Neuroscience Lecture by Gene Myers (Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics, Dresden, Germany)

Title: "Building Neuroanatomical Models with Light Microscopy"

Gene Myers

Time and venue: 11.00 a.m. at the Lecture Hall of the Max Planck Institute for Brain Research, Max-von-Laue-Str. 4, 60438 Frankfurt am Main (Campus Riedberg)

Abstract: We are now at a time when we can systematically alter animals genetically so that any given protein or its expression can be observed in a targeted set of cells.  Combined with new modalities of light microscopy, this allows us to observe molecular mechanisms within the cell, observe the developmental trajectory of growing organs, and to map the cellular anatomy of organisms and organs such as the brain, the heart, or the stem of a plant.  All this increasingly requires computation to either extract information or to quantitatively measure an effect in the vast sea of images produced by such explorations.  This is creating the growing sub-field of bioimage informatics.  My group is working on a numerous imaging projects along these lines.

In this talk I will focus on our efforts while at the JFRC in Ashburn, Virginia to build an atlas of a fly’s brain using a tiered “shot-gun” approach to imaging individual neurons.  Among the highlights are (a) a deformable registration method that reveals glomeruli in a consensus built over 100’s of brains that cannot be seen in an individual brain, (b) an annotation system that automatically scores a neuron’s innervation of a brain compartment, and (c) a neuron tracer that is near perfect even in the presence of punctate and uneven labeling.  We also briefly discuss the development of a high-throughput microscope that can image the volume of an entire mouse brain at 1/2-micron resolution (4.2 trillion voxels) in less than a week.

If time permits, I will close with a vision for our new work in Dresden towards mapping in vivo developmental trajectories in order to hopefully contribute to a deeper understanding of morphogenesis.



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