The webinar series from EBRAINS

Entering its third and final phase, the Human Brain Project has launched ‘Brain Matters’, a webinar series which explores the various issues being tackled by the HBP scientific community.

The hour-long sessions focus on different areas of brain research and feature expert speakers, with the goal of highlighting the HBP’s scientific achievements and the state-of-the-art services offered by its new infrastructure for brain research, EBRAINS.

The interactive webinars are free and open to the public. The events will be recorded, streamed live on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube, where viewers can ask questions by commenting on the live streams!

If you have any questions, please contact:




Find out more about EBRAINS 

View the latest episode:

#5 Brain Matters | 7 May 2021 | 12:00–13:00 CEST

Introduction to The EBRAINS Virtual Big Brain

Moderator: Katrina Sichel


Viktor Jirsa (Aix-Marseille University)

Timo Dickscheid (Forschungszentrum Jülich) 

Marmaduke Woodman (Aix-Marseille University)

Sandra Diaz Pier (Forschungszentrum Jülich)

Episode Description

In the fifth edition of the Brain Matters Webinar we turned our attention from scientific results to scientific activity underway in the final phase of the Human Brain Project. In the Virtual Big Brain project teams at Forschungszentrum Jülich in Germany and Aix-Marseille University are working together to build a massively scaled up version of The Virtual Brain (TVB) a tool which simulates the whole human brain using mean field models. 

Learn more about the speakers below:

Viktor Jirsa is Director of the Inserm Institut de Neurosciences des Systèmes at Aix-Marseille-Université.
Dr. Jirsa serves as scientific lead of the brain simulation platform The Virtual Brain ( and lead investigator in the Human Brain Project (

Timo Dickscheid is a Working Group Leader at Forschungszentrum Jülich. He leads a scientific research group that focuses on big data analytics for biomedical image processing.

Marmaduke Woodman is a Research Engineer at Aix-Marseille-Université. He builds and maintains parts of the Virtual Brain platform, consisting of a compute cluster and full stack Python application for modeling human and mammalian brain dynamics.

Sandra Diaz Pier is a Graduate Researcher at Forschungszentrum Jülich. She studies the plasticity of neural networks using simulations on High Performance Computing Infrastructures.



#4 Brain Matters | 25 February 2021 | 16:00–17:30 CET

Brain Simulation Science and Technology: looking forward

Moderator: Katrina Sichel

Brain Simulation Science and Technology: Looking Forward explored simulation science in the Human Brain Project in three specific brain areas:

Michele Migliore (CNR) discussed the hippocampus.

Eduardo Ros (University of Granada) addressed the cerebellum.

Jeanette Hellgren Kotaleski (KTH) presented the basal ganglia.

Learn more about the speakers: 

Jeanette Hellgren Kotaleski is a Professor at the School of Computer Science and Communication at the KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Sweden. Her previous work with the Human Brain Project has focused on modelling of molecular signalling cascades and the basal ganglia.

Eduardo Ros is a Full Professor at the Department of Computer Architecture and Technology at the University of Granada. He leads an interdisciplinary lab whose main research interests include neurocomputational neuroscience, simulation of spiking neural networks, and high performance and real time computer processing.

Michele Migliore is head of the Computational Neuroscience Laboratory at the National Research Council of Italy. His previous work with the Human Brain Project has focused on modelling single cells and the hippocampus.

Watch the 4th episode of the webinar here:

#3 Brain Matters | 10 December 2020 | 16:00–17:00 CET

Brain Inspired Technology and Architectures

Moderator: Katrina Sichel

The webinar was divided into 3 sessions:

Steve Furber, who has built the largest neuromorphic super-computer in the world in Manchester, introduced the origins of bio-inspired computing, which go back a lot longer than you might expect.

Rainer Goebel talked about the work being done in the Human Brain Project’s "Adaptive networks for cognitive architectures:
from advanced learning to neurorobotics and neuromorphic applications"
 Work Package.

Christopher Summerfield, who works with the Deep Mind team in Google, talked about how insights from brain research are actively incorporated into efforts to build better artificial intelligence.

