Biophysical Modelling

The focus of many neuroimaging experiments is to uncover quantitative mechanisms of brain function, the key factors that lead to disorder, and to find objective biomarkers of various illnesses. The focus of a large number of experiments often provides correlative measures with hints of generative mechanisms.

Through biophysical modelling, we seek to explicitly provide mechanistic descriptions and quantitative predictions of brain function using mathematical models. Our focus is on:

  • Integrating a wealth of data to provide accurate biophysical models – specifically as genetics, behavioural phenotypes, PET-fMRI, fMRI, EEG, and TMS;
  • Employing biophysical models to understand the relationship between brain structure and function;
  • Providing quantitative predictions of future experiments; and
  • Inverting models that describe observed data to uncover parameters than can be verified in independent experiments.

Capability Lead

Prof Gustavo Deco


Professor Gustavo Deco’s background is in Physics. He obtained his PhD in Relativistic Atomic Collisions at the University of Rosario; computer science, obtaining a habilitation (maximal academical degree in Germany) – the Technical University of Munich – for his thesis on Neural Learning. He also received a PhD in Psychology at the Ludwig-Maximilian-University of Munich in 2001 for his thesis on Visual Attention.

Professor Deco has a joint position at the Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Barcelona and with the Turner Institute that began in 2017. His research interests include computational neuroscience, neuropsychology, psycholinguistics, biological networks, statistical formulation of neural networks, and chaos theory. He has actively contributed to the modelling and integration of experimental measurements through theoretical frameworks, and collaborates with many experimentalists to confront theory and experiments. Recognised as a world leader in computational neuroscience, he has led pioneering work in dynamical modelling of human brain activity. He is an ERC Advanced grantee and member of the Human Brain Project.

Dr Kevin Aquino


Dr Kevin Aquino completed his PhD in physics in 2012 at the University of Sydney, before taking up a postdoctoral research fellow at the University of Sydney, and the Queensland Institute of Medical Research (QIMR). He then took up a postdoctoral post in ultra-high-field neuroimaging at the Sir Peter Mansfield Imaging Centre at the University of Nottingham, UK. Kevin assumed his current position with the Turner Institute in 2017. He is a Research Fellow within the Brain and Mental Health research hub and leads the computational modelling research stream.

Dr Aquino’s research concentrates on developing imaging sequences and biophysical models of neural and hemodynamic function to understand generative mechanisms of brain function in health and disease. His keen interest is to not only use models to fit data, but to exploit their properties to provide predictions, to uncover unique signatures of brain function, and to better design experiments.