The EPFL Blue Brain Project will be featuring in the exciting Brain(s) exhibition at the Barcelona Centre of Contemporary Culture starting this month and later in the year at the Fundación Telefónica Madrid.

Throughout evolution, individual cells have been making successful decisions on their own, even while forming parts of vast networks, such as neurons and glia in the human brain. Now scientists from the EPFL Blue Brain Project and King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) have published a new theory describing a secret language that cells may use for internal dialog about the external world.

Using a computational model, they hypothesize that metabolic pathways, which are primarily a means of extracting energy and building block molecules from glucose and other substrates to feed the brain, might also be capable of coding details about neuromodulators that stimulate increases in energy consumption. If true, this would open the door to a nearly infinite number of possibilities for information processing in nervous systems as component cells could compute in previously unexplored ways. Such a mechanism would also help explain the remarkable energy efficiency of brains.

In recent years, simulation alongside theory and experimentation, has firmly become the third pillar for studying the brain. The computational models of brain components, brain tissue or even whole brains provide new ways to integrate anatomical and physiological data and allow insights into causal mechanisms crossing scales and linking structure to function.

What underlies learning in the brain might be actually simpler than previously thought despite the brain being one of the most complex objects in the known universe. A collaboration of Scientists led by the EPFL Blue Brain Project has achieved a major advance in accurately simulating the synaptic changes thought to implement learning in the neocortex, opening the door to greater understanding of learning in the brain.

EPFL’s Blue Brain Project has found a way to use only mathematics to automatically draw neurons in 3D, meaning we are getting closer to being able to build digital twins of brains.