Upinder Bhalla

National Centre for Biological Sciences


Keynote lecture
SANKET: The Signaling and Neurophysiology Knowledge-resource for Experiments and Theory

Complex multiscale signaling underlies many aspects of neural function in health and disease. The SANKET consortium (Sanket means Signal in Sanskrit) brings together researchers who address neural function at multiple scales. SANKET links together key tools, data resources, a portal, and several consortium projects. The tools include MOOSE for simulations, FINDSIM for structuring experiment definitions, and HOSS to perform optimization.

The data resources are a database of structured experiments utilized by FINDSIM; signaling databases such as DOQCS and BioModels, and an an evolving set of optimized reference models. Consortium projects include signaling in autism, postsynaptic plasticity, and neural-astrocyte interactions. The typical workflow in each project is 1. Identify signaling and neurophysiological mechanisms core to the system of interest, 2. Develop a multiscale model (typically combining biochemical signaling, trafficking, protein synthesis, and neurophysiology) to represent the system. 3. Perform experiments, and mine the literature, to assemble a dataset of structured experiment definitions. 4. To constrain and optimize the model using this dataset and the HOSS tools. 5. To analyze the model(s) for better understanding the system, and to motivate further experimental exploration. Overall, the SANKET consortium is an open, data-driven, and principled effort to reproducibly develop a better understanding of complex neuronal processes.