Highlights and Achievements

HBP research has resulted in over 2100 journal publications to date, unique new research infrastructures, and high-level scientific events. Here we highlight some of them.

New method for measuring brain activity could help multiple sclerosis patients
Researchers of the Human Brain Project have developed a new methodology to calculate the delay of signal propagations in brains of patients suffering from multiple sclerosis, a chronic inflammatory disease that affects more than 2 million people worldwide.

Conscious perception of sound is carried by dedicated assemblies of neurons in the brain
A new study co-led by Human Brain Project researchers in France has revealed how consciously listening generates sound-specific assemblies of neurons in the brain.

Human Brain Project researchers identify new marker of ALS outcome
A study by Human Brain Project researchers identifies a new marker for predicting the clinical outcome of patients of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) through magnetoencephalography.

Researchers of the Human Brain Project identify seven new areas in the insular cortex
Researchers of the Human Brain Project have identified seven new areas of the human insular cortex, a region of the brain that is involved in a wide variety of functions, including self-awareness, cognition, motor control, sensory and emotional processing.

Human Brain Project researchers map four new brain areas involved in many cognitive processes
Researchers of the Human Brain Project (HBP) have mapped four new areas of the human anterior prefrontal cortex that plays a major role in cognitive functions.

Multiscale simulations unveil molecular mechanisms that shape brain plasticity
Scientists of the Human Brain Project have used simulation tools to uncover molecular mechanisms of a family of enzymes that is key to processes related to brain plasticity and learning.

HBP scientists have simulated how the Parkinson’s brain responds to deep stimulation at multiple scales
Researchers of the Human Brain Project have created the first multiscale model of how a Parkinson’s brain responds to deep brain stimulation.

Brain simulation augments machine-learning–based classification of dementia
Brain simulation methods can be used to improve the classification of dementia and could in the future constitute a new diagnostic tool to help direct patients towards the right treatment.

Energy Efficiency of Neuromorphic Hardware Practically Proven
Human Brain Project researchers collaborate with Intel to bring AI closer to the energy efficiency of the brain.

HBP scientists have developed personalised brain models to improve the treatment of depression
A novel, high-resolution, personalised model of Deep Brain Stimulation for patients suffering from depression has been developed by scientists of the Human Brain Project and colleagues.

HBP researchers reveal how the volumes of brain regions change in Parkinson’s disease
Researchers of the Human Brain Project found that in Parkinson’s disease the volumes of certain brain regions decrease over time in a specific pattern that is associated with clinical symptoms and largely coincides with the pattern described in Braak’s famous staging theory.

New implant offers promise for the paralyzed
A system developed by Grégoire Courtine and Jocelyne Bloch at HBP partners EPFL and CHUV now enables patients with a complete spinal cord injury to stand, walk and even perform recreational activities like swimming, cycling and canoeing.



Human Brain Project: Researchers design artificial cerebellum that can learn to control a robot’s movement
Researchers at Human Brain Project partner University of Granada in Spain have designed a new artificial neural network that mimics the structure of the cerebellum, one of the evolutionarily older parts of the brain, which plays an important role in motor coordination.

HBP scientists outline in Science how brain research makes new demands on supercomputing
In the latest issue of Science, Katrin Amunts and Thomas Lippert explain how advances in neuroscience demand high-performance computing technology and will ultimately need exascale computing power. 

When algorithms get creative
Human Brain Project scientists present new approach to reveal neuronal learning principles with algorithms that mimick biological evolution.

Human Brain Project researchers demonstrate highly efficient deep learning on a spiking neuromorphic chip
Scientists from Heidelberg and Bern have succeeded in training spiking neural networks to solve complex tasks with extreme energy efficiency.

EBRAINS shares access to improved laptop-to-supercomputer brain simulator
EBRAINS, the new digital research infrastructure set up by the EU-funded Human Brain Project, has made available an enhanced brain simulation software, NEST 3, with wide practical use in fields such as neuroscience and robotics. 

A robot on EBRAINS has learned to combine vision and touch
On the new EBRAINS research infrastructure, scientists of the Human Brain Project have connected brain-inspired deep learning to biomimetic robots. 

EBRAINS robot simulation one step closer to in-hand object manipulation
A team of scientists in the Human Brain Project is using the EBRAINS research infrastructure to learn more about how the brain coordinates complex hand movements. 

EBRAINS powers brain simulations to give insight into consciousness and its disorders
The European research infrastructure EBRAINS powers a new approach to understand the brain mechanisms underlying consciousness. 

New EBRAINS-enabled tool to help guide surgery in drug-resistant epilepsy patients
Ultra-high definition predictive brain tool seeks to give surgeons a sharp eye to spot epilepsy in a patient’s brain. 

HBP research contributes to new treatment for spinal cord injury
A team of scientists has developed a treatment that allows patients to regain control of their blood pressure, using targeted electrical spinal-cord stimulation.