Learn more about the speakers below:

Steve Furber is a computer scientist, mathematician and hardware engineer, currently the ICL Professor of Computer Engineering in the Department of Computer Science at the University of Manchester. He is the developer of SpiNNaker, the world’s largest neuromorphic supercomputer, which is being used as a component of the neuromorphic computing platform for the Human Brain Project.

Rainer Goebel is a neuroscientist who is currently the Director of the Maastricht Brain Imaging Center at Maastricht University. In the Human Brain Project, he contributes to the research area Human Brain Organization and heads a project on visuo-motor integration.

Christopher Summerfield is a Professor of Cognitive Neuroscience at the University of Oxford. His work is concerned with understanding the neural and comptutational mechanisms that underlie human perception and cognition.

Watch the third Brain Matters webinar:

#2 Brain Matters | 27 October 2020 | 16:00–17:00 CET

Networks for Consciousness & Medical Use Cases

Moderator: Katrina Sichel

The webinar was divided into 3 sessions:

Mavi Sanchez-Vives talked about the scientific work package she leads “Brain Networks Underlying Cognitition and Consciousness” and the work underway to develop a “general model of brain states.”

Marcello Massimini spoke about how to better determine whether non-responsive or minimally-responsive patients are conscious.

Pieter Roelfsema addressed the question How can we calibrate computer brain interfaces to ensure electrical stimuli inputs reach the level of attention?

Learn more about the speakers below:

Mavi Sanchez-Vives, MD PhD, is ICREA Research Professor and leader of Systems Neuroscience at the Institute of Biomedical Research August Pi Sunyer in Barcelona, Spain. She is also co-Director of the EVENT Lab (Experimental Virtual Environments in Neurosciences and Technology) at the University of Barcelona and one of the founders of Virtual Bodyworks Inc. She is interested in the cellular and network mechanisms for the generation of spontaneous brain emergent activity in physiological and pathological conditions, neurotechnology and brain interfacing. She is also interested in brain-related applications of virtual reality, particularly in relation to body representation.

Marcello Massimini's research aims to understand the changes that take place in the thalamocortical networks when consciousness fades and recovers, such as when we sleep and wake up. After performing studies of EEG oscillations in cortical neurons during anesthesia, Massimini performed the first high-density EEGs in sleeping humans to describe the spatiotemporal dynamics of slow sleep oscillations. He then turned to the development of an innovative technique (TMS [Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation] and Simultaneous High Density EEG) to study cortico-cortical interactions from a disruptive perspective. Using this method during wakefulness, sleep, dreams, various types of anesthesia, and brain damage, he has shown that consciousness is associated with the brain's ability to integrate information. These experiments shed a different light on the mechanisms associated with loss and restoration of consciousness, and led to the development of a bedside brain complexity index that has important implications for patient stratification. unconscious. In addition to neurophysiology, Massimini is interested in the theoretical and philosophical implications of the neuroscience of consciousness.

Pieter R. Roelfsema received his MD degree in 1991 and his PhD degree in 1995. He moved to the Netherlands Institute for Neuroscience in Amsterdam in 2002 and became director in 2007. He is professor at the Free University of Amsterdam and also Professor at the AMC in Amsterdam. He received a NWO-VICI award (2008) and an ERC-Advanced grant (2014). Roelfsema studies visual perception, plasticity and memory in the visual system of experimental animals, humans, and with neural networks. His main question is how neurons in different brain areas work together during thinking. Roelfsema studies how networks of neurons work together to solve cognitive tasks and how they configure themselves during learning. He develops neurotechnological solutions to create new high-bandwidth brain-computer interfaces. He combines new technological possibilities with knowledge about the visual system to create a visual prosthesis for blind people that will restore a rudimentary form of sight. Roelfsema coordinates the Dutch neurotechnology initiative NeuroTech-NL.

