Area Of Expertise: # Computational Neuroscience #NeuroEngineering # Neuroscience
Guidelines For Research In Neuroscience:
Simulation is not enough (Specific cases),
Start building Models & Theories at successive levels of Abstractions (Generalizations).
- Trying to understand the brain by creating exact models of the brain with enormous computing power (costing Billions of dollars) is not going to work – as is intended.
- We are never going to understand how the brain works completely with data only from the lowest level (molecules, channels, neurons) with so much complexity involved.
- There is so much genetic variation from mouse to mouse, primate to primate, that you can’t draw general conclusions from data of genetic expression of a single mouse. What happens in the brain data scanning initiatives is that data is gathered from a single organism. And what is required is something similar to functional genomics – sort of functional neuroscience – trying to understand the relation between behavior and what happens in the brain – not just cataloging what data from a particular brain looks like.
- What we need is new models, new theories, new abstractions – that can explain all these data.
- We don’t need to simulate large parts of the brain on computers. Our goal should be simulation of small parts and theoretical models that can explain data from those small parts of the brain.
- We need to start building models, theories, abstractions. And then on top our first attempts at building models and theories, we will start building more accurate models, models that connect data from different levels of the brain.
- Our first attempts at building models, abstractions might concentrate on data from only one level. Next, our newer models would connect different levels of structural abstractions and their corresponding different levels of functional abstractions found in the brain.
- Different structural levels of abstractions found in the brain:
- Molecules, Receptors, Neurotransmitters.
- Neuron, Channels, Synapse, Glial Cells.
- Collection of neurons
- Brain regions (e.g., Primary Visual Cortex)
- Brain – Behavior;
- Neuroscientists individually work on a tiny part at “only one level” (among all these levels, from molecules and neurons to whole brain) of the brain. We need scientists who can connect different levels of structural abstractions.
- The new breed of Neuroscientists, with the aim of building models, abstractions, theories of the brain, would try to learn how scientists with different backgrounds are studying Neuroscience.
- What diseases are Neurologists seeing in patients? How do the Neurologists explain them in terms of lesions, etc. in a particular brain region?
- Speech – Broca’s area .
- Synesthesia  – Cross-connections among nearby brain regions.
- What diseases are Psychiatrists seeing in patients? How do they explain them in terms of excess or reduction in neurotransmitters?
- Schizophrenia – Excess of Dopamine .
- Data from neurons, channels, molecules.
- Data from specific brain regions (e.g., MRI, fMRI data).
- Data from optogenetics – switching neurons on and off with light.
- Systems Neuroscience
- Computer Models of brain. Connectomics.
- What are we learning from our research in Artificial Intelligence about the requirements of intelligence?
- Cognitive Neuroscience – latest research on higher mental functions and brain.
- Psychologists have built models. Researchers interested in both Artificial Intelligence and Neuroscience (e.g., Marvin Minsky ) have built models. Why not start by trying to explain those models with our understanding of the brain?
Large Neuroscience Projects
- Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) Initiative
- Human Brain Project
- Allen Institute For Brain Science