Image processing tools for the study of brain connections

DIPC Seminars

Ignacio Arganda-Carreras (Ikerbasque Fellow, UPV/EHU)
Donostia International Physics Center (DIPC). Paseo Manuel de Lardizabal, 4, Donostia
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Image processing tools for the study of brain connections Abstract The quest for connectomes, that is, complete wiring diagrams of neural circuits, requires implementing novel approaches for imaging and analyzing large brain volumes at sub-cellular and even synapse-level resolution. This ongoing revolution triggered a renaissance in light (LM) and electron microscopy (EM), and now requires to identify every single synapse, axon and dendrite, in order to extract connectomes. The task, while not simple, has attracted a lot of attention for its promise to deliver insight into the design principles of the brain. Unfortunately, the problems of acquiring the image data have so far been easier to solve than that of interpreting it. Increasingly, neuroscience laboratories require automated tools for managing these vast EM and LM data sets using affordable consumer desktop computers. Here we introduced image processing tools to process the massive amount of image data (tera-byte scale) that modern microscopes produce nowadays for the study of brain connectomics in affordable personal desktop computers. These tools are part of a workflow that integrates all the software pieces for volumetric reconstruction, visualization and analysis of objects from 2D/3D sections in a very coherent and flexible way.