Neurotechnologies and Computational Methods to Interact with the Brain

18 - 22 June, 2018, Genova

5 Days   18+ Speakers
Registration close 20 May 2018

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About The Event

Brief description


The NeuroEngineering School, pioneered by Prof. M. Grattarola in 2003 with the First European School of Neuroengineering, was offered in 2004, 2006, and 2012. In this edition, it aims to introduce computational and technological methods to interact with the brain. Interaction is a key issue for understanding the physiological basis of neuronal computation. These knowledges are crucial to investigate the origin of neurological diseases and to design neuroprosthesis to restore physiological conditions.


Objectives


The NeuroEngineering School aims to introduce computational and technological methods to PhD students and post-docs of different backgrounds (life sciences, physics, engineering) to interact with the brain. The first two days will deal with brain dynamics giving particular emphasis to the role of the connectivity and computational models of the brain at different level of abstraction, as well as hardware and software platforms to simulate such dynamics. During the 3rd day, the recent advancements for increasing the quality of the recordings and for delivering efficient stimulating protocols will be discussed. . Finally, the last two days will provide examples of neuroengineering paradigms for designing new neuroprostheses to interact with the brain and their clinical applications to increase the quality of life. Since the multidisciplinary vocation of the NeuroEngineering School, speakers have been selected based on a heterogeneous background (physics, engineering, doctors).


Description


The NeuroEngineering School would take place from 18th – 22nd June 2018. The NeuroEngineering School is organized in three main parts: The opening lectures of Prof Nicolelis will provide to the audience what it is possible to achieve when a tight interaction with the brain is reached by exploiting software and hardware methods as well as a deep knowledge of the brain dynamics. Such a talk will pave the way to the other lectures. The first lectures are conceived to introduce the brain dynamics at micro (small in vitro networks) and macro (brain areas) scale. Particular emphasis will be given to the role of the underling connectivity to generate peculiar patterns of activity (e.g., oscillations, bursting) and how. After, a section devoted to how modeling neuronal dynamics will be offered to the students. In the second part of the School faculties will present current neurotechnologies for interacting to the brain. A practical demo of the use of a high-density EEG set-up and a multi-electrode array for in vitro applications is foreseen. By exploiting the knowledge acquired during the first three days of the School, the last part of the School will provide examples of how it has been possible to interact with the brain by means of neuroprostheses. The first lecture will describe the neuroengineering paradigms to follow when a neuroprosthesis has to be projected. The last lectures will provide clinical applications of the use of such innovative devices to increase the quality of the life.


Students attending the school will have the opportunity to present and discuss their research programs and results with the faculties in a two-day poster session.

Organizers

Gabriele Arnulfo
Gabriele ArnulfoDIBRISgabriele.arnulfo@edu.unige.it
    Marco Fato
    Marco FatoDibrismarco.fato@unige.it
      Sergio Martinoia
      Sergio MartinoiaDibrisSergio.Martinoia@unige.it
        Paolo Massobrio
        Paolo MassobrioDibrisPaolo.Massobrio@unige.it

          Gold Sponsors

          ETT S.p.A.
          Spes medica
          Multichannel systems

          Who's Speaking?

          Miguel Nicolelis
          Miguel NicolelisDuke Universitynicoleli@neuro.duke.edu
            Ulrich Egert
            Ulrich EgertUniversity of Freiburgulrich.egert@imtek.uni-freiburg.de
              Andreas Hierlemann
              Andreas HierlemannETH Zurichandreas.hierlemann@bsse.ethz.ch
                Shimon Marom
                Shimon Marom Technion Israel Institute of Technology, Haifamarom@technion.ac.il
                  Demian Battaglia
                  Demian BattagliaInstitute for Systems Neuroscience (CNRS)demian.battaglia@univ-amu.fr
                    Fausto Caruana
                    Fausto CaruanaBrain Center for Social and Motor Cognitionfausto.caruana@unipr.it
                      Annalisa Bonfiglio
                      Annalisa BonfiglioUniversity of Cagliari - CRS4annalisa@diee.unica.it
                        Thimothy Harris
                        Thimothy HarrisJanelia Research Campusharrist@janelia.hhmi.org
                          Matias Palva
                          Matias PalvaUniversity of Helsinkimatias.palva@helsinki.fi
                            Michele Giugliano
                            Michele GiuglianoUniversity of Antwerpmichele.giugliano@uantwerpen.be
                              Silvia Casarotto
                              Silvia CasarottoUniversity of Milano,silvia.casarotto@unimi.it
                                Lucilla de Arcangelis
                                Lucilla de ArcangelisUniversity of Campania Luigi Vanvitellilucilla.dearcangelis@unicampania.it
                                  Valentina Pasquale
                                  Valentina PasqualeItalian Institute of Technologyvalentina.pasquale@iit.it
                                    Ioannis Ugo Isaias
                                    Ioannis Ugo Isaias Wuerzburg UniversityIsaias_I@ukw.de
                                      Michela Chiappalone
                                      Michela ChiappaloneItalian Institute of Technologymichela.chiappalone@iit.it
                                        Michele Migliore
                                        Michele Migliore National Research Councilmichele.migliore@cnr.it
                                          Sylvie Renaud
                                          Sylvie RenaudBordeaux INPsylvie.renaud@ims-bordeaux.fr
                                            Stanisa Raspopovic
                                            Stanisa RaspopovicETH Zurichnesta.fale@gmail.com
                                              Mario Rosanova
                                              Mario RosanovaUniversity of Milanomario.rosanova@gmail.com

                                                Partners

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                                                Speakers Lineup

                                                14.00 - 14.30
                                                Lawn

                                                Registration

                                                Registration
                                                14.30 - 14.45
                                                Hall

                                                Opening of the School

                                                Welcome Address - Presentation of the School

                                                Prof. Paolo Massobrio
                                                14.45 - 16.00
                                                Hall

                                                Beyond Brian-Machine-Interface

                                                The key note lecture of Prof. M. Nicolelis will provide a general overview of the recent advancements in the field of brain-machine interfaces

                                                Prof. Miguel Nicolelis
                                                16.00 - 16.30
                                                Lawn

                                                Coffee Break

                                                Coffee Break/ Networking
                                                16.30 - 17.30
                                                Hall

                                                Autonomous optimization of stimulation of neuronal networks

                                                Driven by clinical needs and progress in neurotechnology, targeted interaction with neuronal networks is of increasing importance. Although the dynamics of interaction between intrinsic ongoing activity in neuronal networks and their response to stimulation is unknown, electrical stimulation of the brain is increasingly explored as a therapeutic strategy and as a means to artificially inject information into neural circuits. Yet, without suitable mechanistic models, it is hardly possible to optimize such interactions, in particular when the network shows stimulus-independent activity, and the desired response features are network-dependent. We present an experimental paradigm using reinforcement-learning (RL) to optimize stimulus settings autonomously in neuronal networks in vitro and evaluate the learned control strategy using phenomenological models.
                                                Using electrical stimulation, we show that the dynamic interplay of stimulus and spontaneous events defines a trade-off scenario with a network-specific unique optimum. An RL controller was set to find this optimum autonomously and the outcome strongly agreed with those predicted from open-loop experiments. Such autonomous techniques can exploit quantitative relationships underlying activity-response interaction in biological neuronal networks to choose optimal actions.

                                                Prof. Ulrich Egert
                                                17.30 - 18.30
                                                Hall

                                                Spatio-temporal patterns in cortical activity: from detection to manipulation

                                                In recent years, progress in both multichannel electrophysiology and population calcium imaging opened the possibility of recording from hundreds or even thousands of neurons simultaneously both in vitro and in vivo. While these techniques offer unprecedented chances to monitor the activity of large neural circuits for long periods, they also push for the development of new algorithms to process such high-dimensional datasets. In particular, during the first part of my lecture, I would like to focus on the detection of recurrent spatiotemporal activity patterns in cortical networks, and review state-of-the-art analytical methods either developed for in vitro or in vivo recordings achieved through different techniques. In the second part, I will show that recurrent spatiotemporal patterns were observed both during spontaneous and evoked cortical activity in different experimental models, and in vivo they were found to encode information about sensory stimuli. Finally, I will show how patterned optical stimulation can be used to manipulate cortical activity at cellular resolution, in order to override or bias the generation of spatiotemporal patterns and test how these patterns causally influence perception and behaviour

                                                Dr. Valentina Pasquale
                                                9.00 - 10.00
                                                Hall

