Explore the Brain


Travel from human size to neurotransmitters in 90 seconds in this video illustrating the multi-scale nature of the HBP's brain research.

Video made by TRICKLABOR for Forschungszentrum Jülich and the Human Brain Project.

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 rodent brain.

Why the rodent brain? Human and animal brains share many characteristics, but it is more difficult for scientists to work on the former; there are experiments that cannot be done on humans for ethical reasons and so they are done on mice instead.

To create a map of the human brain's structure, post-mortem brains are cut into 6,000 to 7,000 extremely thin slices (each slice is 20 micrometres thick—it 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 researchers tools to collaborate, and to analyse and share data.


Read more about the Explore the Brain teams

Mouse Brain Organisation


Human Brain Organisation


Neuroinformatics Platform

Follow SP5 on twitter: