Demian Battaglia’s home-page
ORCID: 0000-0003-2021-7920 ∙ 🇮🇹 Born 11 June 1978 ∙ Married, two sons ∙ Twitter
Trained in Theoretical Physics, I carry out an interdisciplinary research at the crossroad between Neuroscience, Physics of Complex Systems and Computation and Information Sciences. I am expert in the theoretical and computational analysis of brain circuit dynamics, with emphasis on its role in flexible information processing and routing. My research explores brain network dynamics from the scale of local micro-circuits up to the whole brain, combining spiking and mean-field modelling with sophisticated data analysis. I am particularly interested in characterizing transient collective activity patterns (e.g. coordinated oscillatory bursts, dynamic functional connectivity…) and linking their spatio-temporally (de-)structured dynamics to cognitive and behavioral (dys-)function.
A few research ideas
The “dynome” is richer than the connectome. Even simple structural motifs can give rise to a large number of dynamical states (e.g. different patterns of phase-locking). We find that different states of collective dynamics correspond to different functional connectivity modes1. This result generalizes also to flexible information routing by transient oscillatory bursts2 and to networks up to the whole-brain size3.
At the micro- and meso-scale we have analyzed Local Field Potentials and spike trains to show that the same neurons can perform different primitive computations (carrying, storing, transfering information) at different times and in different states4. Information processing roles are not hardwired, but emerge from dynamic patterns of interaction and coordination with other systems component, structured in both space and time5,6.
At the whole-brain scale, we have described the dynamics of resting-state functional connectivity as a stochastic walk sampling the space of possible network configurations. We found that dynamics of Functional Connectivity (dFC) is fast and temporally structured for young and slower and more random for elderly subjects7. Furthermore, the slowing down of dFC correlates with degradation of cognitive performance at the single subject level8.
We develop complex data representations to faithfully quantify the diversity, heterogeneity and “weirdness” of neural datasets, without averaging. Applications range from the characterization of typical (and atypical!) interneurons9 to the predictive description of synaptic connectivity maps in cerebellum10. We also studied the gender-related misconstruction of the peer-review system11.
2005 PhD in Statistical Physics, at the interface with computer science at SISSA (Trieste, Italy; with Riccardo Zecchina)
2002 Master in Theoretical Physics (Torino, Italy; with Mario Rasetti)
Since 2015 CNRS Research faculty (section 26 “Cognitive and Integrative Neuroscience”), first at the Institute for Systems Neuroscience (INS UMR 1106; Aix-Marseille University), then, since 2023, at the Laboratory for Cognitive and Adaptive Neuroscience (LNCA UMR 7364; Strasbourg University)
2009–2014 Staff scientist at the Max Planck Institute for Dynamics and Self-organization and P.I. at the Bernstein Center for Computational Neuroscience (Göttingen, Germany)
2006–2008 Postdoc in neurocomputational modelling in David Hansel’s and Nicolas Brunel’s lab (Paris, France)
Awards & fellowships
2021–2022 USIAS visiting fellow at Strasbourg University, France
2014–2015 Marie Skłodowska-Curie fellow at Aix-Marseille University, France
2013 Bernstein fellow at the BCCN Göttingen, Germany
Me, beyond research
Languages: Italian (mother tongue), English and French (decent), German (so so). One day I’ll learn Spanish. I like hiking and traveling (art and architecture, local history and culture, landscapes), check my personal photo-page. Fond of “classical” music (older and newer) and of musical movies. Cannot speak about religion here (but ask me!).