                                                The Dynamical Response Properties of Cortical Neurons

                                                Theoretical studies suggested that the joint firing activity of cortical ensemble may relay downstream rapidly varying components of their synaptic inputs, with no attenuation. Information transmission in networks of weakly-coupled model neurons may overcome the limits imposed by the spike refractoriness and the slow integration of individual cells, effectively extending their input-output bandwidth.
                                                We designed a stimulation protocol to directly probe the (dynamical) response properties of pyramidal cells of the rat neocortex in vitro, by means of patch-clamp recordings. This identifies the linear transfer function of neurons, linking (recreated) synaptic inputs to the firing probability. In the Fourier domain, this correspond to magnitude and phase of the response for progressively more rapid oscillating inputs. Such a characterisation offers a deeper access to the biophysics of information processing than (stationary) frequency-current curves.
                                                We confirmed not only that pyramidal neurons can track and relay inputs varying in time faster the cut-off imposed by membrane electrical passive properties (~50 cycles/s), but we found that they do it substantially faster (up to ~200 cycles/s) than explained by their ensemble mean firing rates (~10 spikes/s). In addition, above 200 cycles/s neurons attenuate their response with a power-law relationship and a linear phase lag.
                                                Such an unexpectedly broad bandwidth of neuronal dynamics could be qualitatively related to the dynamics of the initiation of the action potential. We found a first indirect confirmation of it in terms of correlation between the action potentials rapidness at onset and the neuronal bandwidth, over a large set of experiments.
                                                A second more direct confirmation came from our recent study where we applied the same protocols to in vitro human cortical (healthy) tissue, exceptionally obtained from therapeutic resective brain surgery. We found that human L2/3 cortical neurons fire much “steeper” action potentials than in rodent neurons of the same layer, and have a much more extended bandwidth reaching 1000 cycles/s, violating the predictions of existing models and opening intriguing new directions for the phylogenetics of neuronal dynamics.

                                                Prof. Michele Giuliano
                                                10.00 - 11.00
                                                Hall

                                                In silico strategies to simulate neuronal structures

                                                This lecture will guide the students through the scientific rationale and basic organization of a few use cases for cells and circuit building pipeline available on the Brain Simulation Platform.
                                                The student will learn how experimental data are used to constrain the model and how to configure the pipeline to build several types of biophysically and morphologically accurate models, from single cells to a detailed circuit.

                                                Prof. Michele Migliore
                                                11.00 - 11.30
                                                Lawn

                                                Coffee Break

                                                Coffee Break/Networking
                                                11.30 - 12.30
                                                Hall

                                                Neuronal excitability given parametric variation

                                                A key issue in the study of biological systems concerns the maintenance of cellular function in spite of variation in values of multiple underlying interacting entities. In this context, it is particularly attractive to analyse the case of membrane excitability — a central physiological phenomenon that has a sound theoretical and empirical basis laid down by Hodgkin-Huxley in the early 1950’s. I will show that although the full Hodgkin-Huxley model is very sensitive to fluctuations that occur simultaneously in its many parameters, the outcome is in fact determined by simple linear combinations of these parameters along two physiological dimensions only: Structural and Kinetic (denoted S and K). I will describe a biosynthetic closed-loop approach to experimentally validate the mapping of Hodgkin-Huxley high dimensional space to the S–K plane, generating excitability and manipulating its parameters in membranes of Xenopus oocytes that express heterologous mRNA coding for voltage-sensitive ionic channels. The impacts of parametric variation on the dynamics of the system are seemingly uncontrollable in the high dimensional representation of the Hodgkin-Huxley model. But they are tameable when examined within the S–K plane. A more general conclusion concerns the tendency to confuse the level of resolution exercised in fitting high-resolution measurements and the dimensions to which cellular function is actually sensitive. The art is in defining a scale that matters to the system, a scale where the phenomenon of interest is low-dimensional, regulate-able by simple physiological activity-dependent rules and explainable in simple physiological terms.

