Multiscale Hippocampal Models for Neuronal Plasticity: Integration to the Brain Simulation Platform

The "HippoPlasticity" project involves teams of computational neuroscientists from the Neuroscience Institute, Lithuanian University of Health Sciences (Lithuania), University of Stirling (UK) and Justus-Liebig University Giessen (Germany) in collaboration with the HBP Flagship Core Project Partners SP6:  KTH (Sweden), CNR (Italy), CNRS (France).

The project aims at integration and testing of multiscale hippocampal models for synaptic plasticity in data-driven hippocampal microcircuit models.


Project description

The hippocampus is a part of the brain which is crucial for learning, memory and spatial navigation. It is not fully understood how synaptic plasticity acts to induce learning and memory recall in hippocampus, and the existing knowledge on cellular, synaptic and network mechanisms of hippocampal synaptic plasticity haven‘t been integrated so far.  There is huge interest in understanding the mechanisms of plasticity and learning in the hippocampal circuitry. The „HippoPlasticity“ project will allow integration of the intracellular cascades and electrical activity of computational models of hippocampal synaptic plasticity into the Brain Simulation Platform. Specifically, the researchers will work on the development and standardization of a workflow for the specification of plasticity models and data, benchmarking and standardizing the workflow to SBML. 

The long-term benefits of integrating our work on synaptic plasticity are to prepare the Brain Simulation Platform for the testing of community plasticity models. Our models, on top of those developed within the HBP, could be the driving examples for validation, comparison, reproducibility, and further development of plasticity models.


The main objective of the project is to integrate and test the models of neuronal electrical activity and chemical intracellular cascades of synaptic plasticity in the hippocampal CA1 network models. The questions adressed in this study are important for understanding mechanisms of synaptic plasticity and learning in hippocampal CA1 networks. 

Collaboration with HBP

The standardized workflow for the specification of plasticity models and data, for validation of the model features will be developed and applied, using the KTH subcellular model building workflow as well as the EPFL subcellular app. The consequences of different plasticity rules will be tested using the data-driven hippocampal microcircuit models reconstructed and simulated in SP6.

Our project will provide community models of plasticity in the Brain Simulation Platform, speed up the development of detailed new hippocampal models and integrate neuronal electrical activity and chemical intracellular cascades of synaptic plasticity in hippocampal CA1 pyramidal neurons with the possible future extensions to include neuromodulation and neuron-astrocyte interactions in memory encoding and retrieval in hippocampal CA1 networks. Implementation of biologically-inspired detailed hippocampal plasticity models could be extended to other brain microcircuits, because the provided models are quite general and e.g. building on CaMKII activation.

Partnering Organisations


Ausra Saudargiene (Project Coordinator)

Neuroscience Institute, Lithuanian University of Health Sciences, Kaunas, Lithuania

Dr. A. Saudargiene obtained her PhD degree in Informatics at the Institute of Mathematics and Informatics, Vilnius University, Lithuania in 2001 and continued her research as a postdoc in computational neuroscience at the University of Stirling, UK in 2002-2004. Currently Dr. A. Saudargiene holds a position of a researcher at the Neuroscience Institute of Lithuanian University of Health Sciences, Kaunas, Lithuania; she is a professor at the Department of Informatics, Vytautas Magnus University, Kaunas, Lithuania. Her main research interest is computational modeling of synaptic plasticity in hippocampus, and she has developed biophysical and molecular models of synaptic plasticity and models of memory encoding and retrieval in hippocampal CA1 microcircuit and cortex.


Bruce Graham 

Computing Science and Mathematics, Faculty of Natural Sciences, University of Stirling, Scotland

Prof. Bruce Graham has been a researcher in computational neuroscience for 30 years. His principle foci include the role of interneurons in neural circuitry, long and short-term synaptic plasticity and memory function. After postdoc positions at the Australian National University (1990-1993) the University of Edinburgh (1993-2000), he established his own research group in this field at Stirling in 2000. He was given a Distinguished Alumni Award for contributions to Computational Neuroscience by Flinders University of South Australia in 2008. He is a coauthor of the book, “Principles of Computational Modelling in Neuroscience” (CUP, 2011).


Peter Jedlicka

Computer-Based Modelling in the field of 3R Animal Protection, 3R Center, University of Giessen, Germany

Prof. Dr. Peter Jedlicka received his PhD degree from the Institute of Pathological Physiology, Comenius University, Bratislava a continued his research as a postdoc  at the Institute of Clinical Neuroanatomy, Goethe University,  Frankfurt. Currently he holds a W2 Professorship for Computer-Based Modelling in the field of 3R Animal Protection at the 3R Center, University of Giessen, Germany.  Prof. P. Jedlicka focuses on molecular and computational mechanisms of synaptic plasticity, network excitability and lesion-induced structural plasticity in the hippocampus.


Key facts

Time frame: 2019 to 2020

Origin: HBP Voucher Programme