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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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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. 

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Roman Baravalle

Postdoctoral Fellow

Roman Baravalle is a postdoctoral fellow in the Dura-Bernal Lab. Currently, Dr. Baravalle investigates the biophysical underpinnings of low-dimensional manifolds in behavior. His research aims to unlock the potential for improved Brain-Computer Interface decoding accuracy, creating a new generation of computational models to benchmark BCIs.


Nikita Novikov

Postdoctoral Fellow
The main scientific interest is the functional role of oscillations in neural computations, scpecifically at the microcircuit level. In cooperation with Dura-Bernal lab, Nikita develops a NetPyNE-based tool for exploring oscillatory patterns in biophysial models of neural circuits. 
Graduated from MIREA, Moscow, with the specialist degree (master equivalent). Qualification: engineer in biotechnical systems. Worked as a software developer, then became a researcher at the Cognitive Neuroscience department of HSE, Moscow. Participated in a study of oscillatory EEG signals during cognitive control tasks. Helped teaching theoretical neuroscience on a master programme.
Finished a PhD school at HSE, with the project related to computational modelling of working memory systems under external periodic forcing. The defense of the PhD thesis will take place at Ecole Normale Superieure, Paris, where Nikita is currently working as a reseracher.

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.

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Valeriy Bragin

Research Scientist Consultant

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

Research Scientist Consultant
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.

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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Scott McElroy

Graduate Student

B.S. in Neuroscience from the University of Minnesota 

Formerly involved in the study of addiction and reward guided decision making using in vivo mouse models, my focus has since shifted to computational neuroscience. Currently, I am interested in studying the underlying mechanisms of disease states using data driven multi-scale models of the brain. 

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Molly Leitner

Graduate Student

B.A. in Neuroscience from Hamilton College

My research background is in the neurobiology of drug addiction and metabolic disorders. Currently, I am interested in computational neuroscience, specifically multiscale modeling of brain neurocircuitry. I am interested in modeling disease conditions to better understand the disease itself and how we can translate our findings clinically. 

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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Henrik Podeus

Student Intern

I am a Ph.D. student located in Sweden. I am associated with Dura-Bernal Lab as a student intern. My Ph.D. thesis revolves around using mathematical models to describe different functions of the brain. Currently, I am working to integrate models of the neurovascular coupling with models describing electrophysiological properties. This effort aims to bridge the gap between these two interconnected systems.

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Irene Bernardi

Student Intern

I am a dual Master's student of Neuroscience and Data Science at Bar-Ilan University and Vrije University Amsterdam. In 2023, I had the opportunity to join the Dura-Bernal Lab as a Google Summer of Code contributor, under the mentorship of James Chen and Valery Bragin. Our project aimed to improve the NetPyNE toolkit's user accessibility by conducting batch simulations to extract connectivity rules from an Auditory Cortex model.

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Yubely Rendón

Student Intern

I am a recent graduate student currently affiliated with the Dura-Bernal Lab as a student intern. I obtained my undergraduate degree in Bioengineering from Universidad Santiago de Cali (USC), in Cali, Colombia (2018 - 2023). My undergraduate thesis focused on developing an online control system for a brain-computer interface aimed at implementing a third virtual arm, with the goal of advancing real-time motor neurorehabilitation for patients experiencing limitations in the use of their upper limbs.