                                                Prof. Shimon Marom
                                                12.30 - 13.45
                                                Lawn

                                                Lunch

                                                Lunch/Networking
                                                14.00 - 15.00

                                                Systems neuroscience framework for experimental brain dynamics research

                                                Systems-neuroscience research is essential for understanding the forms of dynamics that emerge in neuronal activity and their functional consequences for both the underlying neuronal system and the cognitive and behavioural operations achieved by the system. While several features of neuronal dynamics appear phenomenological from the perspective of molecular- and cellular-level neuroscience, they have multiple top-down causal means of limiting the degrees of freedom of the underlying cellular-level activities and regulating their collective behaviour. Moreover, the emergent collectivity per se of neuronal activities may play an instrumental and mechanistic role in the translation of neuronal processes into cognitive functions and mental actions. My lecture will focus on two key systems-level mechanisms that coordinate collective neuronal behaviours, neuronal oscillations and critical brain dynamics. I will present both theoretical and neurobiological background for the emergence and consequences of oscillations and criticality, and then outline the methodological approaches for observing and quantifying them in multi-scale neurophysiological data. Finally, the lecture will overview the state-of-the-art of these fields and the current outstanding unresolved questions and focus areas of research.

                                                Prof. Matias Palva
                                                15.00-16.00

                                                The role of neural oscillations in shaping information routing and processing: insights from computational approaches

                                                A growing body of literature suggests that collective oscillations and flexible patterns of phase-locking affects the way in which information is routed across brain circuits. We first review some computational works suggesting that the self-organized oscillatory dynamics of multi-regional brain circuits can indeed underlie the controlled switching between alternative global routing states. In particular, even transient and bursty oscillations as the ones observed in vivo are suitable to implement selective routing of external input streams, in a robust, self-organized way which does not require additional mechanisms besides the ones underlying the oscillatory generation itself. However, selective routing is just one ingredient of distributed computation in the brain and most computations are performed locally within cortical modules. Using information theoretical approaches we present recent results, showing that the role of oscillations may go beyond just setting “functional connectivity” (in reality, this interpretation may be too simplistic) but also modulate the complexity of the local state switching dynamics that may reflect ongoing computations

                                                Prof. Demian Battaglia
                                                16.00 - 16.30
                                                Lawn

                                                Coffee Break

                                                Coffee Break/Networking
                                                16.30 - 18.00
                                                Lawn

                                                First poster session

                                                Poster/Networking
                                                9.00 - 10.00
                                                Hall

                                                Closing the Neuro-Electronic loop

                                                Closed-loop neuro-electronic systems for therapeutics and research are emerging, thanks to outstanding software and hardware advances. Cells or tissue activity is processed with high spatial and temporal precision, and stimuli are delivered in real-time based on recordings or system behavior. This talk presents the neuro-electronics closed-loop approach and its challenges from the engineering point-of-view, and shows a panel of closed-loop systems developed for medical or research purposes

                                                Prof. Sylvie Renaud
                                                10.00 - 11.00
                                                Hall

                                                Highly Integrated CMOS Microsystems to Interface with Neurons at Subcellular Resolution

                                                Extracellular electrical recordings by means of microelectrode arrays complement well-established patch clamp techniques and optical or optogenetic techniques. The use of complementary metal-oxide semiconductor (cMOS) technology helps to overcome the connectivity problem of how to interface thousands of tightly-spaced electrodes, while, at the same time, it improves signal-to-noise characteristics, as signal conditioning is done on chip next to where the partially very small signals (< 10 uV) are generated. Several different approaches relying on open-gate field-effect transistors or metal electrodes have been pursued. There are high-density pixel-based approaches and realizations based on a switch matrix concept.
                                                As one of the examples a high-density Micro-Electrode Array system featuring a sensing area of 3.85 × 2.10 mm2 hosting 26’400 electrodes of 7 um diameter at a center-to-center pitch of 17.5 um will be shown. The switch matrix allows for simultaneously routing user-configurable selections of electrodes to 1024 recording channels and 32 stimulation units at the array periphery. With this system we were able to record subcellular-resolution data in various preparations. Applications include research in neural diseases and pharmacology

                                                Andreas Hierlemann
                                                11.00 - 11.30
                                                Lawn

                                                Coffee Break

                                                Coffee Break Networking
                                                11.30 - 12.30
                                                Hall

                                                Neuropixels: Fully integrated silicon probes for high-density recording of neural activity

                                                HHMI Janelia Research Campus, Allen Institute for Brain Science, Wellcome Trust, and Gatsby Foundation joined to fund the development of a new technology electrophysiology capability.  Janelia, Allen, and UCL (with grants from Wellcome and Gatsby) contracted with imec, Leuven Belgium, to design and manufacture a 384 channel 960 site programmable Si probe.  This project is now past the design stage and ramping up manufacturing.  Using engineering prototypes, we have demonstrated routine recording of 200-400 isolatable neurons.  This capacity and ease of use foretells a rapid adoption and rethinking of electrophysiology as a path to brain understanding.  I will review the technical design and performance and the anticipated schedule for commercial release.  I will also discuss extension of this rodent optimized design for non-human primates and the engineering constraints guiding future developments including fully implantable devices.

