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!

portrait photo

Brain Simulation Section is a research center of Charité Universitätsmedizin

Latest activities

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  • The Virtual Brain Logo

    Dr. Petra Ritter presents The Virtual Brain at the Bernstein Conference Satellite event

    September 12

    Join us Tuesday the 17th of September at 15:30 for a presentation about the free and open source tool The Virtual Brain.

    The Bernstein Conference satellite event, titled Brain Circuit Insight, includes 7 talks including coffee break starting from 14:00 - 17:30 on the 17th and 6 talks including coffee break starting from 08:30 - 11:30 on the 18th. Brain Circuit Insight aims to cover the state of the art advancements on understanding and simulating networks of neurons. The goal is not simply to simulate these networks, but to understand them, to compare them to real brain function, and gain insight into the functioning of real brains. This includes showcasing several important tool sets and initiatives, including The Virtual Brain.

    For more information about the Bernstein Conference, please check out their website here..

    We hope to see you there!

  • EOSC logo

    Joint EOSC project meeting in Brussels, September 2019

    September 2

    We join a meeting of over 30 projects currently contributing to building EOSC through H2020, taking place in Brussels on 9-10 September 2019.

    Representatives of the EOSC Executive and Governance Boards will also be present in the meeting, together with the staff of the European Commission (CNECT.C.1 - eInfrastructure and Science Cloud; RTD.G.4 - Open Science) and the EOSC Secretariat project, supporting the governance process.

    Joint EOSC project meeting on 9-10 September 2019 in Brussels

  • Drawing of VBC logo on a chalk board

    We're Presenting at Two Summer School Programs

    September 2

    Two Upcoming Summer School Programs will Include Presentations by Dr. Petra Ritter

    Two exciting summer school programs: The Barcelona Cognition Brain and Technology summer school, and the NeuroSchool: Summer School in Computational and Theoretical Models in Neuroscience will be featuring presentations by our lab leader, Dr. Petra Ritter this year.

    "The annual international summer school Barcelona Cognition Brain and Technology promotes a shared systems-level understanding of the functional architecture of the brain and its possible emulation in artificial systems. This school, organized by the SPECS-lab @IBEC since 2008, addresses students and scientists involved in research at the interface between brains and technology such as in the ambit of “Bio-ICT convergence” “Brain Inspired ICT” and “cognitive systems and robotics.” Students will attend lectures from prominent scientists in the field of brain research, cognitive science and neuroscience, as well as AI and related fields. Students will also participate in tutorials and work on projects that will be presented at the end of the two weeks of the summer school."

    "Approaches and techniques from Physics, Mathematics and Computational Science are increasingly becoming critical for understanding and modelling the brain, and also for designing and interpreting experiments. Modeling is an essential tool to cut through the vast complexity of neurobiological systems and their many interacting elements. The course teaches the central ideas, methods, and practices of modern computational neuroscience through a combination of lectures, seminars and Tutorials project work. Students will also work on research projects in teams of 3-4 people under close supervision of expert tutors and faculty. Research projects are proposed by faculty before the course, and include data analyses and the development of theories to explain experimental observations. This school is designed for graduate students and postdoctoral fellows that are expected to have a keen interest and basic background in neurobiology, a solid foundation in mathematics and physics, as well as some computing experience."

    Please follow the links to learn more about the summer schools, and to register. We hope to see you there!

  • TVB in the INCF Training Space

    TVB videos now in INCF training space

    August 29

    TVB educational videos (EduCases) are now listed in the INCF training space

    Want a quick start on using TVB? Check out TVB in the INCF training directory. You can find the “TVB Made Easy” serieshere, and many resource related to The Virtual Brain here, along with other helpful learning resources.

    We will exhibit TVB at INCF booth at INCF meeting in Warsaw soon, so come by and say hello, and learn more. We’re also running a workshop, more info here.

Meet our team

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  • TVB Node#9 Workshop in Warsaw



    Warsaw, Poland

    Get up to speed about the fundamental principles of full brain network modeling using the open-source neuroinformatics platform The Virtual Brain (TVB).

    The Berlin team is organizing the TVB Node#9 workshop in Warsaw on August 31st, 2019. This new node is an official training course of Neuroinformatics 2019 that holds on September 1-2, also in Warsaw.

    This workshop is dedicated to a theoretical and practical understanding of large-scale brain network modeling using the open-source neuroinformatics platform The Virtual Brain (TVB).

    You can find more informations on the event official webpage.

    Workshop format

    • Lectures
    • Hands-on tutorials

    Workshop program overview

    • Architecture of TVB
    • Theoretical background of large-scale brain network modeling

    • Interacting with TVB using GUI and/or CLI
    • Personalization pipeline
    • Modeling resting-state networks, brain disorder, stimulation, mouse brain activity, etc.


    Please make sure to register early as we only offer limited seats to ensure there are enough tutors for you.


    If you need more details about this TVB Node workshop, please contact the local organizer Julie Courtiol

  • CNS*2019 Workshop in Barcelona



    Barcelona, Spain

    The workshop will introduce the VirtualBrainCloud – a EU project – that merges existing software tools and platforms to provide access to high quality clinical multi-disciplinary data in order to integrate them via computational modeling, and make them useful in clinical practice.

    At the core of this project is The Virtual Brain (TVB) large-scale simulation platform. This simulation environment allows the biologically realistic modeling of network dynamics of human and mouse brain using connectome-based approaches across different brain scales: from cellular to whole-brain level. This computational modeling system is tailored to the individual, and bridges multiple scales to identify key mechanisms that predict disease progression and serves as Precision Decision Support System.

