New job at Allen Institute
Time goes by and it is time to move to a new step. About a month ago I got the job at the Allen Institute for Brain Science. The focus would be the translational direction, I decided mo move back to the medical focus using theory. I will be working soon on the network models of epileptic seizures to study how do they initiate and propagate in the cortex and hippocampus. These are questions I actually care about from the computational perspective, i.e. how do single neuron properties matter in terms of brain dynamics, in case of seizures and normal dynamics. During my PhD I have been asking the question why certain properties of single neurons do not matter for network stability, while some are really crucial. Fortunately I am not the only neuroscientist who has been working on this question. Sometimes this feature of the biological models it is referred as "sloppiness" (https://bcs.mit.edu/news-events/events/linear-network-theory-and-sloppy-models). It means that the system, like biological neural net is sensitive not to the particular property, but rather the specific combination of them. I like to think about it that Nature does not care about particular way of how function might be implemented, it just has to be done good enough. Therefore there are multiple possible combinations of mechanisms that could do the same job, like bring the system to the seizure for example. I am looking forward to learn more about these ideas for the epileptic brain networks. I would like to start working very soon, but visa transition from J1 to H1B takes longer than expected. On one hand I am really excited because it is an incredible opportunity to work in an amazing place on the project that will make the difference. On the other hand it means that I will stay in Seattle for a while, which is in principle good thing as well. I should say that my adaptation here goes faster than in France, yet building relationships with the other people takes time. Now I have it.