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Institute of Neuroscience and Medicine

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Statistical Neuroscience

Group Leader: Prof. Dr. Sonja Grün

Statistical Neuroscience teamCopyright: INM-6, Forschungszentrum Jülich

Higher brain functions are attributed to the cortex, a brain structure composed of a large number of neurons which are highly interconnected. A potential mechanism for neuronal information processing is the coordinated activity of populations of neurons. To approach this level of processing and to study the spatial and temporal scales of neuronal interaction requires the observation of large portions of the network simultaneously. The research group of Sonja Grün at the Institute for Computational and Systems Neuroscience (INM-6) focuses on the development of analysis strategies and tools that uncover concerted activity in electrophysiological signals (such as massively parallel spike trains and local field potential recordings) from the brain. This enables the exploration of the relevance of the observed activity for behavior and cognition. The research goal is to gain an understanding of the spatio-temporal scales at which the cortex operates, and to contribute to uncovering its function. This requires:

Brain Science

  • Dynamical interactions in the brain network relevant for behavior and cognition
  • Signatures of network processing in massively parallel experimental recordings
  • Intense interaction with experimenters

Data Science

  • Development of statistical data analysis tools for activity data from awake behaving animals
  • Data analysis to extract and condense the relevant characteristics of the system

Data Management

  • Development and hosting of open source data analysis software
  • Data curation with extensive metadata
  • Concepts and implementation of collaborative, reproducible digital workflows

Integrative Loop

  • Closing the loop between neural network models and experimental data
  • Interpretation of the system dynamics through construction of theoretical (biophysical and functional) models