The ‘microchips’ of the brain – the neurons – learn from stimuli and adapt to the changing environment. These changes are orchestrated by a complex biochemical and biophysical machinery when neurons mature in specific networks together with other types of brain cells, the glial cells.
We develop computational models to understand the functions of individual neurons, as well as how the activity emerges in the networks of neurons in in vitro cell cultures. First, we develop models to study the role of receptor-ion channel complexes and signal transduction pathways in modifying neuronal and neuroglial calcium dynamics and excitability. Second, we combine these models with the models of whole neurons and astrocytes in small-scale networks in order to understand their dynamic behavior.
The ultimate goal of the work is to provide multi-scale models of neuronal networks in vitro to understand the mechanisms leading to plastic changes in neuronal systems. We are specifically interested in understanding the most significant synaptic and cellular mechanisms for the initiation and maintenance of network activity. The effects of different network structures, apated from the field of complex networks, are addressed together with synaptic and cellular mechanisms. The consequences of stochasticity and noise in neuronal phenomena are addressed and taken into account in modeling when appropriate.
The computational methods developed by us are tested and applied using data available in literature as well as using the data from our own and collaborating laboratories.
The work has implications not only to understanding the basic mechanisms of network activity and plasticity for learning and memory in the brain but also to the disrupted mechanisms leading to neuronal dysfunctions such as in Alzheimer’s disease or epilepsy.
The Computational Neuroscience (CNS) Research Group is located at Tampere University of Technology, Department of Signal Processing, and led by Dr. Marja-Leena Linne.
Dr. Marja-Leena Linne
Tampere University of Technology
Faculty of Computing and Electrical Engineering
Department of Signal Processing
P.O. Box 553, FI-33101 Tampere, Finland
Tel: +358 50 345 0649
Fax: +358 3 364 1352
Email: marja-leena.linne (a) tut.fi