Ten (+1) selected publications
- Kirst C, Timme M, Battaglia D (2016) Dynamic information routing in complex networks. Nature Communications 7: 11061. doi:10.1038/ncomms11061 (PDF)
- Palmigiano A, Geisel T, Wolf F, Battaglia D (2017) Flexible information routing by transient synchrony. Nature Neuroscience 20: 1014–1022. doi:10.1038/nn.4569 (PDF)
- Hansen ECA*, Battaglia D*, Spiegler A, Deco G, Jirsa VK (2015) Functional connectivity dynamics: modeling the switching behavior of the resting state. NeuroImage 105: 525–535. doi:10.1016/j.neuroimage.2014.11.001 (PDF) [*shared first authorship]
- Clawson W, Vicente AF, Ferraris M, Bernard C, Battaglia D*, Quilichini PP* (2019) Computing hubs in the hippocampus and cortex. Science Advances 5: eaax4843. doi:10.1126/sciadv.aax4843 (PDF) [*shared last authorship]
- Pedreschi N, Bernard C, Clawson W, Quilichini P, Barrat A, Battaglia D (2020) Dynamic core-periphery structure of information sharing networks in entorhinal cortex and hippocampus. Network Neuroscience. 4: 946–975. doi:10.1162/netn_a_00142 (PDF)
- Pedreschi N, Battaglia D, Barrat A (2022) The temporal rich club phenomenon. Nature Physics. doi:10.1038/s41567-022-01634-8 (PDF)
- Battaglia D … Ritter P, Jirsa VK (2020) Dynamic Functional Connectivity between order and randomness and its evolution across the human adult lifespan. NeuroImage 222: 117156. doi:10.1016/j.neuroimage.2020.117156 (PDF)
- Lombardo D… Didic M*, Battaglia D* (2020). Modular slowing of resting-state dynamic Functional Connectivity as a marker of cognitive dysfunction induced by sleep deprivation. NeuroImage 222: 117155. doi:10.1016/j.neuroimage.2020.117155 (PDF) [*shared last authorship]
- Battaglia D, Karagiannis A, Gallopin T, Gutch HW, Cauli B (2013) Beyond the frontiers of neuronal types. Front Neural Circuits 7: 13. doi:10.3389/fncir.2013.00013 (PDF)
- Spaeth L, Bahuguna J, … Battaglia D*, Isope P* (2022) Cerebellar connectivity maps embody individual adaptive behavior in mice. Nature Communications 13: 580–19. doi:10.1038/s41467-022-27984-8 (PDF) [*shared last authorship]
- Helmer M, Schottdorf M, Neef A, Battaglia D (2017) Gender bias in scholarly peer review. Elife 6: 103. doi:10.7554/eLife.21718 (PDF)
Demian’s news and science
In our newest preprint on BioRxiv, in collaboration with Alessandro Torcini and Matteo di Volo, we revisit a classic theory about the existence of two different gamma rhythms in the hippocampus CA1. We first deconstruct this theory, showing its insufficiency to account for the haphazard diversity of hippocampal gamma. We however reconstruct and rescue the…
Functional interactions between brain regions or neurons have been described using features defined in network theory. For instance, the rich club phenomenon correspond to having high-degree nodes connected between them above chance-level. In our new Nature Physics paper we generalize this notion to dynamic networks. Indeed, in order for a certain spatial pattern in network…
Inter-regional oscillatory coherence has been proposed as a mechanism for modulating communication. However oscillations in vivo are transient and fluctuate in time, frequency and phase. In out Nature Neuroscience paper we show that, despite their irregular and stochastic-like properties, oscillatory burst can still subserve flexible and selective routing of information. To reach this conclusion we…
The activity of the cortex in mammals constantly fluctuates in relation to cognitive tasks, but also during rest. The ability of brain regions to display ignition, a fast transition from low to high activity is central for the emergence of conscious perception and decision making. In our recently published paper in PLoS Computational Biology (in…
Stimulation can be used to alter brain activity and is a therapeutic option for certain neu- rological conditions. However, predicting the distributed effects of local perturbations is difficult. Previous studies show that responses to stimulation depend on anatomical (or structural) coupling. In addition to structure, in our PLoS Computational Biology paper (in collaboration with Danielle…
Simulations of whole-brain mean-field computational models with realistic connectivity determined by tractography studies enable us to reproduce with accuracy aspects of average Functional Connectivity (FC) in the resting state. Most computational studies, however, did not address the prominent non-stationarity in resting state FC. In our NeuroImage paper, we show that this non-stationarity reveals a rich…
In collaboration with Isabelle Guyon (Paris), Jordi Soriano (Barcelona), Javier Orlandi (Calgary) and others, we organized a machine learning Challenge on the Kaggle platform to unravel the connectivity of neuronal networks (realistic simulations, in order to know the ground truth and benchmark algorithms). The provided data was solely based on fluorescence time series of spontaneous…
Tuning curves are the functions that relate the responses of sensory neurons to various values within one continuous stimulus dimension (such as the orientation of a bar in the visual domain or the frequency of a tone in the auditory domain). They are commonly determined by fitting a bell-shaped curve to the measured responses. However,…
How to find us
We are located within the building of the Faculty of Psychology, at the ground floor (LNCA wing, to the right, end of the corridor, entering from Rue Goethe side).
LNCA – 12 rue Goethe, F-67000 STRASBOURG
Tramway lines C/E/F – stop “Université” – Bus line 2 (~15 min from central station) – Strasbourg Entzheim airport at ~40 min, high speed train to Paris CDG and Frankfurt / Main international hubs.