The Allen Institute for Brain Sceince is a great institution that was founded just under 5 years ago with a 100 million seed money from billionaire Paul Allen (of Microsoft fame). The purpose is,
… dedicated to performing innovative basic research on the brain and distributing its discoveries to researchers around the world. Through its efforts, the Institute aims to advance a new understanding of brain diseases and disorders.
The result of this research is disseminated through some excellent tools at the Allen Brain Atlas. This research and tool focuses on the mouse brain and determining which genes are expressed in different parts of the brain.
Well, it was recently announced that not only are they planning to extend this map to the mouse spinal chord and another atlas of brain development from fetus to adult mouse, they have launched a project to do a similar atlas of the human brain. This project is expected to take four years.
btw, the “brain explorer” tool is just cool. My expertise isn’t mouse or brain science, but I like roaming around the brain as much as the next guy :).
We’ll keep you up-to-date on the progress :).