                                                Prof, Timothe Harris
                                                12.30 - 13.45
                                                Lawn

                                                Lunch

                                                Lunch/Networking
                                                14.00 - 15.00

                                                Novel electrophysiological tools for neuroengineering

                                                Micro-Electrode-Arrays (MEAs) based systems coupled to neuronal populations constitute a well-established experimental in vitro neuro-electronic platform to study fundamental mechanisms of brain (dys)function. They are also becoming widely used for neuropharmacological screening and neurotoxicity tests. At the same time, there are obvious limitations in using such devices in conjunction with homogeneous planar networks that hinder the widespread use of such in vitro models for targeting biomedical and clinical applications. In this lecture, I will present an array of Organic Charge Modulated FETs (OCMFETs) called Micro-OCMFET Array coupled to excitable cells for electrophysiological monitoring. The neuro-electronic interface is first validated with cardiomyocytes, and then coupled with 2D neuronal networks. Comparisons with standard MEAs and future applications for in vivo neuro-electronic interfaces will be presented and discussed

                                                Prof. Annalisa Bonfiglio
                                                15.00 - 16.00

                                                A perturbational approach to non-invasively measure brain responses to direct stimulation: estimating excitability, effective connectivity and complexity

                                                Excitability and effective connectivity are key parameters of cortical circuits’ functioning. Moreover, alterations of these parameters have been suggested to underlie neurologic and psychiatric conditions. Navigated Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) combined with electroencephalography (EEG) allows non-invasively measuring brain responses to direct cortical stimulation, while bypassing sensory-motor pathways. The simultaneous application of TMS and EEG has several technical challenges, which can be solved by employing dedicated hardware solutions and by applying specific data analysis procedures. Artifact-free TMS-evoked potentials represent the genuine neuronal responses recorded over the whole brain to the stimulation of a specific cortical site, which can be selected almost arbitrarily using the navigation system: therefore, they can be used to estimate i) cortical excitability, as the amplitude of the early components elicited nearby the TMS target, ii) effective connectivity, as the spread of a focal stimulation across distant cortical areas; iii) complexity, as the spatiotemporal distribution of the deterministic cortical activations following TMS pulses. Measuring these parameters may help identifying specific pathological alterations (e.g. cognitive impairment, psychiatric conditions) and can be reliably performed over time to quantitatively monitor the effects of treatment and spontaneous recovery. Finally, TMS/EEG provides, at the same time, a direct stimulation of virtually any cortical area and a quantitative neurophysiological output, regardless of any sensory or motor impairment: therefore, this tool is particularly useful for studying brain-injured patients, in whom the integrity of sensory-motor pathways might prevent the recording of standard event-related potentials.

                                                Prof. Silvia Casarotto
                                                16.00 - 16.30
                                                Lawn

                                                Coffee Break

                                                Coffee Break/Networking
                                                16.30 - 18.00
                                                Lawn

                                                Second poster session

                                                Poster/Networking
                                                20.00

                                                School dinner

                                                9.00 - 10.00
                                                Hall

                                                Innovative neuroprosthetics to treat neuronal injuries: from in vitro to in vivo studies

                                                Neuroprostheses are devices that have an interface with the nervous system and supplement or substitute functionality in the patient's body. In the collective imagination, neuroprotheses are primarily used to restore sensory (e.g. acoustic or visual neuroprostheses) or motor capabilities (e.g. artificial limbs), but in the recent years new devices to be applied directly at the brain level are taking place. The idea is to use them to treat the neuronal injury in the brain, where the damage is actually located, and to promote brain plasticity in order to speed up the recovery process. The methodology behind this technological development requires to know how the neural dynamics is affected by the lesion and whether and how electrical stimulation can reshape or restore the original behavior, both on a short and a long term perspective. To respond to these and related questions, more than 10 years ago researchers have begun to explore the possibility to create ‘hybrid’ systems (in vitro and in vivo) at the interface between neuroscience and robotics, thus providing an excellent test bed for modulation of neuronal tissue and forming the basis of future bi-directional Brain Machine Interfaces and Prostheses. The first-ever in vitro closed-loop system consisted of a lamprey brainstem bi-directionally connected to a small wheeled robot. Inspired by that and other pioneering studies, a bi-directional system involving neocortical networks grown on Micro Electrode Arrays and a small robot was developed. More recently, a closed-loop paradigm was also exploited to develop the proof of concept for an in vitro ‘brain-prosthesis’, aimed at restoring damaged neuronal connections. Similar technological approaches can be applied to more complex systems in vivo to study how the electrophysiological activity is affected by sessions of closed-loop stimulation from different brain areas.

