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

Posted by Juan M. Corchado

Juan Manuel Corchado (15 de Mayo de 1971, Salamanca, España) Catedrático en la Universidad de Salamanca. Ha sido Vicerrector de Investigación desde el 2013 hasta el 2017 y Director del Parque Científico de la Universidad de Salamanca. Elegido dos veces como Decano de la Facultad de Ciencias, es Doctor en Ciencias de la Computación por la Universidad de Salamanca y, además, es Doctor en Inteligencia Artificial por la University of the West of Scotland. Dirige el Grupo de Investigación Reconocido BISITE (Bioinformática, Sistemas Inteligentes y Tecnología Educativa), creado en el año 2000. Director del IOT Digital Innovation Hub y presidente del AIR Institute, J. M. Corchado también es Profesor Visitante en el Instituto Tecnológico de Osaka desde enero de 2015, Profesor visitante en la Universiti Malaysia Kelantan y Miembro del Advisory Group on Online Terrorist Propaganda of the European Counter Terrorism Centre (EUROPOL). J. M. Corchado ha sido presidente de la asociación IEEE Systems, Man and Cybernetics, y coordinador académico del Instituto Universitario de Investigación en Arte y Tecnología de la Animación de la Unviersidad de Salamanca e investigador en las Universidades de Paisley (UK), Vigo (Spain) y en el Plymouth Marine Laboratory (UK). En la actualidad compagina toda su actividad con la dirección de los programas de Máster en Seguridad, Animación Digital, Telefonía Movil, Dirección de Sistemas de Información, Internet de las Cosas, Social Media, Diseño e Impresión 3D, Blockchain, Z System, Industria 4.0, Gestión de Proyectos Ágiles y Smart Cities & Intelligent Buildings​, en la Universidad de Salamanca y su trabajo como editor jefe de las revistas ADCAIJ (Advances in Distributed Computing and Artificial Intelligence Journal), OJCST (Oriental Journal of Computer Science and Technology) o Electronics MDPI (Computer Science & Engineering section). J. M. Corchado desarrolla principalmente trabajos en proyectos relacionados con Inteligencia Artificial, Machine Learning, Blockchain, IoT, Fog Computing, Edge Computing, Smart Cities, Smart Grids y Análisis de sentimiento.