Watch the second Brain Matters webinar:

#1 Brain Matters | 21 September 2020 | 16:00–17:00 CEST

EBRAINS – in Search of Breakthroughs in Science and Medicine

Katrina Sichel


Watch this session to learn about how The Human Brain Project and EBRAINS are ushering in a new era in brain research by:

  • Moving the field of neuroscience towards the world of connectivity
  • Gaining a better understanding of the human multiscale connectome
  • Providing brain researchers with high quality models, data sets, and robust tools through EBRAINS

presented by Katrin Amunts (FZ Jülich & University of Düsseldorf)

Are you curious about your personality, and what makes people tick? Tune in to this session to find out what brain scans and Artificial Intelligence can tell you about yourself, including:

  • How old you are
  • How outgoing you are
  • How neurotic you are
  • How good your memory is
  • And much more!

presented by Simon Eickhoff (FZ Jülich)

Brain surgery is difficult to perform, and outcomes are hard to predict. But what if a virtual model of a patient’s brain could make things easier? Join this session to learn about the various applications of personalized brain models, including:

  • Understanding brain activity
  • Gaining insights into brain pathologies
  • Helping surgeons to make decisions regarding brain surgery

presented by Viktor Jirsa (Aix-Marseille Université)


Katrin Amunts did a postdoctoral fellowship at the C. & O. Vogt Institute of Brain Research at Duesseldorf University, Germany. In 1999, she set up a new research unit for Brain Mapping at the Research Center Juelich, Germany. In 2004, she became professor for Structural-Functional Brain Mapping, and in 2008 a full professor at the Department of Psychiatry, Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics at the RWTH Aachen University as well as director of the Institute of Neuroscience and Medicine (INM-1) at the Research Center Juelich. Since 2013, she is a full professor for Brain Research, director of the C. and O. Vogt Institute of Brain Research, Heinrich-Heine University Duesseldorf and director of the Institute of Neuroscience and Medicine (INM-1), Research Center Juelich. Katrin Amunts is the programme speaker of the programme Decoding the Human Brain of the Helmholtz Association, Germany. Since 2017 Katrin Amunts is co-speaker of the graduate school Max-Planck School of Cognition and since 2018 she is a member of the International Advisory Council Healthy Brains for Healthy Lives, Canada.

Since 2016, she is the Scientific Research Director and Chair of the Science and Infrastructure Board (SIB) European Flagship, The Human Brain Project (HBP).

In order to better understand the organizational principles of the human brain, she and her team aim to integrate cyto-, receptorarchitectonic, genetic and functional as well as PLI-based maps into a multimodal atlas, which contributes to EBRAINS, the research infrastructure of the HBP. Central to her approach are the development and application of methods of high-performance computing to generate ultra-high resolution human brain models such as the BigBrain, and the Juelich-Brain, a cytoarchitectonic atlas reflecting variations in brain structure.

Simon Eickhoff is a full professor and chair of the Institute for Systems Neuroscience at the Heinrich-Heine University in Düsseldorf and the director of the Institute of Neuroscience and Medicine (INM-7, Brain and Behavior) at the Forschungszentrum Jülich. He is furthermore a visiting professor at the Chinese Academy of Science Institute of Automation. Working at the interface between neuroanatomy, data-science and brain medicine, the he aims to obtain a more detailed characterization of the organization of the human brain and its inter-individual variability in order to better understand its changes in advanced age as well as neurological and psychiatric disorders. This goal is pursued by the development and application of novel analysis tools and approaches for large-scale, multi-modal analysis of brain structure, function and connectivity as well as by machine-learning for single subject prediction of cognitive and socio-affective traits and ultimately precision medicine.

Viktor Jirsa is Director of the Inserm Institut de Neurosciences des Systèmes at Aix-Marseille-Université in Marseille, France. Dr. Jirsa received his PhD in 1996 in Theoretical Physics and Applied Mathematics and has since then contributed to the field of Theoretical Neuroscience, in particular through the development of large-scale brain network models based on realistic connectivity. His work has been foundational for network science in medicine with translations to clinical applications. Dr. Jirsa serves as scientific lead of the brain simulation platform The Virtual Brain ( and lead investigator in the Human Brain Project ( Dr. Jirsa has been awarded several prizes for his research including the Grand Prix de Recherche en Provence (2018) and has published more than 160 scientific articles.

Watch the first Brain Matters webinar:


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