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The Virtual Brain: Bernstein Centre Lectures 2019


This course provides a general overview about brain simulation, its fundamentals and clinical applications in stroke, neurodegeneration, epilepsy and brain tumors. The mathematical framework of multi-scale brain modeling and its analysis is introduced. In particular, you get to know the open-source neuroinfromatcis platform The Virtual Brain and learn how to use it in the graphical user interface and by pythons scripts. In the end, you can create your own epilepsy brain simulations. The lectures were originally given in the Bernstein Center of Computational Neuroscience in Berlin in April 2019.

Improving Life Through Simulation
Neural Masses as Source Models for EEG and MEG
The Virtual Brain Tutorial
Modelling Epilepsy with The Virtual Brain
Lessons of this Course

The Virtual Brain is an open-source, multi-scale, multi-modal brain simulation platform. In this lesson, you get introduced to brain simulation in general and to The Virtual brain in particular. Prof. Ritter will present the newest approaches for clinical applications of The Virtual brain - that is, for stroke, epilepsy, brain tumors and Alzheimer’s disease - and show how brain simulation can improve diagnostics, therapy and understanding of neurological disease.


The concept of neural masses, an application of mean field theory, is introduced as a possible surrogate for electrophysiological signals in brain simulation. The mathematics of neural mass models and their integration to a coupled network are explained. Bifurcation analysis is presented as an important technique in the understanding of non-linear systems and as a fundamental method in the design of brain simulations. Finally, the application of the described mathematics is demonstrated in the exploration of brain stimulation regimes.


The practical usage of The Virtual brain in its graphical user interface and via python scripts is introduced. In the graphical user interface, you are guided through its data repository, simulator, phase plane exploration tool, connectivity editor, stimulus generator and the provided analyses. The implemented iPython notebooks of TVB are presented, and since they are public, can be used for further exploration of The Virtual brain.


The simulation of the virtual epileptic patient is presented as an example of advanced brain simulation as a translational approach to deliver improved results in clinics. The fundamentals of epilepsy are explained. On this basis, the concept of epilepsy simulation is developed. By using an iPython notebook, the detailed process of this approach is explained step by step. In the end, you are able to perform simple epilepsy simulations your own.