The INCF Neuroinformatics blog
Scientists at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory and MIT have developed a quicker method for imaging whole mouse brains, potentially leading to a much increased amount of available whole brain imaging ...
The collaborators just published a paper in Nature Methods (available online January 15) describing how their microscopy method, serial two-photon (STP) tomography, enables automated high-throughput imaging of fluorescently labeled mouse brains. A typical whole mouse brain scan is reported to take 6.5 to 8.5 hours, while a scan at the maximum resolution takes 24 hours - in any case quick enough to potentially, as the researchers put it "transform the emerging field of systematic whole-brain anatomy, until now limited to dedicated atlas-generation initiatives, into a routine methodology".
If this turns out to be a true prediction, we are likely to see many comparably small and diverse data sets in the hands of many different groups and labs, some years from now. And a corresponding increased need to compare data sets with each other and with reference atlases, to integrate data for combined queries, and to describe and publish both data and analysis methods. We of course hope that the tools and services INCF and the Task Forces, especially those in Digital Brain Atlasing and in Datasharing, are developing will be useful in this regard, and that we also can help support and complement the community-developed tools already out there.
Have you identified a problem or barrier that you think we can help you and your scientific field or subfield with? Be sure to let us know in the comments!
(Figure: Figure 1a-c from the paper, showing method scheme and 2D/3D views of the resulting brain scans. Reused with permission from Nature Methods)
1. T Ragan et al (2012) "Serial two-photon tomography for automated ex vivo mouse brain imaging" Nature Methods, doi:10.1038/nmeth.1854
2. Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory press release, January 12, 2012