Tip of the Week: Allen Institute’s Brain Explorer

Not that long ago Mary posted on updates that occurred recently at the Allen Institute for Brain Science & hinted that there might be a tip coming about their cool 3D Brain Explorer tool – well, today’s the day! As Mary mentions in her post, the Allen Institute has created some phenomenal tools and detailed data sets for brain research, including the Brain Explorer.

From the Brain Explorer documentation, the Explorer allows users to:

  • View a fully interactive version of the Allen Human Brain Atlas in 3D for two donors.
  • View gene expression data in 3D: partially-inflated white matter surfaces are colored by gene expression values of nearby samples.
  • View expression data from different donors side-by-side
  • Explore anatomically-labeled MRI images and cortical surfaces for both donors.
  • Investigate probes or samples of interest in more detail with direct links back to the Allen Human Brain Atlas web page.
  • It is amazing enough to have access to detailed gene expression in a human brain and to be able to view it in 3D. Being able to do that while comparing the expression in two different human brains, side-by-side, is really cool! Its fun too because the data is so visual and colorful, and the viewer is so interactive. I’ve only been able to touch on a fraction of the functions in this short tip but, as I say in the movie, I hope this “taste” excites you enough so that you will visit the Allen Institute’s Brain Explorer on your own to discover new neurological information about your favorite gene! For more details on the background & exact functioning of the Brain Explorer, please see the Allen Institute’s documentation &/or  read their paper that I link to below.

    Brain Explorer reference:
    Lau, C., Ng, L., Thompson, C., Pathak, S., Kuan, L., Jones, A., & Hawrylycz, M. (2008). Exploration and visualization of gene expression with neuroanatomy in the adult mouse brain BMC Bioinformatics, 9 (1) DOI: 10.1186/1471-2105-9-153

    Custom link to this post: http://bit.ly/aba_explorer

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