Portraits of inspiring women in translational medicine: Petra Ritter
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Brain simulation helps us understanding how our brain works – and developing personalized therapies for its diseases.

A human brain consists of 86 billion neurons and 150 trillion connections between them. It runs on as little energy as an LED light bulb. It would take 1,500 Google data centers (they only have 15) to simulate just one brain with molecular accuracy, costing 1 trillion dollar per year and consuming 600 terawatt hours.

Here at the Brain Simulation Section (part of Charité Universitätsmedizin Berlin), we have been at the forefront of network-based brain simulation, computational neuroscience and its clinical application for more than 10 years.

In collaboration with other international research centers, we have developed a way to simulate a brain even on a laptop – with reduced complexity but feasible, sufficiently accurate, scalable and already used in practical clinical applications.

We work towards our vision of providing digital copies of a person’s brain to virtually plan and test personalized treatment of brain orders, e.g. Alzheimer’s, stroke, epilepsy or tumors.

Our team is growing fast and we would be happy to welcome you, e.g. as software developer, lab manager or research assistant! Check out our current job openings or send us your speculative application!

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Brain Simulation Section is a research center of Charité Universitätsmedizin

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  • Brain Connectivity Workshop 2020 to be held in Toronto, Canada



    Toronto, Canada

    The aim of Brain Connectivity Workshop is to establish a dialogue between researchers in computational neuroscience, neuroscience methodology and experimental neuroscience about the emerging field of brain connectivity.

    This year the workshop will revisit the first ever Brain Connectivity workshop theme from a different perspective: "What does the mind think of the brain?" - focusing the discussions around what we have learned about our mind over the last 20 years of brain connectomics.

    The topics will deal with consciousness and cognition, looking at the tripartite relationship between anatomical connectivity, brain dynamics and cognitive function.

    The Brain Connectivity Workshop is conveniently right before OHBM in Montreal, Canada (June 26-30).


    Tickets for this workshops are limited. You can buy tickets for $350 CAD online.

    Tentative list of speakers

    Please check for updates about confirmed speakers on more details von the BCW2020 event website.

    • Giulio Tononi: Consciousness & Cognition

      University of Wisconsin - Madison

    • Andreea Diaconescu: Bayesian models of Psychiatric Disorders

      University of Toronto

    • Viktor Jirsa: Dynamical Systems

      Aix Marseille University

    • Michael Mack: Cognitive Modeling

      University of Toronto

    • Bratislav Misic: Graphs/Networks

      McGill University

    • Petra Ritter: Multiscale Imaging/Modeling

      Charite University

    • Lisa Barrett: Brain-Body Interactions & Allostasis

      Northeastern University

    • Dani Bassett: Network Control Theory

      University of Pennsylvania

    • Gustavo Deco: Network Architectures in Cognition

      Pompeu Fabra University

    • Athena Demertzi: Conscious & Unconscious States

      University of Liege

    • Emily Finn: Fingerprinting Connectivity & Cognition

      Dartmouth College

    • Mike Halassa: Thalamocortical Interactions in Cognition

      Massachusetts Institute of Technology

    • Biyu Jade He: Perceptual Awareness

      New York University

    • Randy McIntosh: Hidden Repertoires in Cognition

      University of Toronto

    • Rosalyn Moran: Bayesian Models, Free Energy

      Kings College London

    • Mac Shine: Modulation of Network Dynamics

      University of Sydney

    • Enzo Tagliazucchi: Consciousness and Entropy

      University of Buenos Aires

    • Brandon Turner: Integration of Cognition and Neural Models

      Ohio State University

  • The Virtual Brain at Mobile World Congress Barcelona, 2020



    Barcelona, Spain

    We are excited to announce that the The Virtual Brain and Virtual Brain Cloud will have a booth at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona in February 2020.

    We will be showing our work alongside the Human Brain Project and industry partners Eodyne and Indoc.

    Further details will be announced here, so watch this space!

  • Medical University Charité's 26th Neurokolloquium



    Berlin, Germany

    The 26th Neurokolloquium will be held on the 15th of February at the Charité Campus Virchow Klinikum.