                                                Dr. Michela Chiappalone /
                                                10.00 - 11.00
                                                Hall

                                                /

                                                tbd

                                                Dr. Ioannis Isaias
                                                11.00 - 11.30
                                                Lawn

                                                Coffee Break

                                                Coffee Break/ Networking
                                                11.30 - 12.30
                                                Hall

                                                Brain functions, through the lens of electrical stimulation

                                                Brain functions are generally studied (in both clinical and experimental settings) using correlative techniques, such functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging, electroencephalography, or intracranial recordings. Clinical needs, however, often require explanations of the ‘causal role’ of the investigated brain regions and, more specifically, how interfering with their functions impacts on the overt behaviour of a subject, its sensory and its cognitive functions.
                                                High-frequency electrical stimulations (HF-ES) have important advantages over correlation studies, including the access to the behavioural responses elicited by the stimulation. This technique is of particular interest to study homologies between human and animal functions, and to map the functional role of brain regions in complex functions.
                                                Notably, the capability to elicit – beside sensory-motor responses – subjective experiences that cannot be elicited voluntarily (including emotional states such as mirth, nausea, fear, and anxiety) is of particular interest given the difficulty to study these mental states using correlative techniques. It has been suggested that (a) HF-ES can produce a trans-synaptic spread of signal only within a network of anatomically interconnected areas, and that (b) predominant elicited effects are always due to the site of stimulation. More specifically, the view that the effects of HF-ES occur mainly at the site has been further confirmed by the analysis of cortico-cortical evoked potentials, and by the observation that elicited behaviors are not observed following the stimulation of those intracranial leads where intradischarges are observed during the HF-ES. In addition, there are convincing arguments in favor of a specificity of the effect, based on the evidence that perioperative direct electrical stimulation during brain surgery is highly effective in preventing postoperative behavioral disruptions of specific functions.

                                                Prof, Fausto Caruana
                                                12.30 - 13.45
                                                Lawn

                                                Lunch

                                                Lunch / Networking
                                                14.00 - 18.00
                                                Lawn

                                                Pratical activities

                                                Practical laboratories with in vitro and in vivo set-up

                                                Various speakers
                                                9.00 - 10.00
                                                Hall

                                                Connecting a man and machine by speaking the common language of electrons and ions

                                                Because of the lack of sensory feedback, lowerlimb amputees experience falls, perceive the prosthesis as a foreign body and do not rely on it during walking. Diabetic patients often experience diminished sensitivity from foot due to distal nerve degeneration, causing them to reduce care in the placing of the foot, inducing falls, ulcers and eventual limb amputation. My hypothesis is that mechatronic device integrated with patient’s nervous system will: improve the gait quality of lower-limb amputees and diabetics, augment robot’s efficiency and reduce costs related to misuse of non-sensorized leg prosthetics. Simultaneously this approach would address neuropathic pain, present in both groups of patients, thus improving quality of life and reducing health-care related costs.
                                                Neural pathways between the periphery and the brain are still functional above the diabetic damage or the amputation. Targeting these structures with peripheral neural interfaces (PNI) could allow the restoration of natural sensory functionalities. After efforts devoted to achieve the chronic biocompatibility and functional use of PNIs, the research focus is shifting towards how to achieve the most efficient design and policy of their use (optimal encoding algorithms). Indeed, PNIs can have different geometries, number of stimulating contacts, placement within the nervous system, and stimulation protocols. This high-dimensional problem is not tractable by empiric brute-force approach, but urges for a development of exact computational models, exploiting our accumulated knowledge.
                                                To that aim we develop detailed computational model of the sensory loop of the sciatic nerve. It will merge the electrical stimulation effects on sensory fibers and transduction of mechanical deformations of the skin into action potentials. By application of this modeling framework we will optimize the geometry of a peripheral neural interface, its surgical placement and define stimulation protocols that mimic natural sensory feedback responses, which will be tested in human volunteers.

