Perturbation and Control of Human Brain Network Dynamics

Summary

Date: 
December 12, 2017 - 12:00pm
Location: 
Northwest Building, Room 243
About the Speaker
Name: 
Danielle Bassett
Speaker Title: 
Associate Professor
Speaker Affiliation: 
UPENN

The human brain is a complex organ characterized by heterogeneous patterns of interconnections. Non-invasive imaging techniques now allow for these patterns to be carefully and comprehensively mapped in individual humans, paving the way for a better understanding of how wiring supports our thought processes. While a large body of work now focuses on descriptive statistics to characterize these wiring patterns, a critical open question lies in how the organization of these networks constrains the potential repertoire of brain dynamics. In this talk, I will describe an approach for understanding how perturbations to brain dynamics propagate through complex wiring patterns, driving the brain into new states of activity. Drawing on a range of disciplinary tools – from graph theory to network control theory and optimization – I will identify control points in brain networks, characterize trajectories of brain activity states following perturbation to those points, and propose a mechanism for how network control evolves in our brains as we grow from children into adults. Finally, I will describe how these computational tools and approaches can be used to better understand cognitive control and executive function, but also how we can inform stimulation devices to control abnormal brain dynamics, for example in patients with severe epilepsy.