The EPFL Brain Mind Institute (BMI) explores brain function, cognitive gene expression and the functions of different brain areas, for example the sensorimotor area, the hippocampus and the limbic system.
Its main areas of research are:
Diseases of the nervous system, particularly neurodegenerative illnesses, are a major theme of research at the BMI.
The BMI works in partnership with different academic and industrial partners in brain research from the Lake Geneva region, notably the Universities of Geneva and Lausanne, the Sport and Rehabilitation Engineering program (SRE), Nestlé and IBM as part of the Blue Brain project.
The Blue Brain project. The aim of the Blue Brain project is to generate a credible predictive model of the simplest component of the brain, the cortical column. Launched in 2005, it was developed at the Brain Mind Institute and is managed by Professor Henry Markram. The scientists use a super computer called Bluegene, developed by IBM, which is capable of carrying out 22.8 hundred million operations per second (22.8 teraflops)
The objectives of the project are to better understand how the brain is organised and how neurons transmit information, linking these insights to mechanisms of perception, attention and memory; and also to offer researchers from medical, pharmacological and neuroscience backgrounds a model brain for virtual experiments, especially if they cannot be carried out on living brains.
This new entity has grown out from the Department of Cell Biology and Morphology (DBCM) and is presently composed of around 80 scientists divided into 15 research teams working mainly in the areas of fundamental and translational neuroscience. Their purpose is to carry out multidisciplinary research based around four main themes: