Five questions answered by Birte Forstmann


Photo by Jeroen Oerlemans

(1) How can we find out how the brain works?

I believe that formal models that make simultaneous predictions about different modalities such as behavior and the brain are powerful tools. Such tools could help to gain a better mechanistic understanding of brain function.

(2) What will your talk at CCN 2017 be about?

In my talk I will focus on the human subcortex. I will show how different scales can be combined including information from the cellular level by means of immunohistochemistry to neurocognitive modeling and how they can be combined in joint models. Finally, I will show how this knowledge can directly translate to the bedside.

(3) How can cognitive science, computational neuroscience, and artificial intelligence best work together?

Organizing exciting new meetings such as CCN is an excellent start. In addition, hands-on workshops are an interesting format to get people familiarized with the tools and data each discipline has to offer. In the lab, it is fun to have people with backgrounds from the cognitive sciences, basic/cognitive neurosciences, and artificial intelligence work together and see how their curiosity drives them to learn with and from each other.

(4) What current developments are you most excited about?

I am excited about technologies that give us noninvasive access to small structures that lie deep in the brain including ultra-high field MRI and Connectom scanners. My hope is that this technology will deliver better brain data, which in turn is essential to developing more precise neurocognitive models and may ultimately translate to the bedside.

(5) What do you hope to learn at CCN 2017?

A lot. 🙂