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Section: Research Program

Modeling dynamical brain networks

Functional imaging techniques (EEG, MEG and fMRI) allow characterizing the statistical interactions between the activities of different brain areas, i.e. functional connectivity. Functional integration of spatially distributed brain regions is a well-known mechanism underlying various cognitive and perceptual tasks. Indeed, mounting evidence suggests that impairment of such mechanisms might be the first step of a chain of events triggering several neurological disorders, such as the abnormal synchronization of epileptic activities. Naturally, neuroimaging studies investigating functional connectivity in the brain have become increasingly prevalent.

Our team develops a framework for the characterization of brain connectivity patterns, based on connectivity descriptors from the theory of complex networks. The description of the connectivity structure of neural networks is able to characterize for instance, the configuration of links associated with rapid/abnormal synchronization and information transfer, wiring costs, resilience to certain types of damage, as well as the balance between local processing and global integration. Furthermore, we propose to extend this framework to study the reconfiguration of networks over time. Indeed, neurophysiological data are often gathered from longitudinal recording sessions of the same subject to study the adaptive reconfiguration of brain connectivity. Finally, connectivity networks are usually extracted from different brain imaging modalities (MEG, EEG, fMRI or DTI) separately. Methods for combining the information carried by these different networks are still missing. We thus propose to combine connectivity patterns extracted from each modality for a more comprehensive characterization of networks.