Towards the Virtual Brain: Network Modeling of the Intact and the Damaged Brain

Viktor Jirsa, Olaf Sporns, Michael Breakspear, Gustavo Deco, Anthony Randal McIntosh


Neurocomputational models of large-scale brain dynamics utilizing realistic connectivity matrices have advanced our understanding of the operational network principles in the brain. In particular, spontaneous or resting state activity has been studied on various scales of spatial and temporal organization including those that relate to physiological, encephalographic and hemodynamic data. In this article we focus on the brain from the perspective of a dynamic network and discuss the role of its network constituents in shaping brain dynamics. These constituents include the brain’s structural connectivity, the population dynamics of its network nodes and the time delays involved in signal transmission. In addition, no discussion of brain dynamics would be complete without considering noise and stochastic effects. In fact, there is mounting evidence that the interaction between noise and dynamics plays an important functional role in shaping key brain processes. In particular, we discuss a unifying theoretical framework that explains how structured spatio-temporal resting state patterns emerge from noise driven explorations of unstable or stable oscillatory states. Embracing this perspective, we explore the consequences of network manipulations to understand some of the brain’s dysfunctions, as well as network effects that offer new insights into routes towards therapy, recovery and brain repair.  These collective insights will be at the core of a new computational environment, the Virtual Brain, which will allow flexible incorporation of empirical data constraining the brain models to integrate, unify and predict network responses to incipient pathological processes.


network; modeling; brain damage; brain repair; connectivity; lesion;

Full Text:




  • There are currently no refbacks.