Sporns gives distinguished lecture, visits lab

Photo of Olaf Sporns
Prof. Olaf Sporns
Olaf Sporns, a distinguished professor in the IU Bloomington College of Arts and Sciences’ Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences, gave a Purdue University School of Industrial Engineering Distinguished Lecture and visited the CONNplexity Lab.

Prof. Sporns has pioneered a new and revolutionary way of thinking about brain structure and function based on the concept of connectivity, mapping and modeling the brain as a complex network. He spoke on "Computational Connectomics: Mapping and Modeling Complex Brain Networks" on December 6 in Stewart Center. He was faculty advisor during Dr. Joaquín Goñi's postdoctoral research at IU from  2011-2014.


Modern neuroscience is in the middle of a transformation, driven by the development of novel high-resolution brain mapping and recording technologies that deliver increasingly large and detailed "big neuroscience data". Network science has emerged as one of the principal approaches to model and analyze neural systems, from individual neurons to circuits and systems spanning the whole brain. A core theme of network neuroscience is the comprehensive mapping of anatomical and functional brain connectivity, also called connectomics. In this presentation I will review current themes and future directions of network neuroscience, including comparative studies of brain networks across different animal species, investigation of prominent network attributes in human brains, and use of computational models to map information flow and communication dynamics. I will argue that network neuroscience represents a promising theoretical framework for understanding the complex structure, operations and functioning of nervous systems.

VIDEO "Computational Connectomics: Mapping and Modeling Complex Brain Networks"


Much of his work involves studying the network architecture of the brain. After introducing the concept of the "human connectome", Sporns developed the first draft of a complete network map of the human cortex. This new view of the brain as an interconnected system revealed features such as highly connected "network hubs" that contribute to specific aspects of behavior and cognition. As the founder of the emergent research area denominated brain connectomics, he has led the neuroscience community to see that the neural basis of behavior lies in dynamic networks distributed across the brain. Through an integrated systems perspective, Prof. Sporns has also shown how brain networks give rise to behavior by identifying the causal structure and the processes by which the networks operate. His ongoing work combines computational modeling, information theory and network science to unravel patterns of information flow in brain networks. Among many other honors, Prof. Sporns was awarded a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Fellowship in 2011 and was elected a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 2013. On Nov 10 2017, Indiana University Distinguished Professor Olaf Sporns was awarded the Patrick Suppes Prize from the American Philosophical Society in recognition of his "transformation of the understanding of the relation of brain to behavior.

Photo of Olaf Sporns & CONNplexity Lab members Photo of student presentation & Dr. Sporns

Prof. Sporns visits the CONNplexity Lab.