Sequencing the Connectome Converting connectivity into a sequencing problem can be broken down conceptually into three components. (A) Label each neuron with a unique sequence of nucleotides — a DNA “barcode.” (B) Associate barcodes from synaptically connected neurons with one another, so that each neuron can be thought of as a “bag of barcodes” — copies of its own “host” barcode and copies of “invader” barcodes from synaptic partners. (C) Join host and invader barcodes into barcode pairs. These pairs can be subjected to high-throughput sequencing. (Credit: Anthony M. A team of neuroscientists led by Professor Anthony Zador, Ph.D., of Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory have proposed a revolutionary new way to create a connectivity map (“connectome”) of the whole brain of the mouse at the resolution of single neurons: high-throughput DNA sequencing. This reconstruction of serial electron micrographs has yielded what to date is the only complete connectome, that of C. elegans (a nemotode or roundworm).
Reverse Engineering The Brain This is part of IEEE Spectrum's SPECIAL REPORT: THE SINGULARITY PHOTO: Timothy Archibald What do fruit-fly brains have in common with microchips? Located in the green, rolling hills of Ashburn, in northern Virginia, the campus, known as Janelia Farm, has been described as a kind of Bell Labs for neuro-biology. ”In a hundred years I'd like to know how human consciousness works,” says Janelia director Gerry Rubin. ”The 10â¿¿ or 20-year goal is to understand the fruit- fly brain.” To that end, Rubin has stocked the Janelia campus with a collection of neuro-scientists, biologists, physicists, engineers, and computer scientists. Like an IC, the fruit-fly brain is subjected to logic and optical testing to derive its circuit diagram. A standard scanning electron microscope (SEM) images at about 10 million pixels per second. Slice, image, slice, image. Compared with an IC , even a tiny fruit-fly brain is a mess.
Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) NIH Home > Research & Training What is the BRAIN Initiative? The Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) Initiative is part of a new Presidential focus aimed at revolutionizing our understanding of the human brain. By accelerating the development and application of innovative technologies, researchers will be able to produce a revolutionary new dynamic picture of the brain that, for the first time, shows how individual cells and complex neural circuits interact in both time and space. Long desired by researchers seeking new ways to treat, cure, and even prevent brain disorders, this picture will fill major gaps in our current knowledge and provide unprecedented opportunities for exploring exactly how the brain enables the human body to record, process, utilize, store, and retrieve vast quantities of information, all at the speed of thought. A map of overall task-fMRI brain coverage from the seven tasks used in the Human Connectome Project. Meeting Information
The Brain CONNECT Project Brain Cells Colored To Create 'Brainbow' Borrowing genes from bacteria, coral and jellyfish, scientists have set mice brains aglow in a bold panoply of colors, revealing the intricate highways and byways of neuronal connections. The technique, dubbed "Brainbow" by its Harvard University inventors, is detailed in the Nov. 1 issue of the journal Nature. Previous techniques for highlighting neurons used at most two colors. One common approach developed in 1873 by an Italian physician and still used today, called the Golgi method, stains neurons in their entirety but only affects a few brain cells at a time. In contrast, Brainbow allows researchers to tag several hundred neurons at once with roughly 90 distinct colors. As seen on TV "We've already used Brainbow to take a first peek at the nervous system of mice, and we've observed some very interesting, and previously unrecognized, patterns of neuron arrangement," said study team member Joshua Sanes. The entire circuit Brainbow does have some disadvantages.
IBM scientists create most comprehensive map of the brain’s network "The Mandala of the Mind": The long-distance network of the Macaque monkey brain, spanning the cortex, thalamus, and basal ganglia, showing 6,602 long-distance connections between 383 brain regions. (PNAS) The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) published Tuesday a landmark paper entitled “Network architecture of the long-distance pathways in the macaque brain” (an open-access paper) by Dharmendra S. Modha (IBM Almaden) and Raghavendra Singh (IBM Research-India) with major implications for reverse-engineering the brain and developing a network of cognitive-computing chips. “We have successfully uncovered and mapped the most comprehensive long-distance network of the Macaque monkey brain, which is essential for understanding the brain’s behavior, complexity, dynamics and computation,” Dr. “We studied four times the number of brain regions and have compiled nearly three times the number of connections when compared to the largest previous endeavor,” he pointed out. Dr.