    Neurokolloquium is an annual symposium put on by the Charité Clinic and University Outpatient Department for Neurology, during which a variety of lectures and presentations are held on topics from the entire spectrum of work done in the Neurology Department.

    Themes include therapy, diagnosis, historical content and controversial topics from the field. As part of the day's events, Dr. Petra Ritter will present a guest lecture on The Virtual Brain, covering how brain simulations can aid in better understanding and treatment of neurological illnesses.


    Hörsaal im AUDIMAX
    Campus Virchow-Klinikum
    Augustenburger Platz 1, 13353 Berlin
    (internal: Lehrgebäude Forum 3 / Ecke Weststraße 2)

    A precise map of the lecture hall's location on campus can be found here.

    Full Program and Registration

    Lectures and presentations will be held in German.

    The event is free for employees and students of the Charité Neurology Department.

    The fee for external participants is 20€.

    Please find further details on the program and how to register here.

  • The Virtual Brain at the Human Brain Project Summit



    Athens, Greece

    Meet the TVB team at the Human Brain Project Summit & Open Day in Athens from February 3 to 6!

    We will present at the "Explore the Brain" EBRAINS booth on Open day, February 3rd and have a dedicated TVB session on February 5th. Find out about all the TVB tools and services that we made available via EBRAINS!

    HBP is at a crossroads itself, entering its last phase of funding as a FET Flagship project and envisioning its long-term future as a landmark infrastructure in the ESFRI Roadmap. Athens is, thus, a fitting stage for fertile discussions, intense exchange of ideas, and bold new conceptions on the science, infrastructure, research, technology, application, education, and innovation dimensions of neuroscience in general and the Human Brain Project in particular.

    TVB team members in Athens

  • Data Sharing seminar at the BIH



    Berlin, Germany

    Please join the Data Sharing seminar at the Berlin Institute of Health on Tuesday January 28.

    Prof. Petra Ritter will be giving a lecture on General Regulations for Processing and Sharing Personal Data.

    The event will be held in German. You can find more details on the BIH event page.

    Full list of speakers

    • Alexander Bartschke, BIH, Medical Information Manager

    • Dr. Evgeny Bobrov, BIH, Referent Open Data und Forschungsdatenmanagement

    • Dr. Peter Brunecker, BIH, stellv. Leiter IT und Co-Sprecher Medical Data Integration Center (MeDIC) (tbc)

    • Dr. Jochen Kruppa, Charité, AG-Leiter Statistische Bioinformatik

    • Prof. Fabian Prasser, BIH, Head of Medical Informatics Group

    • Prof. Petra Ritter, Charité, Direktorin der Sektion Gehirnsimulation

    • Prof. Sylvia Thun, BIH, Director of eHealth and interoperability

    • Dr. Joachim Weber, Charité und BIH, u.a. Oberarzt und CRU-Standortkoordinator

    • Eric Wündisch, BIH, Forschungsplattform Digitale Medizin


  • Dr. Petra Ritter & Paul Triebkorn present The Virtual Brain at Urania



    Berlin, Germany

    Urania Berlin is one of the leading centers of dialog between science, the humanities and the public. We are excited to join the many leading scientists who deliver lectures and talks in their areas of research at Urania.

    Petra Ritter and Paul Triebkorn will present The Virtual Brain at Urania Berlin on January 21st, 2020.

    The talk will be a part of a series called Berlin Brains 2020, during which neuroscientists working in Berlin will present their current work to the public.

    Join us at Urania to hear about how human brains are simulated using The Virtual Brain simulation platform. We will cover how this platform allows researchers to work together, what role the EU Human Brain Project plays and how digital brain simulations help patients.

    Find out more details about the event here.

  • Dr. Petra Ritter to give a lecture on The Virtual Brain at Bernstein Center Berlin



    Berlin, Germany

    Dr. Petra Ritter will be holding a lecture on The Virtual Brain at the Bernstein Center for Computational Neuroscience Berlin on January 20th, 2019.

    The lecture will begin at 4:00 PM in the BCCN lecture hall. Guests are welcome!

    Please send an email to Dr. Ritter for registration.


