Paula Sanz-Leon

Speaker: Paula Sanz-Leon

Title: Neural flows: analysis and visualization of spatiotemporal brainwave dynamics

Bio: Paula Sanz-Leon is senior research officer at QIMR Berghofer (Brisbane, Australia). She specialises in large-scale biophysical simulations of the human brain and in developing methods to analyse complex brain data. The key impact of her interdisciplinary work is through translational research in the form of specialised scientific software tools. Some of the neurotechnological tools she has worked on, have accelerated scientific discovery in the field of modeling whole-brain dynamics and brain dynamics mapping (human, primate & mice) by providing thousands of scientists with numerically reliable, robust and accessible  tools, enabling them to do more research, faster and better. She hopes her most recent open-source library, neural-flows, will provide a new lens to disentangle the dynamic nature of neuroimaging data at multiple spatiotemporal scales, and to shed light into causal interactions in the brain. As a developer she’s always glad to have a chat about new features and visualizations that will make her tools more accessible and useful to researchers from different backgrounds.  

Tutorial Description: This tutorial presents a practical introduction to neural flows, a novel approach to analysing and visualising complex spatiotemporal brain dynamics inspired from fluid dynamics.

The tutorial will start with a brief theoretical background and motivation of neural flows, and a historical overview of similar approaches. The hands-on activities are broken into two parts. During the first part, we will run a brief ‘neural flows’ analysis using synthetic brain activity (resting-state-like and task-like activity). During the second part, we will generate multiple visualizations of these flows and their properties. Importantly, we will discuss how these visualizations can be used  to reveal directed functional pathways and, hopefully, how in the near future they can be used to assist with deep-phenotyping of brain spatiotemporal activity.

By the end of this tutorial participants will know (i) what neural flows are; (ii) how to extract them using a ready-to-use open-source implementation; (iii) how to visualise them; and; (iv) have a sense of how to interpret dynamic visualisations of neural flows. Attendants should leave this tutorial with enough knowledge to perform a basic neural flows analysis on their own data.