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How do thoughts arise in our brain?


Understanding our brain with the help of computer models—this is the aim of the participants of the Bernstein Conference 2015 that will take place from September 15th – 17th, 2015, at Heidelberg University. Attracting more than 500 scientists, the Bernstein Conference is the largest annual conference in the field of Computational Neuroscience in Europe. Highlights of the conference will be the presentation of the Valentino Braitenberg Award for Computational Neuroscience and the Bernstein Award 2015. For the public, there will be a public evening lecture on pain therapy.

The conference will be opened by Professor Dr. Bernhard Eitel, President of Heidelberg University, on Tuesday, September 15th, at 09:00 h, at Aula, building Neue Universität (Grabengasse 3 – 5, 69117 Heidelberg). At 09:20 h, the Valentino Braitenberg Award for Computational Neuroscience will be presented to Professor Dr. Alexander Borst, director at the Max Planck Institute of Neurobiology in Martinsried. Based on the visual course control in the fly, the biologist investigates the information processing in neurons and small neural populations.

During the subsequent Valentino Braitenberg Lecture, Borst will present milestones of his research. With the award, the Bernstein Association e.V. honors biannually an outstanding scientist who has contributed significantly to our understanding of brain functions. The awardee will receive € 5,000 donated by the Autonome Provinz Bozen Südtirol, which will be presented together with a golden pin badge ("golden neuron").

A further highlight of the conference is the presentation of the Bernstein Award for Computational Neuroscience 2015 on Tuesday, September 15th, at 10:45 h. The award will be conferred by Dr. Matthias Kölbel from the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) and is followed by the keynote address of the winner. The award, which is endowed with € 1.25 million, is one of the most attractive prizes for young neuroscientists. The prize money is provided over a period of five years, and enables outstanding junior scientists to establish an independent research group at a German research institution. Media representatives will have the chance to meet the laureate during a press conference at 12:00 h at Senatssaal, Neue Universität.

Why are we sometimes in pain and how do we get rid of it? Professor Dr. Christian Büchel, chair of the Department of Systems Neuroscience at Universitätsklinikum Hamburg-Eppendorf, gives the answers during a public evening lecture in lecture hall 13, Neue Universität, on Tuesday, September 15th at 20:00 h. The talk entitled ”Schmerz, lass nach! Wie Schmerzen entstehen und therapiert werden können“ will be held in German. No registration is required and admission is free.

This year, the Bernstein Conference takes place for the 7th time. More than 500 scientists from the fields of physics, mathematics, biology, medicine, computer science, and psychology are expected to attend. During the scientific symposia and twelve satellite workshops, over 90 internationally renowned scientists will give talks, and about 220 scientists will present posters. The topics range from information processing in the brain to perception, memory, brain-computer-interfaces, neural prostheses, and robots.

The Bernstein Conference 2015 is organized by the Bernstein Center Heidelberg-Mannheim, whose scientists are affiliated with Heidelberg University. Speaker of the Center is Professor Dr. Daniel Durstewitz at the Central Institute for Mental Health in Mannheim. The conference is the annual meeting of the Bernstein Network Computational Neuroscience, which was founded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) in 2004. Since then, the BMBF has supported the research discipline of Computational Neuroscience with over 180 million euros within this funding initiative. The network is named after the German researcher Julius Bernstein, who provided the first biophysical explanation for the propagation of nerve signals.

Media representatives are cordially invited to the award ceremonies, the press conference and all further events of the conference. More information can be obtained at the website  and from the Bernstein Coordination Site in Freiburg.

All dates at a glance:

For the interested public
- Public evening lecture (in German) “ Schmerz, lass nach! Wie Schmerzen entstehen
und therapiert werden können“ (Christian Büchel):
Thursday, September 15th, 20:00 h at Neue Universität

For journalists
- Official opening:
Thursday, September 15th, 09:00 h at Neue Universität

- Presentation of the Valentino Braitenberg Award:
Thursday, September 15th, 09:20 h at Neue Universität

- Bernstein Award Ceremony:
Thursday, September 15th, 10:45 h at Neue Universität

- Press conference to the Bernstein Award:
Thursday, September 15th, 12:00 h at Neue Universität


Dr. Mareike Kardinal
Bernstein Koordinationsstelle
Hansastraße 9a
79104 Freiburg
Tel: +49 (0)761 203 9593

Weitere Informationen: Bernstein Conference Bernstein Center Heidelberg-Mannheim Heidelberg University Heidelberg University Hospital Central Institute for Mental Health National Bernstein Network Computational Neuroscience

Dr. Mareike Kardinal | idw - Informationsdienst Wissenschaft

Further reports about: BMBF Bernstein Network Conference Education Mental Netzwerk Neuroscience processing

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