  • Lecture on The Virtual Brain at HEIBRIDS Berlin



    Berlin, Germany

    Dr. Petra Ritter will be holding a lecture about The Virtual Brain on January 8, 2020 at the Helmholtz Einstein International Berlin Research School in Data Science (HEIBRIDS).

    The lecture is part of a weekly series on the applications of data science. Lectures in the series are open to the public, start at 4:00 PM and take place in the Lecture Hall of the Einstein Center Digital Future, Robert-Koch-Forum, Wilhelmstr. 67, 10117 Berlin.

    The full program for the winter semester can be found here.


  • BrainModes 2019 in Pokhara, Nepal



    Pokhara, Nepal

    BrainModes 2019 will be taking place in Pokhara, Nepal from the 11th to the 13th of December and we'll be there!

    BrainModes is an annual meeting that brings together international experts from various disciplines and seeks to explore innovative means of understanding complex brain activity and multimodal neuroscience data sets.

    This year's meeting will focus on exploring "Unified Principles of Brain Connectivity and Dynamics".


    December 11, 2019: Pre-Conference Course

    • Structural and Functional Neuroimaging Overview (Instructor: Michael Breakspear)
    • Virtual Brain Theory (Instructor: Viktor Jirsa)
    • Virtual Brain Applications (Instructor: Petra Ritter and Randy McIntosh)
    • Neural Field Theory and Applications (Instructor: Peter Robinson)
    • Granger Causality Theory and Applications (Instructor: Mukesh Dhamala)
    • Information-Theoretic Measures and Applications (Instructor: Daniele Marinazzo)
    • Dynamical Causal Modeling Theory and Applications (Instructor: Karl Friston)

    December 12-13, 2019: Main Conference (Oral and Poster Sessions)

    A detailed list of the speakers and more information about the event can be found here.

  • The Virtual Brain training course at Bernstein Center for Computational Neuroscience Berlin



    Berlin, Germany

    Hands-on TVB training course for those of you in Berlin

    We are pleased to announce that we will be holding a training course for The Virtual Brain at the Bernstein Center for Computational Neuroscience Berlin on December 3rd, 2019. The course is intended for students of the Bernstein Center, however if you are not a student there but are interested in joining please contact petra.ritter@charite.de.

    During the course, we will introduce the The Virtual Brain (TVB) - a large-scale simulation platform, from both a theoretical and practical application perspective. This simulation environment allows biologically realistic modeling of the network dynamics of the human brain using connectome-based approaches across different brain scales. This computational modeling system is tailored to the individual, and bridges multiple scales.

    We will be taking a close look at how to operate the TVB graphical user interface, and also the scriptable user interface. During this course you will learn to create your first virtual brain.

    We will also go into details of a clinical application for simulating and predicting epilepsy to inform surgical interventions, and a tutorial on how to run a multi-scale simulation that bridges TVB and NEST.

    We hope you enjoy the program we have put together this year, for more details, please see below:


    Morning Session: Lectures

    Auditorium BCCN

    • 08:30 - 10:00

      Guided tour of The Virtual Brain

      Petra Ritter

    • 10:00 - 10:30

      Move to Informatic Room

    Informatic room PHYS DPT

    • 10:30 - 11:00

      Coffee break

    • 11:00 - 12:15

      Theory behind TVB: Introduction to large-scale brain network modeling

      Andreas Spiegler

    • 12:15 - 12:45

      TVB architecture

      Julie Courtiol

    • 12:45 - 14:00

      Lunch break

    Afternoon session: Hands-On tutorials using GUI & SUI

    Informatic room PHYS DPT

    • 14:00 - 15:00

      First steps with TVB: Generate your first virtual brain model (GUI)

      Jan Stasiński

    • 15:00 - 16:00

      TVB Clinical Application: Modeling epileptogenic brain activity (GUI)

      Julie Courtiol

    • 16:00 - 16:30

      Coffee break

    • 16:30 - 17:30

      TVB-NEST: Bridging multiscale activity by co-simulation (SUI)

      Denis Perdikis

    • 17:30 - 17:45

      Discussion & Concluding words


    The training will be held at the Bernstein Center for Computational Neuroscience Berlin, Philippstraße 13/Haus 6, 10115 Berlin.