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Jena - Rochester

German - US-American Collaboration in Computational Neuroscience

"Exploring large scale functional connectivity in the human brain: From bench to bedside"

Currently, the quantification of directed information transfer between interacting brain areas is one of the most challenging methodological problems in the field of computational neuroscience. A fundamental problem is identifying how to deal with functional or effective connectivity in very high-dimensional systems. Currently, high-dimensional systems are transformed into a lower dimensional system, e.g. by Principal Component Analysis (PCA) or Independent Component Analysis (ICA). However, the drawback of this methodology is that an identified interaction between two components cannot be readily transferred back into the original high-dimensional space. Consequently, the directed interactions between the original network nodes are not revealed. This significantly limits the interpretation of brain network activities in physiological and disease states and in response to either behavioral or pharmacological intervention.

To address these limitations, one goal of the project is to develop a novel methodological approach that enables the identification of directed interactions in large scale systems. The intention is to overcome the current dimensionality restrictions and to pave the way for a full brain representation of its effective connectivity. This approach which will be tested in a relevant biological model, i.e. changes in brain activity in antiretroviral naïve individuals with HIV-associated cognitive impairment who are starting an antiretroviral treatment. Developing methods that can provide a comprehensive representation and quantification of brain networks is essential to understand the progression of disease states and to evaluate the response to therapeutic intervention. Although the project related pilot study refers to an HIV infected population, the methodology is generalizable to the investigation of other CNS conditions including e.g. Alzheimer disease, vascular dementia, and psychiatric disorders.


The following scientists take part in this collaboration:

  • Lutz Leistritz, Institute for Medical Statistics, Computer Science and Documentation,
    Jena University Hospital, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena
  • Axel W. E. Wismueller, Department of Imaging Sciences, Department of
    Biomedical Engineering, University of Rochester Medical Center,
    Rochester, New York, USA
  • Giovanni Schifitto, Madalina Tivarus, University of Rochester Medical Center,
    Rochester, New York, USA


German Coordinator:

Dr. Lutz Leistritz
Institute for Medical Statistics, Computer Science       
and Documentation
Jena University Hospital
Bachstr. 18
07743 Jena

Phone: +49-(0)3641-9-34053