A new director: Moritz Helmstaedter
Moritz Helmstaedter joined the Max Planck Institute for Brain Research as its third director in the beginning of August.
Moritz Helmstaedter was trained as a graduate student with Nobel Laureate and MPI director Bert Sakmann and did postdoctoral work with Winfried Denk (Max Planck Institute for Medical Research, Heidelberg) where he worked with a team to develop methods to reconstruct brain circuits in 3 dimensions using electron microscopy.
Although often depicted differently, brain areas are densely packed with neurons, brain cells which typically have around 1000 connections with their neighbors - both near and far. This leads to huge data sets, even when only a small brain area is analyzed, requiring new analytic methods. Interestingly, Moritz has figured out a way to let the public analyse the data - he developed games for young people where parts of the data are presented and gamers need to select the right connection. By using the assistance of gamers, he hopes to make huge steps in analysing the data. For more information, please watch his presentation on TEDx Vienna.