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August 10, 2012

Scientific conferences and workshops at IST Austria

Events on neuron simulation, sensory coding and natural environment, algebraic statistics, and cell and tissue biomechanics

In the coming months, IST Austria is the venue of a number of international scientific conferences and workshops. These events, organized by IST Austria professors together with faculty of other institutes, will bring scientists from a range of research fields to the IST Austria campus. Here is an overview:

NEURON course 2012
From August 20 – 24, the first European NEURON course takes place at IST Austria. This five-day course is a counterpart to the intensive course held yearly at the University of California, San Diego by the developers of NEURON, N. T. Carnevale and M.L. Hines. The course at IST Austria includes lectures, demonstrations and hands-on exercises by the core faculty Profs Carnevale and Hines of Yale University and the local faculty involved, IST Austria Professors Peter Jonas and Gašper Tkačik. Jose Guzman, a senior postdoc in the group of Peter Jonas, is the main local instructor. The aim of the course is to learn about computational strategies and modeling methods based on the NEURON simulation environment. It provides a common frame to allow both experimentalists and theoreticians to test new models of brain function. In particular, it teaches how the computer program NEURON can be efficiently used to solve complex cable equations and neuronal network activity. According to Peter Jonas, “IST Austria is the ideal host to apply computational approaches to brain function, because the institute is a unique place where both computer science and neuroscience are major focus areas. The participants of the course will benefit from the computer science infrastructure, while IST Austria will benefit from the expertise in computational neuroscience brought in by internationally renowned experts.” Researchers from more than 10 different countries will participate in the NEURON course at IST Austria.

Sensory Coding & Natural Environment 2012
The successful conference series “Sensory Coding and Natural Environment” has been running since 2002. This year’s conference will be held at IST Austria from September 9 – 12 and is organized by Gašper Tkačik of IST Austria, Matthias Bethge of CIN and MPI Tübingen and Elad Schneidman of the Weizmann Institute of Science. This interdisciplinary conference series has drawn together scientists at the interface of neuroscience, physics, engineering, psychology and machine learning. The goal of the Sensory Coding & Natural Environment 2012 conference is to ask how understanding natural signals can help us to understand sensory processing and perception. Gašper Tkačik explains why Sensory Coding & Natural Environment is an interestingly conceived meeting: “SCNE is modest in the number of participants as far as the conferences go (about 100 participants), yet very broad in scope. The topics stretch, for example, from the psychophysics of human vision or the neural basis of audition, to senses discussed less often, such as the vestibular sense or echolocation in bats. The main thread, however, remains constant throughout – a quantitative inquiry into the relation between the types of stimuli present in our environments and the neural mechanisms by which the organisms detect and process this information. IST Austria, with a similarly broad scope and interdisciplinary emphasis, seems like a proper place for such a meeting.”

Workshop on Algebraic Statistics
A workshop on Algebraic Statistics, organized by Caroline Uhler (IST Austria) and Ruriko Yoshida (University of Kentucky), takes place at IST Austria from 28 – 30 September. The aim of the workshop is to learn about ongoing work in algebraic statistics and start new collaborations across Europe.

Cell and Tissue Biomechanics
The “Cell and Tissue Biomechanics” symposium, taking place at IST Austria on November 15 and 16, is organized by IST Austria professors Michael Sixt and Carl-Philipp Heisenberg and by Hernan Lopez-Schier of the Helmholtz Zentrum in Munich. The workshop aims at bringing together scientists who look at the same process, namely the morphodynamics of cells and tissues, from different angles and to discuss recent advances in the field of biomechanics in cells and tissues. The symposium is sponsored by the Research Networking Program “QuanTissue” of the European Science Foundation and features 15 invited speakers.


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