Understanding the Human Brain
Understanding the brain is one of the greatest challenges of the 21st century because of the enormous variety of factors that influence its functioning. Sergio Miguel Tomé, trained as a researcher at the University of Salamanca, has been awarded the prestigious Marie Curie-Global Fellowship to create computer tools for the study of one of the least known elements of the brain, extra-cellular space. The project will be developed between the University of Salamanca and the State University of New York, where Sergio will work as soon as the situation caused by the pandemic improves and enables him to go.
The extracellular space is the space that remains between all the cells of the brain, and is occupied by fluid that is constantly being renewed. The extracellular space is fundamental for the correct functioning of the nervous system; in fact, in recent years, research has been carried out into its role in neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s. In addition, the extracellular space plays key role in the administration of a neuropharmaceutical, as it is where it is distributed once it enters the brain.
Sergio’s project is called Hippocampus Extracellular Space Simulator Project (HESSP). As the name of the project indicates, it focuses specifically on simulating the extra-cellular space of the hippocampus. Sergio chose the hippocampus as the structure of the brain where Alzheimer’s begins, and it is of special interest for research into Alzheimer’s. The project will be carried out at the University of Salamanca in collaboration with the State University of New York. Dr Herman Moreno, a renowned researcher in the field of neurodegenerative diseases at the State University of New York, Dr Ángel Fernando Porteros from the Castile and León Institute of Neurosciences and Dr Sabina Hrabetova, a world expert in the extracellular space will also collaborate in this project.
The project launched by Sergio is really important since the creation of computer tools for research into the extracellular space, could help discover the dynamics of the molecules of a neuropharmaceutical within the brain. This work is particularly valuable since many experiments are currently being carried out that cannot be performed on humans due to ethical issues. Furthermore, this type of computer tool could also help avoid human trials with neuropharmaceuticals by allowing for the study of their diffusion in the brain through simulations. Furthermore, from the point of view of computing, considerable challenges must be overcome and if Sergio’s solution works it could be applied to other scientific fields.
– Congratulations Sergio