Computational Modelling of Human Epilepsy: from Single Neurons to Pathology


September 12, 2018


Anatoly Buchin


Allen Institute


The mission of Allen Institute is to accelerate the understanding of how the human brain works in health and disease. Epilepsy is the fourth most common neurological disorder and is responsible for significant total global burden of disease, affecting more than 50 million people worldwide. Despite considerable advances in the treatment and diagnosis of seizure disorders, about 40% of patients do not respond to pharmacological treatment. To determine the mechanisms underlying epileptogenesis in the human brain we analyzed in vitro data to study the excitability of neurons in tissue obtained from human hippocampus. Using random forest classifiers and pairwise comparisons we found that spiking properties are significantly correlated with the degree of sclerosis, while the majority of morphological properties are not. To test the implications of the observed differences we developed novel computational models of single neurons and neural networks using combinatorial optimization techniques. Using these models we explored relevant pathophysiological scenarios associated with hippocampal sclerosis and its implications for neural dynamics. This approach in the future may allow us to formulate specific predictions for genomic RNA-Seq data to characterize particular mutations associated with human epilepsy.


Anatoly Buchin

Scientist, Anatoly Buchin
Anatoly Buchin has worked in the field of Computational Neuroscience for the last 10 years. He has held the position of Scientist at the Allen Institute since 2017 and is in the Modeling, Analysis and Theory (MAT) group. Before joining the Allen Institute, Anatoly was a postdoctoral researcher in the Department of Biophysics at the University of Washington. He received his PhD in Computational Neuroscience from École Normale Supérieure in Paris, as well as an MPhil in Physics from St. Petersburg Polytechnic University and an MPhil in Interdisciplinary Research from Paris Descartes University. In his spare time, Anatoly enjoys playing the saxophone and flute in various bands.