Brain network recovery.
Twelve years ago the Brain Network Recovery Group – Brain NRG, was formed. This group of 16 scientists spanned the domains of computational, cognitive and clinical neuroscience, but shared a focus on understanding brain network dynamics and how it relates to recovery of function. Their approach moves away from the investigation of isolated regional responses and considers the function of each region in terms of its dynamic interactions with other brain regions. This allows for the re-classification of lesions in terms of the network of nodes (regions) and connections (axons, white matter tracts) that have been damaged and to investigate the mechanisms that preserve function by understanding how regional damage affects the function of other parts of the network. In this context, brain repair (recovery of function) depends on the restoration and rebalancing of activity in the remaining nodes in the network.
Predicting and treating the consequences of brain damage has been notoriously difficult. This is because the relationship between the nature of the lesion and the functional deficit is highly variable across patients who have been grouped according to some classification metric (e.g. type of brain damage); and within individual patients who recover or deteriorate over time. A formalized explanation of such variability calls for a (i) re-evaluation of our classification metrics, (ii) a better understanding of the mechanisms that preserve and/or restore function and (iii) performance measures that are sensitive to subtle changes that occur over time.
Dr. Rolf Kotter
As one of the founding members of the Brain NRG consortium, Dr Rolf Kotter deserves special mention for his contributions to the group before his passing.
Rolf was an unconventional as he was influential in both his approach to scientific exploration and application thereof. Between his premier work in the developement of the CoCoMac connectivity database and founding the (still ongoing) Brain Connectivity Workshop, Rolf left a meaningful mark on the field of system neuroscience, as well as all the individuals that had the priviledge of working alongside him.
Revolutionizing brain research.
Over the course of the prior twelve-year collaboration, the Brain NRG have been able to establish some key insights into brain dynamics and their modification in brain damage and degeneration, and have laid a solid foundation for network approaches to brain recovery.
What followed was the consolidation of our efforts into a software platform that has revolutionized the way we study and understand large scale brain dynamics. Lead by Dr. Randy McIntosh & Dr. Viktor Jirsa, the development of The Virtual Brain (TVB) was instantiated. The creation of TVB provides a powerful computational environment or laboratory wherein modelers and clinicians are able to manipulate network properties to understand the reorganization of brain dynamics and restoration of function in an individuals own brain.
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