Salvador Dura-Bernal headshot

Salvador Dura-Bernal

Principal Investigator / Assistant Professor

Salvador Dura-Bernal is a tenure-track Assistant Professor in the department of Physiology and Pharmacology at SUNY Downstate, and a Research Scientist at the Nathan Kline Institute of Psychiatric Research. He completed his PhD and first post-doctoral fellow at the University of Plymouth, UK; followed by post-doctoral research at Johns Hopkins and SUNY Downstate. His research focuses on understanding cortical circuits through large-scale biophysically-detailed simulations on supercomputers. Dr.

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Valeriy Bragin

Research Scientist

Valery is a research scientist at the Dura-Bernal Lab, where he is in charge of developing, documenting and disseminating the software tool NetPyNE ( He obtained his M.S. in Applied Math and Computer Science from Tavrida National University (Ukraine) in 2011, followed by solid and diverse experience in enterprise software engineering. Eventually Valery became interested in computational neuroscience, and after some self-studying he joined and completed internship here at the lab.


Fernando S. Borges

Postdoctoral Fellow
Research in computational neuroscience with 27 publications in peer reviewed journals, and PI/co-PI in 7 research grants. Lectured undergraduate courses, and organized Courses on Computational Modeling. Investigates neural network models with research mainly focused on neuronal synchronization, synaptic plasticity, and epilepsy models (in silico, in vivo, and in vitro), also investigates full-scale microcircuits models of hippocampus, somatosensory and motor cortex in rodents through simulations in cloud computing.
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James Chen

Postdoctoral Fellow

James completed an undergraduate in Computer Engineering at Purdue University and his MD at SUNY Downstate, then served as a resident physician on the COVID wards at King's County Hospital before switching to computational neuroscience research where he worked on NetPyNE implementation of thalamocortical and nociceptive networks.

He is interested in the application of machine learning to neuroscience--especially predictive methods for parametric data exploration--and, more broadly, to other life sciences/and clinical practice. 


Dr. Eugenio Urdapilleta

Visiting Research Scientist

Eugenio is a nuclear engineer but soon in his career, he became interested in biology and neuroscience. Then, he completed a Ph.D. in Physics studying the role of adaptation currents and history-dependent stochastic effects on neural coding under the supervision of Dra. Inés Samengo at Balseiro Institute (Bariloche, southern Argentina). Then, he moved to Italy to broaden his interests in cognitive neuroscience under the self-organized tutorship of Prof. Dr. Alessandro Treves, who introduced him to the grid cells' world, spatial coding, and all that, in a project lead by Edvard Moser.


Joao Moreira

PhD Candidate

Ph.D. Candidate at SUNY Downstate Health Sciences University

M.Sc. in Neuroscience from the Federal University of São Paulo
B.S. in Biomedical Engineering from the Vale do Paraíba University
Visiting Student at the University of Illinois at Chicago

My interests are in the development of biophysically inspired computational models of the brain, bridging the gap between fundamental questions in neuroscience and computer simulations.

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Claire Short

Student Intern

Claire Short is a data scientist and current research intern in the Dura-Bernal lab, modeling effects of ketamine in depression. She completed her Masters in Cognitive Science in Education at Columbia University in New York and worked as a research assistant in the Roitman Behavioral Neuroscience Lab at the University of Illinois at Chicago studying impulsive decision making. 

She enjoys creating art with machine learning and neuroscience, creative coding, traveling, and learning about remote islands.

Sebastian Orellana

Sebastian Orellana

Student Intern

Currently an MSc student in Biological Sciences with a Mention in Neuroscience at University of Valparaíso, Chile (2019 - present).

BS in Physics with a Mnetion in Astronomy, Northern Catholic University (UCN), Antofagasta, Chile (2013 - 2018).

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Eleonora Bernasconi

Student Intern

I'm a student intern at the Dura-Bernal lab. I'm developing an existing computational model of the area CA1 of the hippocampus (Cutsuridis et al.) to study encoding and retrieval of spatiotemporal input patterns. The aim is to research how the performance of the network is affected by altering its physiological structure to emulate neuropsychiatric diseases such as depression.

I'm currently carrying out a PhD at the University of Hertfordshire in Computer Science.