field of computational neurology.