MCB faculty Jeff Lichtman and his colleagues have been awarded a 30 million dollar grant from the NIH’s Brain Research Through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) Initiative to build a complete map of the mouse brain at the synaptic level.
The project is a key step forward for the emerging field of connectomics, which studies functional networks of neurons and aims to create comprehensive maps of all the connections in nervous systems. To learn more about this project, check out this article in The Harvard Gazette.
The Lichtman Lab is also involved with a second grant aimed at making connectomics research more accessible for a greater number of scientists. Advanced microscopes capable of collecting connectomic data remain relatively rare and out-of-reach for smaller colleges and institutions. Therefore, the team is developing a modified scanning electron microscope (SEM) that captures images at high speed and extrapolates connectomic information from low-resolution scans. They plan to make the software for this technique readily available online.
Congratulations to Professor Lichtman!