HBP-supported innovation: A brain prosthesis for the blind
Human Brain Project research has helped lay the foundation for a brain implant that could one day give blind people their sight back.

A centerpiece of EBRAINS’ human brain atlas is presented in “Science” 
"Julich-Brain" is the name of the first 3D-atlas of the human brain that reflects the variability of the brain’s structure with microscopic resolution.

Epilepsy: International researchers propose better seizure classification
An epilepsy model developed by the Human Brain Project provides the basis for the novel framework, which could also push forward basic understanding of the disease.

New in EBRAINS: A map of 25,000 synapses in the hippocampus
A team of HBP scientists in Madrid have published detailed 3D-maps of around 25,000 synapses in the Human Hippocampus.

Optimizing neural networks on a brain-inspired computer
New research now shows how so-called “critical states” can be used to optimize artificial neural networks running on brain-inspired neuromorphic hardware.

New learning algorithm should significantly expand the possible applications of AI
The e-prop learning method forms the basis for drastically more energy-efficient hardware implementations of Artificial Intelligence.

New approach for a biological programming language
Researchers have succeeded in mathematically modelling the emergence and interaction between so-called "assemblies".

EBRAINS now a recommended data sharing service for Nature Scientific Data
EBRAINS services join the list of recommended repositories for neuroscience data.

LOCALIZE-MI: an open source dataset of simultaneous intracerebral stimulation and HD-EEG in humans
The LOCALIZE-MI dataset constitutes the first open dataset that comprises EEG recorded electrical activity originating from precisely known locations inside the brain of living humans.

New neuroscience method disentangles crossing fibers in brain tissue
Scientists at Forschungszentrum Jülich have now found that scattered light can be used to resolve the brain’s substructure like the crossing angles of the nerve fibers with micrometer resolution.

“Noisy” Chips: Insights from Brain Research Offer Benefits for Neuromorphic Hardware
Neuromorphic chips modelled on the human brain have enormous potential, offering a promising and efficient alternative for artificial intelligence (AI) tasks in particular.

Real-time cortical simulation on neuromorphic hardware
Researchers at the University of Manchester have conducted a real-time simulation of a large-scale biologically representative spiking neural network on SpiNNaker neuromorphic hardware.



Simulation-based method to target Epilepsy goes into clinical trial
In what represents a major milestone on the path to clinical application, a novel method to improve outcomes of Epilepsy surgery has now received approval for clinical testing in 13 French hospitals.

A Coming Generation Of Robots Will Have More Human Hands
The Shadow Robot Company designs and develops highly dexterous robotic hands that are as realistic as possible to human hands and makes them available to researchers within the framework of the Human Brain Project.

Second Generation SpiNNaker Neuromorphic Supercomputer to be Built at TU Dresden
Saxon Science Ministry delivers 8 Mio Euro to TU Dresden for second generation SpiNNaker machine, to be called “SpiNNcloud".

New model predicts how targeted stimulation can make the brain change from one state to another
Using a computational model of the brain, an international group of scientists led by HBP researcher Gustavo Deco of the Pompeu Fabra University in Barcelona and by Morten L. Kringelbach (Ahrus and Oxford universities), have developed an innovative method to improve the precision of brain stimulation.

ICEI Resources Used in the First Detailed 3D Hippocampus Model
ICEI resources are being used in a large-scale project that aims to develop the first detailed and realistic 3D model of an area of the hippocampus.

Probabilistic cytoarchitectonic maps for 32 new human brain areas released
The JuBrain cytoarchitectonic atlas consists of probabilistic maps of cortical areas and subcortical nuclei, defined by histological analysis of ten human post-mortem brains for each structure. This cytoarchitectonic atlas is a key element of the HBP Human Brain Atlas, representing the most detailed micro-structural parcellation of the cortex currently available. The existing atlas of 74 individual maps has now received an update, and is extended by 32 new cytoarchitectonic maps.

The scientific case for brain simulations
In a new perspective article scientists from the HBP argue why such simulations are indispensable for bridging the scales between the neuron and system levels in the brain. The article has been published as a featured perspective in the leading journal Neuron.

New brain atlas of transgenic mouse disease models shared via the Human Brain Project infrastructure
In a recent Scientific Data paper, researchers from the University of Oslo and The Baylor College of Medicine in Houston present a novel online brain atlas of transgenic mouse lines that are used to generate mouse models of brain diseases, in which gene activity (so called “expression”) can be regulated by administration of the compound tetracycline.

MRI and AI to develop a brain virtual biopsy tool
A novel tool has been developed to meet the needs of both fundamental research on the human brain, in particular to decode the cyto- and fiber architectures of the cerebral cortex in vivo, and the clinical research to provide clinicians with a virtual biopsy tool which could eventually replace invasive surgical biopsies.

New neuronal model with potential to tackle spinocerebellar ataxias disease
Within the partnering environment of the Human Brain Project, a Future and Emerging Technologies Flagship, researchers of the Politechnic University of Milan have developed a simplified neuronal model with potential to tackle the spinocerebellar ataxias disease.



