CORTEX is a rare and combined multidisciplinary effort to understand the brain and human cognition, based on systems level studies of networks and interactions of multiple scales, from neurons to individuals. Understanding cognition and its biological roots, but also its pathologies requires a comprehension of its genesis, its structure, and its physiology. CORTEX pushes this integrative approach, which allows tapping into the resources of our brain for rehabilitation; the design of new and therapeutic procedures. One further perspective will be to pave the way, via reverse engineering of the brain, to the emerging field of bio-inspired technologies.
How the cortex is dynamically assembled, its architecture, the computations it supports and finally its capacities for perception, action, emotion and communication are part and parcel of a highly integrated process. Hence creating a coherent research program that integrates the communities pursuing cortex development, physiology & anatomy, cognitive science, medicine, social sciences is a primary ambition of CORTEX. We are also developing stem cell biotechnology to develop transgenic animals and to explore regenerative medical approaches.
The CORTEX project will investigate the neural substrate underlying higher cognitive and perceptive functions such as decision-making, motivation, cooperation/ reward processing and meaningful sensori-motor interactions with the external world. A coherent research strategy employing cell anatomy and molecular biology, single- and multi-channel and field recording in behaving animals, whole brain imaging, modeling and behavioral testing demands clear lines of convergence. One such convergence that is very pronounced in the activities of the CORTEX teams is the implementation of invasive approaches in animal models and their parallel in humans. This provides a unique level of insight into the cellular mechanisms underlying cognitive brain disorders, recovery and repair. A second strong convergence of the team members of CORTEX is the integration of clinical and fundamental research. Extensive expertise in signal analysis, brain imaging, human electrophysiology and behavior has allowed CORTEX teams to make important contributions to understanding pain, motor and sensory-motor deficits, epilepsy, cognitive deficits, autism, Parkinson’s disease and cortical reorganization following injury.