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McLean researcher

Peter Siekmeier: Laboratory for Computational Neuroscience

Computational neuroscience is a highly promising approach to investigating the brain and psychiatric illness. Founded in 1996, the Laboratory for Computational Neuroscience uses new technologies to conduct virtual experiments that are inexpensive, safe, and efficient, generating findings that can ultimately translate to clinical treatments.

Our detailed computational models of the hippocampus and prefrontal cortex integrate vast amounts of neuroscientific data. Using these models we can simultaneously test a large number of virtual medications and identify promising drug candidates and novel treatment mechanisms.

Part and parcel of our work is actualizing rigorously defined biomarkers of psychiatric illness in computational models. Such models can help us understand the connections between brain cell abnormalities and patients’ symptoms—mechanisms that conventional neuroscience has struggled to clarify.

Although our work is not defined by a particular disease, we currently focus on psychotic disorders including schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. Potentially we will apply our approach to autism and Alzheimer’s disease.