The computational neuroscience lab is involved in modelling biologically realistic neurons and neural networks, synaptic integration processes, and plasticity mechanisms, both under physiological and pathological conditions.
The laboratory has been and is deeply involved in various international projects (SENSELAB (NIH) CIRCPROT, MILEDI, Human Brain Project), implementing unique, beyond state of the art, multiscale data-driven computational models and user-friendly integrated ICT workflows for model creation, simulation and validation, including data analysis and visualization, all tightly integrated with EBRAINS, the future European research infrastructure for neuroscience research.
By implementing new tools and using state of the art simulation environments on different supercomputer systems, our ultimate goal is to better understand the emergence of higher brain functions and dysfunctions from cellular processes, to test hypotheses on diseases causation, and provide valuable in-silico tools for drug development.
Non linear dynamics and time series analysis
The main research lines are: 1) Nonlinear dynamics; 2) Nonlinear analysis of signals and extraction of indicators; 3) Neural dynamics; 4) Cell populations dynamics; 5) Calcium dynamics and purinergic receptors; 6) Theoretical and experimental study of nonlinear electronic circuits; 6) Nonlinear waves dynamics.
As a part of these fields, we have developed a prototype capable of: (i) monitoring the electrical activity of the heart of patients suffering from heart and lung problems for a long time (hours / days); (ii) make the electrocardiographic trace (ECG) available both in real time and off-line via any computer and (iii) highlight the possible presence of arrhythmias.
Molecular models and molecular dynamics
We use molecular modelling methods to reproduce experimentally observable properties of biomolecular condensed-phase structures, including large and small molecular rearrangements, drug binding energies and pathways, protein-protein interactions, up to ab-initio folding of whole domains, and to estimate relevant thermodynamic quantities. Computational methods are also used for in-silico docking of candidate molecules, in order to facilitate structural and functional studies in drug discovery programs.
The activities range from the development and improvement of new simulation and visualization methodologies, to the in silico screening of small molecules as new potential drugs, to the rationalization of experimental results. Large scale computational facilities are routinely accessed to perform simulations and analysis.