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Visualizing Synaptic Maps onto Neocortical Neurons
|Born||1962 (age 50–51)
|Institutions||École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne|
|Alma mater||Cape Town University,
Weizmann Institute of Science
Blue Brain Project
He obtained his B.Sc. (Hons) from Cape Town University, South Africa under the supervision of Rodney Douglas and his Ph.D. from the Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel, under the supervision of Menahem Segal. During his Ph.D. work, he discovered a link between acetylcholine and memory mechanisms by showing that acetylcholine modulates the primary receptor linked to synaptic plasticity.
Markram went to the United States as a Fulbright Scholar at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), where he studied ion channels on synaptic vesicles. He then went as a Minerva Fellow to the Laboratory of Bert Sakmann at the Max Planck Institute, Heidelberg, Germany, where he discovered calcium transients in dendrites evoked by sub-threshold activity, and by single action potentials propagating back into dendrites. He also began studying the connectivity between neurons, describing in great detail how layer 5 pyramidal neurons are interconnected.
Some of his work altered the relative timing of single pre- and post-synaptic action potentials to reveal a learning mechanism operating between neurons where the relative timing in the millisecond range affects the coupling strength between neurons. The importance of such timing has been reproduced in many brain regions and is known as spike timing-dependent synaptic plasticity (STDP).
Markram was appointed assistant professor at the Weizmann Institute of Science, where he started systematically dissecting out the neocortical column. He discovered that synaptic learning can also involve a change in synaptic dynamics (called redistribution of synaptic efficacy) rather than merely changing the strengths of connections. He also studied principles governing neocortical microcircuit structure, function, and emergent dynamics. Together with Wolfgang Maass he developed the so-called theory of liquid state machine, or high entropy computing.
In 2002 he moved to EPFL as full professor and founder/director of the Brain Mind Institute and Director of the Center for Neuroscience and Technology. At the BMI, in the Laboratory for Neural Microcircuitry, Markram continues to study the organisation of the neocortical column, develops tools to carry out multi-neuron patch clamp recordings combined with laser and electrical stimulation as well as multi-site electrical recording, chemical imaging and gene expression.
- Graham-Rowe, Duncan (March 25, 2009). "Building a Brain on a Silicon Chip". Technology Review. Retrieved August 28, 2012.
- Graham-Rowe, Duncan. "The Human Brain Project". EFPL. Retrieved January 27, 2013.
- Lehrer, Jonah. "Can a thinking, remembering, decision-making, biologically accurate brain be built from a supercomputer?". Seed Magazine. Retrieved August 28, 2012.
- Lecture at IBM Research's Almaden Institute Conference on Cognitive Computing in 2006
- Henry Markram at the TED Conference
- Henry Markram @ International Supercomputing Conference 2011 - Simulating The Brain : The Next Decisive Years - Lecture
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