Seminário

Meta-stable Functional Brain Networks: Evidence, Models and Mechanisms

Sala de seminários do IBEB, FCUL, Lisboa

Por Joana Cabral (ICVS - Life and Health Sciences Research Institute School of Medicine, University of Minho, Portugal).

Abstract: Brain areas with distinct functional specialization are connected to each other via a complex network of white matter fibers. This neuroanatomical network serves as the structural substrate for the formation of transient task-specific functional networks that serve to integrate the information processed at different sites. These functional networks are characterized in functional MRI by the simultaneous increase in metabolic demand of a selected subset of brain areas. However, the biophysical mechanisms binding brain areas together to form functional networks remain under debate. Different mechanistic scenarios have been proposed over the last decade with the support of reduced whole-brain network models.

In my talk, I will start by describing the latest insights into functional networks (including spontaneous activations, relation to oscillatory rhythms and switching dynamics). Then, I will show how low-dimensional whole-brain models of network dynamics can be used to simulate and gain insight into brain-wide functional interactions. Finally, I will discuss over the existing mechanistic scenarios and future applications.

Biosketch

With a background in Biomedical Engineering (FCT-UNL, Lisboa) and a PhD in Theoretical and Computational Neuroscience (UPF, Barcelona), Joana Cabral has worked for over 10 years on the study of the network mechanisms underlying neuroimaging observations.

Joana has contributed to the pioneering development of low-dimensional whole-brain computational models and on their application to investigate alterations resulting from lesioning, disconnection, perturbation and deep brain stimulation. In addition, Joana has worked on novel methods to capture the dynamics of functional networks from neuroimaging data.

After two postdocs, one in Barcelona and one in Oxford, Joana has recently returned to Portugal with her family, having started a postdoc position at the Life and Health Sciences Research Institute (ICVS) at the University of Minho.

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