At its core, network science helps to uncover the relationships between elements in a complex system. The application of this approach has been instrumental in the investigation of various systems as disparate as social networks, biological systems, communication arrays, and transportation networks. Likewise, the field of neuroscience benefits from using a network science approach to understand the brain. The brain represents a complex system that is inherently multiscale and multivariate, and comprises a hierarchy defined by interconnectedness linking brain structure, function and cognition. The use of various methods, from multimodal imaging techniques to model simulations, has lent to discoveries that uncover brain processes at the macroscale, mesoscale and microscale. More importantly, topics including network topology, network dynamics, control theory, and computational modelling, strongly complement traditional neuroscientific studies. With the study of the brain at various scales, Network Neuroscience has emerged as a field encompassing multiple disciplines.
A focal impetus behind the Network Neuroscience approach is that it provides a framework for interpreting the brain as an interconnected system. This approach offers quantitatively different maps of the brain where networks, consisting of nodes (e.g., genes, neurons or brain regions) and links (e.g., interactions, synaptic, anatomical or functional connections) are endowed with topological properties. It also provides a novel framework for studying fundamental aspects of brain organization including its complexity at all spatiotemporal scales. In particular, a Network Neuroscience approach permits structural and anatomical analyses of the brain from the molecular, to the neuronal, to the macroscopic and behavioral scales. Critical to the development of Network Neuroscience is the necessity of a forum to discuss and understand the brain at these various levels. Moreover, such a forum also codifies and facilitates more cross-disciplinary communication critical to the advancement of scientific discovery.
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