K. Lisa Yang ICoN Center
The K. Lisa Yang Integrative Computational Neuroscience (ICoN) Center, made possible through a $24 million gift from philanthropist Lisa Yang and led by McGovern Institute Associate Investigator Ila Fiete, creates mathematical models and computational tools to synthesize data across scales of neuroscience and advance our understanding of the brain.
The ICoN Center is premised on the idea that understanding complex electrical neural interactions within distributed circuits across the brain will be essential to understanding the brain and treating brain disorders. ICoN will be initially focused on building integrative models in four areas, starting with neural circuit models of behavior and the analysis of data at multiple scales, and adding increasing detail so that the models span multiple adjacent levels of description, from genes and molecules to cells to circuits to behavior.
Center researchers are building rich neural circuit models of spatial and non-spatial memory, cognitive map making, exploration, risk-taking, to understand how experience, learning, genes, and internal drive and emotions interact to shape how we see and remember the world and interact with it.
Working closely with clinicians at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, center investigators are creating tools that automatically detect and analyze perseverative behaviors, stereotypies, and other characteristic behaviors seen in psychiatric and developmental disorders, with the goal of creating an aid for early diagnosis and treatment.
This pillar of the center is focused on building computational models that show how genes and the environment interact in development and adulthood to shape cognitive functions—particularly the processing of social cues, executive control, and language— in both health and disease.
With new experimental windows on the neural circuits that control sleep (which is essential for brain function and is often disrupted in aging and psychiatric disorders) scientists will build circuit-level models of brain activity during sleep and sleep-state regulation to explore the molecular and circuit-level knobs that can control sleep.
Our researchers are computational and experimental neurobiologists who collaborate to create models for quantifying, mechanizing, and predicting higher brain functions.