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TU Berlin

Inhalt des Dokuments

Neural Information Processing Group

We are concerned with the principles underlying information processing in biological systems. On the one hand we want to understand how the brain computes, on the other hand we want to utilize the strategies employed by biological systems for machine learning applications. Our research interests cover three thematic areas.

Models of Neuronal Systems:


In collaboration with neurobiologists and clinicians we study how the visual system processes visual information. Research topics include: cortical dynamics, the representation of visual information, adaptation and plasticity, and the role of feedback. More recently we became interested in how perception is linked to cognitive function, and we began to study computational models of decision making in uncertain environments, and how those processes interact with perception and memory.

Machine Learning and Neural Networks:


Here we investigate how machines can learn from examples in order to predict and (more recently) act. Research topics include the learning of proper representations, active and semisupervised learning schemes, and prototype-based methods. Motivated by the model-based analysis of decision making in humans we also became interested in reinforcement learning schemes and how these methods can be extended to cope with multi-objective cost functions. In collaboration with colleagues from the application domains, machine learning methods are applied to different problems ranging from computer vision, information retrieval, to chemoinformatics.

Analysis of Neural Data:


Here we are interested to apply machine learning and statistical methods to the analysis of multivariate biomedical data, in particular to data which form the basis of our computational studies of neural systems. Research topics vary and currently include spike-sorting and the analysis of multi-tetrode recordings, confocal microscopy and 3D-reconstruction techniques, and the analysis of imaging data. Recently we became interested in the analysis of multimodal data, for example, correlating anatomical, imaging, and genetic data.

Selected Publications

Predicting the future relapse of alcohol-dependent patients from structural and functional brain images
Citation key Seo2015a
Author Seo, S. and Mohr, J. and Beck, A. and Wüstenberg, T. and Heinz, A. and Obermayer, K.
Pages 1042-1055
Year 2015
ISSN 1369-1600
DOI 10.1111/adb.12302
Journal Addiction Biology
Volume 20
Number 6
Month November
Editor Wiley-Blackwell
Abstract In alcohol dependence, individual prediction of treatment outcome based on neuroimaging endophenotypes can help to tailor individual therapeutic offers to patients depending on their relapse risk. We built a prediction model for prospective relapse of alcohol-dependent patients that combines structural and functional brain images derived from an experiment in which 46 subjects were exposed to alcohol-related cues. The patient group had been subdivided post hoc regarding relapse behavior defined as a consumption of more than 60 g alcohol for male or more than 40 g alcohol for female patients on one occasion during the 3-month assessment period (16 abstainers and 30 relapsers). Naïve Bayes, support vector machines and learning vector quantization were used to infer prediction models for relapse based on the mean and maximum values of gray matter volume and brain responses on alcohol-related cues within a priori defined regions of interest. Model performance was estimated by leave-one-out cross-validation. Learning vector quantization yielded the model with the highest balanced accuracy (79.4 percent, p < 0.0001; 90 percent sensitivity, 68.8 percent specificity). The most informative individual predictors were functional brain activation features in the right and left ventral tegmental areas and the right ventral striatum, as well as gray matter volume features in left orbitofrontal cortex and right medial prefrontal cortex. In contrast, the best pure clinical model reached only chance-level accuracy (61.3 percent). Our results indicate that an individual prediction of future relapse from imaging measurement outperforms prediction from clinical measurements. The approach may help to target specific interventions at different risk groups.
Bibtex Type of Publication Selected:main selected:publications
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