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The Bernstein Center Berlin addresses one of the most challenging questions in computational and cognitive neuroscience:
“How is it possible that we can react to sensory stimuli with millisecond precision if intermediate processing elements – on the level of single synapses, single neurons, small networks and even large neural systems – vary significantly in their response to the same repeated stimulus?”
The Center's interdisciplinary research is executed by groups of the Charité, Freie Universität Berlin, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Max-Delbrueck-Centrum, Technische Universität Berlin and the Universität Potsdam. It is part of the National Bernstein Network Computational Neuroscience (NNCN) and funded by the Federal Ministry of Eduation and Research (BMBF).
The network has been named after Julius Bernstein (1835–1917), the German scientist who formulated about hundred years ago his “Membrane Theory” stating that
“the electrical currents observed in many living organs of animals and plants have been the objects of much research. We detect such currents in muscles, nerves, secretory glands, and electric organs of fish as well as in plant tissue (…) It seems likely that all these currents have a similar, if not the same basis, and that their strength and potency depends on the structural conditions and chemical composition of the cells making up each organ.”