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Social brain connectome in humans and primates

Social brain connectome in humans and primates

By In Aiv Internship On July 3, 2019

Internship title: Social brain connectome in humans and primates

Name: Institut du Cerveau et de la Moelle epiniere (ICM, Brain and Spine Institute)
Affiliation: Inserm U 1127, CNRS UMR 7225, Sorbonne Universités, UPMC Univ Paris 06 UMR S 1127
Address: Hôpital Pitié-Salpêtrière, 47 boulevard de l’Hôpital – 75013 Paris – France
E-mail: julia.sliwa@icm-institute.org

LAB Director
Name: Alexis Brice
Phone number: 0157274627
E-mail: alexis.brice@icm-institute.or

Name: Julia Sliwa
Phone number: 0157274627
E-mail: julia.sliwa@icm-institute.org

Subject Keywords: neuroscience
big data
social cognition
primate species
Tools and methodologies: dynamic causal modeling
psycho-physiological interaction analysis
Granger causality
graph theory
diffusion weighted imaging analyses for anatomical connectivity
Summary of lab’s interests: How do brains of social beings make sense of their societies? We are investigating the neural and neuronal mechanisms that enable transformation of social percepts into social concepts. We use a combination of neuroimaging, neurophysiology, ethological tests, physiological recordings and large datasets analyses to pursue these questions.
Project summary: Primates, including humans and monkeys, are intensely social animals (Sliwa et al, Revue Primatologie 2019). To analyze our social environments, our brains make use of three networks of areas we uncovered recently (Sliwa & Freiwald, Science 2017). Yet we don’t know how these networks are connected to each other. The project aims at understanding both anatomical and functional connections between brain networks for social processing, with the goal of uncovering the social brain connectome of these two primate species. Questions include: 1. Which brain areas are nodes connecting brain networks together? 2. How is connectivity dynamically changing when watching different types of social or non-social scenes. The immediate outcome of this project will be a better understanding of how our brain biology evolved within the primate lineage. The far reaching goal will be to contribute knowledge to better model social cognition impairments often occurring in major psychiatric and neurological disorders (including schizophrenia, depression and autism). Functional and anatomical connectivity images have already been acquired for each human and monkey subject using fMRI and DWI. The project will focus on analyzing these sets of data, by adapting tools used for human brain connectivity analysis to be used with monkey brain images.
Interdisciplinary aspect of the project: The project lies at the intersection between neuroscience, comparative ethology and large data sets analysis. It will be perfectly fitted for a student interested in neuroscience, data science and primate societies. Having basic knowledge in coding in Matlab, Python, or a similar language would be a big plus.