11. Bernstein Sparks Workshop: Naturalistic integration of information from external stimulation into the ongoing neuronal activities of the brain

October 20 - 23, 2016


Lehmkuhlenbusch 4
27753 Delmenhorst/Germany


  • Udo Ernst, Universität Bremen
  • David Rotermund, Universität Bremen

This workshop is funded by grants from the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG), the Bernstein Network for Computational Neuroscience, and from the HWK Focus Group “I-See – The artificial eye: chronic interfaces to the visual cortex”

In recent years, the development of functional neural prostheses has made substantial progress. The ideal process would be to directly stimulate visual, auditory or sensorimotor cortex and to integrate meaningful content into the ongoing neural processing of information through this artificial interface. However, simple electrical microstimulation is only capable of inducing coarse-grained percepts without temporal structure. During this workshop we want to discuss putative solutions to this problem as well as other technologies for constructing stimulation interfaces to the brain. Any successful attempt at building a cortical prosthesis needs a deep understanding of the networks, dynamics, and information processing in the targeted brain area. There are also technical challenges in realizing efficient brain stimulation and in building robust, long-lasting brain implants. Thus fostering the dialogue between scientists and engineers is an important goal of this workshop.
In summary, the aim of this workshop is to identify and to discuss important steps in the fields of neurobiology, computational neuroscience and engineering, which have to be taken in order to achieve a more naturalistic integration of 'artificial' information into ongoing neural information processing, hereby focusing on the development of cortical prostheses for animal research and, ultimately, for human patients.

Further information on the pages of the Bernstein Network:

Confirmed speaker

Costas Anastassiou, Sliman Bensmaia, Anthony Burkitt, Ilka Diester,
Eduardo Fernandez Jover, Jannis Hildebrandt, Kristine Krug, Mikhail Lebedev,
Tobias Moser, Thomas Lenarz, Hubert Lim, Ramesh Rajan, Christopher Rozell,
Mohamad Sawan,Günther Zeck, Eberhart Zrenner


Thursday, October 20, 2016

                            Arrival, Check-in hotel
15:30 – 16:00   Coffee
16:00 – 16:15   Opening and Welcome
16:15 – 17:00   Mikhail A. Lebedev
                            Adding touch sensations to artificial hands
17:00 – 17:45   Hubert H. Lim
                            Restoring hearing with a new auditory midbrain implant
18:00 – 20:00   Dinner at HWK
20:00 – 21:00   Ramesh Rajan
                            An update on the Monash vision Group’s progress in developing
                            a visual cortical prosthesis

Friday, October 21, 2016

09:30 – 10:15   Kristine Krug
                            Electrical micro-stimulation of the visual cortex
10:15 – 11:00   Anthony Burkitt
                            Modelling electrical stimulation of neurons
11:00 – 11:30   Coffee Break
11:30 – 12:15   Christopher J. Rozell
                            Open- and closed-loop optogenetic stimulation for injecting
                            sensory info in vivo
12:15 – 14:00   Lunch at HWK
14:00 – 14:45   Eberhart Zrenner
                            Vision with retina implants
14:45 – 15:30   Günther Zeck
                            Technologies for high resolution electrical stimulation
15:30 – 16:00   Coffee Break
16:00 – 16:45   Eduardo Fernandez Jover
                            Intracortical microelectrodes and their bio-compability: Towards the
                            development of a cortical visual neuroprosthesis for the blind
16:45 – 17:30   Mohamad Sawan
                            Implantable bioelectronics for the diagnostic and treatment
                            of neurodegenerative diseases
18:00 – 19:30   Dinner at HWK
19:30 – 21:00   Discussions at the chimney

Saturday, October 22, 2016

09:30 – 10:15   Sliman Bensmaia
Biological and Bionic hands: Natural neural coding and
                            artificial perception
10:15 – 10:45   Coffee Break
10:45 – 11:15   Andreas Kreiter
                            Stimulating into a working brain
11:15 – 11:45   Udo Ernst
Don't swim against the tide! - Using multistable states for interacting
                           with recurrent cortical networks and for controlling information processing
11:45 – 12:15   Dmitry Osipov
                            Integrated circuits for electrical stimulation
12:15 – 14:00   Lunch at HWK
14:00 – 14:30   Walter Lang
High density ECoG electrode arrays and floating neural probes for
                            chronic recording and stimulation                    
14:30 – 15:50   Theo Doll
                            Approaches towards closing the auditory (efferent) loop
14:50 – 15:30   Coffee Break
15:30 – 16:15   Jannis Hildebrandt
                            Controlling the inhibition via optogenetics
16:15 – 17:00   Tobias Moser
                            Optogenetic stimulaton of the auditory pathway for research
                            and future prosthetics
17:00 – 18:00   Postersession
18:00 – 19:30   Dinner at HWK
19:30 – 21:00   Postersession

Sunday, October 23, 2016

09:30 – 10:15   Thomas Lenarz
                            Prostheses for restoring hearing: A success story
10:15 – 10:45   Coffee Break
10:45 – 11:30   Klaus Obermayer
Computational models of neurons and populations
                            exposed to weak electric fields
11:30 – 12:15   Alessandro Vato
Intracortical micro-stimulation as sensory feedback in
                            brain-machine interfaces
12:15 – 12:30   Final Discussion
12:30 – 14:00   Lunch at HWK
14:00                  Departure