    The workshop will provide insight in the interdisciplinary work and related challenges that range from computational and clinical neuroscience to infrastructure, and legal and ethical matters. Our international speakers team, from EU and Canada, comprises a balanced composition of genders and seniority levels.

    The workshop will be held as a part of the CNS*2019 meeting in Barcelona, Spain.



    • Hannelore Aerts, Ghent University, Belgium
    • Anastasia Brovkin, University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf, Germany
    • Julie Courtiol, Charité Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Germany
    • Sumit Madan, Fraunhofer SCAI, Germany
    • Randy McIntosh, University of Toronto, Canada
    • Alexander Peyser,Forschungszentrum Jülich, Germany
    • Oleksandr Popovyh, Forschungszentrum Jülich, Germany
    • Hugo Richard, Paris-Saclay University, Paris, France
    • Mariana Rissetto, University of Vienna, Austria
    • Petra Ritter, Charité Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Germany
    • Gianluca Susi, Technical University of Madrid, Spain & University of Rome "Tor Vergara", Italy
    • Riccardo Zucca, Institute for Bioengineering of Catalonia, Barcelona, Spain


    The workshop consists of two half-day sessions:

    See at the bottom of the page to download the program and full abstracts as PDF file.

    Morning session, July 16, Room S3

    • 09:30 - 10:00

      The Virtual Brain simulation platform and Virtual Brain Cloud

      Petra Ritter

    • 10:00 - 10:30

      Modeling brain dynamics in brain tumor patients

      Hannelore Aerts

    • 10:30 - 11:00

      Ethical and legal aspects of personalized brain simulation and data sharing

      Mariana Rissetto

    • 11:00 - 11:30

      Coffee break

    • 11:30 - 12:00

      Terminologies, ontologies and data curation

      Sumit Madan

    • 12:00 - 12:30

      Cloud and HPC solutions

      Alexander Peyser

    • 12.30 - 13.00

      Enriching big data analytics by computational modeling

      Oleksandr Popovyh

    Afternoon session, July 17, Room S2

    • 14:50 - 15:20

      BrainX3: a tool for multi-modal data integration, analysis, visualization and interaction

      Riccardo Zucca

    • 15:20 - 15:50

      Machine-learning tools for large-scale data

      Hugo Richard

    • 15:50 - 16:20

      Linking spiking neural networks to TVB

      Gianluca Susi

    • 16:20 - 16:50

      Coffee break

    • 16.50 - 17.20

    Interfacing TVB with a digital atlas

    Anastasia Brovkin

    • 17:20 - 17:50

      The Virtual Epileptic Patient

      Julie Courtiol

    • 17:50 - 18:20

      The Neurodegenerative Virtual Brain

      Randy McIntosh

    • 18:20 - 18:30

      Final discussion & closing remarks


    The workshop will be held at the Historical Building of the Universitat de Barcelona (UB), which is located downtown Barcelona.


    Registration to the VirtualBrainCloud workshop is required for attending the 2 sessions. Please see the CNS*2019 registration webpage.

    Note that attendees registered for the main meeting only can attend the workshop session being held on July 16th.

  • Long Night of the Sciences Berlin 2019



    Berlin, Germany

    The Long Night of the Sciences (LNDW) is an annual event across all Berlin and Potsdam-Telegrafenberg, celebrating the sciences with open doors to many scientific institutions and museums, hosting a wide range of experiences. This year the LNDW will be held on June 15th from 5pm until midnight.

    Like in the past two years, the Brain Simulation Section is joining to present educational and fun experiments and lectures, showcasing how practical brain simulation can improve our lives.

    Want to become a part of the smartest night of the year?

    Tickets can be purchased from 20th May on at all S-Bahn and BVG ticket machines and points-of-sale. During the Long Night of the Sciences itself, box office will be set up at the scientific institution.

    Tickets for the Long Night can also be purchased online on the event official website or at eventim.de.

    Where to find us?

    Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin
    Campus Charité Mitte
    CharitéCrossOver-Gebäude, Eingang Schumannstraße 20/21,
    auf dem Campus Virchowweg 6, 10117 Berlin


    • BrainModes
      With BrainModes, view real time 3D models of your brain, and gain deeper insight into how your brain works. And for the first time, experience immersive exploration of the brain in virtual reality!

    Booth: from 17.00
    Where: Hall

    Booth VR: from 17.00
    Where: Front of auditorium

    • The Virtual Brain
      With The Virtual Brain, come discover the neuroinformatics platform that allows you to simulate the brain function of healthy people and patients on the computer.

    Booth: from 17.00
    Where: Hall

    Lecture: from 17.00, every 60 min, duration: 30 min
    Where: Auditorium

    • My Virtual Dream
      With My Virtual Dream, come get to know your brain states and control them in collective neurofeedback! My Virtual Dream is a kind of collective brain-controlled computer game. Using brain-computer interfaces, your brain signals are measured and presented audiovisually as dream scenarios.

    Workshop: from 17.30, every 60 min, duration: 25 min
    Where: Auditorium

    We hope you’ll stop by and visit us at the CCO! We look forward to seeing you.

  • Berliner Hoffest 2019



    City Hall - Rathausstraße 15, 10178 Berlin

    The Berliner Hoffest is an annual event in Berlin celebrating the achievements of Berlin. This year there will be an exhibition outside City Hall featuring a wide variety of installations celebrating the 30th year since the Berlin Wall fell.

    The Brain Simulation Unit will be exhibiting along side The Berlin Institute of Health(BIH), show casing our real time brain visualisations and brain simulation work with The Virtual Brain.