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

Latest activities

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    TVB at Mobile World Congress Barcelona, 2020

    December 2

    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!

  • BM social media

    BrainModes 2019 in Pokhara, Nepal

    November 29

    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.

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    Building Networks in Epilepsy - 1st Workshop

    November 26

    Prof. Dr. Ritter will join researchers from both the Charité and King's College London in presenting her research at the 1st of two workshops focussed on interdisciplinary research in the field of epilepsy. The workshops are funded by the King's College London – Charité Joint Research Fund and aim to bring together researchers from two major institutions who have expressed interest in exploring joint grants in different fields (e.g. Neuroimaging, Neurophysiology, Neurosurgery, Neuropsychology, Engineering). In the workshops researchers will develop new ideas to understand and treat epilepsy better, and also to understand the basic workings of the brain.


    Friday (29.11.2019)

    • 13.30


    • 14.00

      Individual research presentations – Part I

    • 15.30

      Coffee Break

    • 16.00

      Individual research presentations – Part II

    • 17.30

      Speakers' Dinner

    Saturday (30.11.2019)

    • 09.00


    • 09.00

      Split up in interest groups

    • 11.00

      Coffee Break

    • 11.30

      Presentation of summaries of interest groups to plenary

    • 13.00

      Discussion of next steps and appropriate funding calls


    • Dr David Carmichael, MSci PhD School of Biomedical Engineering and Imaging Sciences, King’s College London

    • Prof Alexander Hammers, MD PhD King’s College London & Guy’s and St Thomas’ PET Centre

    • Prof Martin Holtkamp MD Department of Neurology, Charité

    • Dr Özlem Ipek PhD School of Biomedical Engineering and Imaging Sciences, King’s College London

    • Dr Julia Onken MD Department of Neurosurgery, Charité

    • Prof Petra Ritter MD Head of the Section Brain Simulation, Department of Neurology, Charité

    • PD Dr Ulf Schneider MD Department of Neurosurgery, Charité

    • Dr Mirja Steinbrenner MD School of Biomedical Engineering and Imaging Sciences, King’s College London

    • Pedro Viana MD Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience, King‘s College London


    Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin
    Campus Charité Mitte
    Charitéplatz 1, 10117 Berlin
    Seminar room (level 3, room 041), Neurology Outpatient Clinic
    Building “Alte Nervenklinik”, Bonhoefferweg 3


    Dr Mirja Steinbrenner
    School of Biomedical Engineering and Imaging Sciences
    King’s College London

  • lecture hall ruins

    Digital Medicine - Opportunity or Risk for Women?

    November 25

    Please join us for Prof. Dr. Ritter’s talk Digital Medicine – Opportunity or Risk for Women? at the International Conference for Mentoring in Medicine on November 29 at the Berlin Museum of Medical History. The talk will be held in the historic Lecture Hall Ruin.

    Below you can find conference's morning program, which is open to the public.


    • 10.00am

      *Eröffnung/Opening *

      Dr. Christine Kurmeyer, Zentrale Frauen- und Gleichstellungsbeauftragte, Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin

    • 10.10am

      Grußwort des Prodekans/ Greeting from the Vice Dean

      Prof. Dr. Joachim Spranger, Prodekan für Studium und Lehre, Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin

    • 10.15am

      Workshop „Mehr Gender in die Forschungsanträge!“ / "More Gender in Research Papers!"

      Dr. Eva Becher, DLR Projektträger und ehemalige Mitarbeiterin des Geschlechterforschungsinstituts der Charité

    • 12.30am

      Impulsvortrag „Digitalisierung in der Medizin – Chance oder Risikofür Frauen?“ / "Digital Medicine - Opportunity or Risk for Women?"

      Prof. Dr. Petra Ritter, Direktorin der Sektion Gehirnsimulation, Klinik für Neurologie, Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin

    • 13.30am

      Ende des öffentlichen Teils / End of the public part of the program


    Lecture Halls Ruins (Hörsaalruine) at the Berlin Museum of Medical History, Virchowweg 16

Meet our team

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  • 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.

  • The Virtual Brain Booth and Dedicated Poster Session at SFN 2019




    We will be exhibiting TVB at SFN this year, along side our collaborators The Human Brain Project (HBP) and International Neuroinformatics Coordinating Facility (INCF), who will be in booths not too far away - so come and say hello!

    Along with showcasing TVB at the booth, we will also be featuring a dedicated Virtual Brain Poster session (#705). The poster session includes 11 presentations from 8AM - 11AM. We would like to take this opportunity to especially highlight the poster session by Paul Triebkorn: The Virtual Brain improves machine‐learning‐driven classification of Alzheimer’s disease.

    So, we hope to see you there, at the booth or at the poster sessions. In any case, SFN 2019 is going to be wonderful as usual.

  • 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.