Brains of smarter people have bigger and faster neurons
Scientists working within the Human Brain Project have for the first time uncovered a direct relation between brain cell size and IQ level.

HBP research contributes to breakthrough neurotechnology for treating paralysis
Three patients with chronic paraplegia were able to walk again thanks to precise electrical stimulation of their spinal cords via a wireless implant.

New insights into autism through the HBP's human brain atlas
Data obtained within HBP’s brain atlas work has contributed to the discovery of a "short distance" brain connectivity deficit that is associated with a lack of social interaction and empathy.

Improving epilepsy care: HBP researchers involved in major clinical trial
In a world’s first, personalized brain modelling is providing the basis for a large-scale clinical trial in epilepsy. 

Neuroimaging and the future of brain cartography
HBP scientists Simon Eickhoff and Sarah Genon this month explained in the journal Nature Reviews Neuroscience how rapid advances in Magnetic Resonance Imaging may help revolutionize our understanding of the brain’s organization and its relation to human behavior.

Reading and writing the mind with brain implants
Scientists are continuously improving methods to read out brain activity and adjust or control it with brain stimulation techniques.

How brain cells work together for spatial memory and imagery 
Researchers Neil Burgess and Andrej Bicanski from University College London (UCL) have developed a computational model showing how the mental images we have drawn from our memories can be explained by the firing of individual brain cells.

Progress in brain simulation on neuromorphic computers
HBP researchers in Manchester and Jülich have compared the accuracy, speed and energy efficiency of the neuromorphic system SpiNNaker with that of the supercomputing software NEST during a large-scale brain simulation.

The hippocampus as never seen before
Researchers from HBP´s research area Human Brain oroganization have imaged a post-mortem human hippocampus with an 11.7T preclinical MRI machine at unequalled resolution.

Measures of consciousness in unresponsive patients
Scientists in HBP´s research area Systems and Cognitive Neuroscience (SP3) are working on more accurate and clinically useful ways of measuring whether a patient is conscious, in order to help doctors to make decisions on treatment and care.

Linking gene expression to brain microstructure
A team of researchers from the European Human Brain Project (HBP) has developed the JuBrain Gene Expression tool (JuGEx) that combines the benefits of a genetic and an anatomical atlas.

How to simulate the structural plasticity of the brain at unprecedented scale
Understanding the dynamics of the connectome will allow insights into how learning, memory, and healing after lesions such as stroke work. This is the aim of the Model of Structural Plasticity (MSP) by Butz and van Ooyen, which describes under which conditions neurons connect to each other.



Virtually studying rehabilitation-induced cortical remapping after stroke
On the Neurorobotics Platform a virtual rodent can be accessed for experiments, consisting of a musculoskeletal and spinal cord model and a data-driven whole brain model.

Epilepsy: Building Personalised Models of the Brain
Human Brain Project scientist Viktor Jirsa is the head of a team creating personalised brain models for patients with intractable epilepsy.

The brain is still ‘connected’ during non-REM sleep
New research shows the brain remains interconnected during non-REM sleep, which was thought not to happen.

Progress in building Europe’s new platform for understanding the brain
Over 500 scientists and engineers from 19 countries met in Glasgow at the 5th Summit of the Human Brain Project.

Zülich-prize for research into consciousness
Steven Laureys received the Klaus Joachim Zülch 2017 prize from the Max Planck Society. He was honored for his “fundamental discoveries in the neurology of consciousness and coma.” 

SpiNNaker-1 – A Spiking Neural Network Model of the Lateral Geniculate Nucleus
A model with a synaptic layout which is consistent with biology has been used to simulate biologically plausible dynamics of the Lateral Geniculate Nucleus (LGN) on the neuromorphic computing system SpiNNaker.

Understanding vision with the help of neurorobotics
A modular, flexible visual system is in development that any neuroscientist or roboticist could use for his/her own purpose is in development on the Neurorobotics Platform.

New web-based interactive 3D viewer for Terabyte-sized brain templates
A web-based 3D viewer for exploring Terabyte-sized brain templates together with their surfaces and parcellations has been developed by the team of Timo Dickscheid at Forschungszentrum Jülich, in collaboration with the group of Jan Bjaalie at University of Oslo.

BrainScaleS-1 – Training a deep spiking network on the wafer system
Emulating spiking neural networks on analog neuromorphic hardware offers several advantages over simulating them on conventional computers, particularly in terms of speed and energy consumption. However, this usually comes at the cost of reduced control over the dynamics of the emulated networks.

Release of the first batch of more than 500 MRI images on NeuroVault
The release consists of high-resolution MRI images which represent activations of 12 subjects of the Individual Brain Charting (IBC) cohort for the first set of functional contrasts. This is the first step towards normative datasets that will be the basis of a brain atlas based on cognitive representations.