top of page

Mathematical and Computational Approaches to the ‘Big Data’ Challenge in Neuron-Glia Interact (8575)

July 08, 2017 – July 08, 2017


Edinburgh, UK


Maurizio De Pittà, University of Chicago

Elena Galea, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona



The aim of the symposium is to host a panel of scientists who use mathematical modeling, computerized analysis and experimental validation to address fundamental open questions in neuron-glia interactions from an elective multidisciplinary perspective. In this essential multifaceted panel, the symposium’s spirit is to showcase the latest mathematical and computational approaches for understanding emergent behaviors using quantitative analysis of neuron-glia interaction dynamics. In addition to addressing current strategies, a major outcome of this panel is to identify future research directions, encompassing current and emerging computational and experimental techniques, thus directing progress in this nascent field.


The symposium hosts a panel of four internationally renowned scientists with multidisciplinary expertise in physics, engineering, quantitative biology and statistics, whose shared research interests are in developing computational approaches to study different types of glia: oligodendrocytes, astrocytes and microglia. The four speakers will discuss some of the latest findings of current quantitative research on neuron-glia interactions, providing a concise, mind-provoking overview of the open challenges in the field. David Attwell will describe how combined use of anatomical measurements and computer simulations pinpoints to myelination as an adaptive mechanism to tune neural electrical conductivity with potential to modulate neural transmission delays and coding . Maurizio De Pittà will elaborate on this perspective, outlining the state-of-the-art theoretical insights in modeling of glia modulation of synaptic information transfer and plasticity and arguing for a revisited conceptualization of neural connections. Elena Galea will describe the hurdles of developing algorithms to segment glial cells in complex 2-photon microscopy images from living mice, and discuss how to optimally choose mathematical functions from statistical physics to reconstruct and examine glial spatial organization. Finally, starting from the hypothesis that neurodegeneration results from aberrant neural network organization, Levi Wood will argue in favor of multivariate regression analyses to reveal inflammatory signatures of Alzheimer´s disease due to glia. The different, yet complimentary, aspects of neuron-glia interactions presented by the speakers set as overarching goal of the symposium to infer developmental designs and predict functions from rules governing glial positioning in the adult brain.

More information will be added as it becomes available.

bottom of page