List of animals by number of neurons This is a list of representative animals by the number of neurons in their whole nervous system and the number of neurons in their brain (for those with a brain). These numbers are estimates derived by multiplying the density of neurons in a particular animal by the average volume of the animal's brain. Overview Neurons may be packed to form structures such as the brain of vertebrates or the neural ganglions of insects. The number of neurons and their relative abundance in different parts of the brain is a determinant of neural function and, consequently, of behavior. Whole nervous system Cerebral cortex See also References
Scientists can now turn brains invisible Proteins don't need to be in their native conformation to study them using antibody based imaging techniques most of the time, however, for those antibodies that were raised against whole protein rather than an exposed epitope tissues like this can be treated with citrate and heat (or other antigen recovery techniques) to restore epitope binding activity. CLARITY should be compatible with antigen recovery. Other than this, proteins don't really need to be in their active conformations for this kind of study, however, the researchers that developed this technique tested it with brains expressing GFP (and I believe, either Tomato or mCherry) which retained fluorescence after treatment. This is also true of standard PFA fixed tissue, fixation protocols are fairly carefully calibrated to prevent "over-fixing" which does adversely affect this kind of thing. Although I didn't work on CLARITY its self, I do work in this field. and if you have more questions I'd be happy to answer them.
List of topics related to brain mapping The following is a list of topics related to brain mapping, and major brain mapping research projects (listed below). Coverage is intended to be broad and comprehensive, and adequately cover the entire brain mapping field. Topics included are in rough proportion to their generally accepted overall importance to the human brain structure and function. It is not intended to be recursively exhaustive in every possible direction but to give an overview of what areas of knowledge may be impacted by the large new brain mapping research initiatives. While the emphasis here is on physical brain structure, functional aspects are also included. Mind concepts (as in mind vs. body), and cognitive and behavioral aspects, are introduced where they have at least a fairly direct connection to physical aspects of the brain, neurons, spinal cord, nerve networks, neurotransmitters, etc. Topics are roughly clustered as shown in the table of contents. Broad Scope The Neuron doctrine General
Babies' brains to be mapped in the womb and after birth 9 April 2013Last updated at 21:45 ET By Smitha Mundasad Health reporter, BBC News Scientists are drawing up a map of the growing baby's brain UK scientists have embarked on a six-year project to map how nerve connections develop in babies' brains while still in the womb and after birth. By the time a baby takes its first breath many of the key pathways between nerves have already been made. And some of these will help determine how a baby thinks or sees the world, and may have a role to play in the development of conditions such as autism, scientists say. But how this rich neural network assembles in the baby before birth is relatively unchartered territory. Continue reading the main story “Start Quote It is very important to be able to scan babies before they are born because we can capture a period when an awful lot is changing inside the brain” End QuoteDavid EdwardsProfessor of paediatrics 'Neural networks' Researchers aim to understand more about how the brain is affected by prematurity
BRAIN Initiative Understanding how the brain works is arguably one of the greatest scientific challenges of our time. The BRAIN Initiative (Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies, also referred to as the Brain Activity Map Project) is a proposed collaborative research initiative announced by the Obama administration on April 2, 2013, with the goal of mapping the activity of every neuron in the human brain. Based upon the Human Genome Project, the initiative has been projected to cost more than $300 million per year for ten years. Announcement Experimental approaches News reports said the research would map the dynamics of neuron activity in mice and other animals and eventually the tens of billions of neurons in the human brain. Working group The advisory committee is:  Scientists offered differing views of the plan. The projects face great logistical challenges. See also References External links BRAIN Initiative website
Human Connectome Project | Mapping the human brain connectivity Bluebrain | EPFL Watch chemicals turn into memories - the first time this has ever been recorded. Scientists have known for a while that our memories are the process are synaptic transmissions in our brain and are stored in neurons, but they have been able to film the actual process for the first time inside of a mouse. This groundbreaking video was made in the lab of Robert Singer of Albert Einstein College of Medicine and the paper describing the process was published in Science. Our lives are defined by our memories. Everything we do, including driving a car, laughing at jokes, cooking dinner, or calling a friend relies on our prior knowledge of similar events. But how is all of this created and stored in our brains? Memories are made by messenger RNA (mRNA) that encode β-actin protein. Because the process is so delicate, it has been incredibly difficult for researchers to see it happen in real time. The researchers then stimulated the hippocampus, which is a small region of the brain that has most of the ability to form and store memories.