Explore the Brain

Two teams of HBP researchers are working on mapping and better understanding the structure and organisation of the human brain. 

Using the latest tools and techniques, the researchers are developing theories, models and atlases of the brain at both the molecular and anatomical level. One group is looking at the human brain itself, while another is exploring the mouse brain. Why the mouse brain? Because the mouse brain is both easier to come by and because it provides insights into the basic building blocks shared by the brains of all mammals, including humans.

This is the only area of the Human Brain Project in which researchers actually handle human brains. To create a map of brain structure, post-mortem brains are cut into 6,000 to 7,000 extremely thin slices (each slice is 20 micrometres thickit takes about five to six month’s work to slice an entire brain). The slices are scanned and then digitally reassembled to explore the structure and connections of the brain down to the level of individual nerve fibres.

The data generated by the researchers is being made available via brain atlases (see links below) and the Neuroinformatics Platform. This platform gives brain researchers tools to collaborate, and to analyse and share data.