                                                Prof. Stanisa Raspopovic
                                                10.00 - 11.00
                                                Hall

                                                Dr. Mario Rosanova

                                                tbd

                                                Dr. Mario Rosanova
                                                11.00 - 11.30
                                                Lawn

                                                Coffee Break

                                                Coffee BreakNetworking
                                                11.30 - 12.30
                                                Hall

                                                Temporal correlations in the brain

                                                The temporal organization of neuronal avalanches can be characterized by the distribution of waiting times between successive events. Experimental measurements in the rat cortex in vitro exhibit a non-monotonic behaviour, not usually found in other natural processes. Numerical simulations provide evidence that this behaviour is a consequence of the alternation between states of high and low activity, leading to a dynamic balance between excitation and inhibition. By systematically removing smaller avalanches from the experimental time series we show that size and quiet times are correlated and highlight that avalanche occurrence exhibits the characteristic periodicity of theta and beta/gamma oscillations, where large avalanches occurring at low frequency trigger cascades of smaller ones, which occur at higher frequency. The self-regulated balance of excitation and inhibition is confirmed at a larger scale, i.e., on functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) data from resting patients. By monitoring temporal correlations in high amplitude Blood-oxygen-level dependent (BOLD) signal, we find that the activity variations with opposite sign are correlated over a temporal scale of few seconds, suggesting a critical balance between activity excitation and depression in the brain. A detailed analysis of magnetoencephalography data confirms that brain activity at large scale exhibits the same features as cortex slices and allows to detect the relation between temporal correlations and alpha-delta waves.

                                                Dr. Lucilla De Arcangelis
                                                12.30 - 13.00

                                                Best poster award & student presentation

                                                Best poster SPeaker
                                                13.00 - 13.15

                                                End of the School

                                                Conclusion

                                                Prof. Sergio Martinoia
                                                15.00 - 15.20 - Sessione in Italiano

                                                In ricordo del Prof. Vincenzo Tagliasco

                                                Ricorderanno Vincenzo Tagliasco il Prof. Luigi Rossi Bernardi (già Presidente del Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche (CNR) per due mandati consecutivi negli anni '80 e '90), il Prof. Luigi Donato (già Direttore dei due Progetti Finalizzati del CNR sulle Tecnologie Biomediche - anni '70 e '80), il Prof. Fabio Pistella (già Direttore Generale dell'Enea, già Presidente del CNR e già Presidente del CNIPA), il Dr. Domenico Laforenza (Direttore dell'Istituto IIT del CNR di Pisa), l'Ing. Franco Malerba (primo astronauta italiano e già Addetto Scientifico per l'Italia all'OCSE a Parigi, il Prof. Ing. Salvatore Gaglio (Ordinario di Ingegneria Informatica all'Università degli Studi di Palermo, prima cattedra di Informatica, Intelligenza Artificiale e Robotica Antropomorfa nella   Regione Autonoma Siciliana), il Prof. Ing. Riccardo Manzotti (Associato di Filosofia Teoretica presso l'Ateneo IULM di Milano) e il Dr. Enrico Pedemonte (giornalista, già corrispondente dagli USA a inizio anni 2000 per l'Espresso).

                                                Prof. Ing. Aristide Fausto Massardo
                                                15.20 - 18.00 - Sessione in Italiano

