First Realistic Virtual Neurons Created

Credit: NICHD/S. Jeong

A collaboration between The Allen Institute for Brain Science and the Blue Brain Project has unveiled new detailed computer models of neurons in the hope of gaining new insight into the brain

The Allen Institute in the US in collaboration with the Blue Brain Project, an arm of the massive European Human Brain Project, have released 40 new virtual models of mice visual cortex neurons with an unprecedented level of detail. The models were created by the Institute using powerful new tools developed by the European team, and are already leading to new insights into brain function.

“Our collaboration with the Allen Institute is an important step towards what we are striving to achieve. The goal is to provide the scientific community with simulation-based tools and techniques that can give us a better understanding of how neurons and neural networks function”

Unravelling the immense complexity of the brain is going to require serious computing power

The new, virtual neurons mimic with a high degree of accuracy the real deal, mirroring dendritic connections and the manner neurons actually communicate. All of the new models have been made available online - encouraging knowledge sharing and progress. Virtual modelling like this is essential in furthering understanding of exactly what goes on inside the brain, which still holds many mysteries to this day.

"Combining the data, tools and knowledge from the world’s two largest neuroscience-oriented enterprises demonstrates the synergy that can be achieved by an Open Science policy, freely sharing all available data and metadata.Understanding the brain, here the nonlinear processing in cortical dendrites, is too difficult a task to accomplish in any other way”

Read more at Neuroscience News