                                                In ricordo del Prof. Vincenzo Tagliasco

                                                Years ago, in his office at the University of Genoa in Italy, Vincenzo said I would have to accomplish the task of writing on him some day, as due by any good fellow to his master professor. He was dramatically right in his prediction. Here I am — making an effort to perform what I consider an impossible mission — namely, summarize my sentiments as well as the scientific community’s debt to Vincenzo Tagliasco. Given his many-faceted rare personality, well known by his colleagues throughout the world, I can only express a few emotions and perceptions while writing about my direct experiences with him from a human and scientific point of view, not necessarily in the correct temporal sequence. This write-up is intended to summarize, as succinctly and eloquently as possibly, my feelings and my profound esteem for Vincenzo Tagliasco. Here, I mention him simply by his first name and surname. After death, it is no longer necessary to identify a person by his academic or official title, such as Doctor or Professor. Death, one may say, is an event in life that equates all human beings in the face of what may be considered a mystery by itself and a mystery beyond. As far as I can remember I first met Vincenzo when I was a student at the Engineering School of the University of Genoa in 1972. What impressed me at the very start was his enthusiastic approach to life, particularly with regard to initiating and establishing relationships with young students. He would encourage them to embark on the most ambitious task for a human being, namely to utilize their ‘‘fresh’’ brains to tackle the problem of extending some frontiers of the existing fund of knowledge — not merely as a curiosity-driven process but as something capable of yielding ‘‘value’’ in any possible form, such as a contribution of a social, economic, or political nature. Since then, as testified by his own will to become a professor of bioengineering, a then non-existing discipline in Italy, he used his enthusiasm to convince people that the new knowledge acquired by research would achieve its culmination only if employed to generate ‘‘value’’.The second thing that impressed me was his immense trust in his co-workers. He would mention several researchers at the most prestigious international meetings in order to promote their names while assigning himself a secondary position. The incredible result was that many of his national and international colleagues were mentioned in Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and European Union (EU) tables dealing with research, development and innovation. The third outstanding feature was his ‘‘maniacal’’ professionalism, as manifested by the painstaking attention he gave to the infinitesimal details of his work: experimental data, statistics, citations, a text, the use of a word, the placing of a comma in the text of a scientific paper or an official document for research-policy makers. He was a true professional in the field of research. He left nothing to chance and yet he looked like an actor spontaneously performing a scene.We all knewthat such effects were endorsed by a lot of careful and intentional effort. The fourth striking aspect of Vincenzo’s personality and work was his ability to integrate creativity and actual achievements. This included his predictive visions for science and technology. He loved to be called an engineer — a person with the ability to construct a functioning device or system by using his ‘‘ingeniousness’’. He was not excessively concerned with whether one exactly understood why a given systemwas working: the value of a product lays in its usability. In his view of life, function took precedence over structure. I could say a lot more about Vincenzo. However, I think the best way to honour him would be to call him a constructor of science as well as technology. In fact, he constructed— or moulded—the lives of many who had the good fortune to knowhim and work with him. The word ‘‘constructor’’ is derived from the Latin words ‘‘cum’’ + ‘‘sto’’ + ‘‘ruo’’, i.e. ‘‘to make stones roll in order to build something that stands up’’: a very apt description of Vincenzo because he was one of those few individuals who could make others ‘‘stand up’’ after they had ‘‘rolled their minds together’’ with his.

                                                Prof. Francesco Beltrame

                                                Prof. Vincenzo Tagliasco

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                                                Our Address

                                                Villa Cambiaso
                                                Via Montallegro, 1 - 16145 Genova GE

                                                Location

                                                Villa Cambiaso (Scuola Politecnica)
                                                The summer school will be held 18 to 22 June 2018 at Villa Cambiaso, based of the Presidency of the Scuola Politecnica of the University of Genova, located in the district of Albaro, in Montallegro Street 1. Villa Giustiniani Cambiaso, designed by Galeazzo Alessi and built starting in 1548, is an architectural example of the "Genovese Villas" of the 16th and 17th centuries.

                                                How to reach us

                                                By Plane : VOLABUS is the AMT shuttle bus service departing from Cristoforo Colombo airport to Brignole and Principe Train Stations, crossing the city centre. In 30 minutes you can get the arrival terminal or the city centre by a coach fully equipped with any comfort and a big luggage van.
                                                VOLABUS is a direct daily, comfortable service running 7 days a week, stopping at few pick up points (to airport only pick up, from airport only drop off). Alternatively, a taxi ride between the airport and the city centre costs approximately € 30-20.

                                                By Train : The nearest train station to the Villa Cambiano is Genova Brignole. There are numerous Intercity trains from Milan Central to Genova Principe (some of them continue to Brignole), approximately one every hour. There are also Eurostar, Intercity, Frecciarossa trains from RomaTermini and Turin.

                                                Trasportation within the city : To access Villa Cambiaso there are regular buses with stops located near the Genova Brignole Train Station. The bus stop (15 or 43) is located in Corso Buenos Aires. You need to get off at the fifth bus stop (Via Albaro), next t o the main entrance of Villa Cambiaso, in via Montallegro.In front Genova Principe Train Station, you can take any bus to the center city and, subsequently, the bus n. 15 or 43; alternatively, from Principe Train Station you can go to Genova Brignole in 5 minutes by local trains o metro.