Monthly Archives: February 2013

Data is online at Open Connectome

brainsectionWhen image stacks are acquired for generating connectivity datasets, there is so much information in the micrographs that does not make it into the first manuscript. As these datasets are extremely difficult to acquire, I think it is important that we try and make the data as openly available as possible. This, however, is not an easy task… it requires you to spend quite a bit of time developing a resource… time that could be spent generating more data or writing papers. As such, I am terribly thankful that the folks at have developed a resource for making easy for people such as myself to host their image data in a useful way. Right now, one of the Continue reading

Journal Club: Connecting a Connectome to Behavior

0yks_X4B3uHScKQYMpmLDzl72eJkfbmt4t8yenImKBVaiQDB_Rd1H6kmuBWtceBJAn obvious goal of connectomics is to use it is a tool for better understanding complex network function. As new data are becoming available it is  not entirely clear what the best methods are for extracting useful information out of connectivity matrices. Part of the problem lies in the fact that while a wiring diagram is necessary for understanding nervous system function, it is hardly sufficient. The painful reality is that in complex systems like networks of neurons, small details of neuron and synapse function can dramatically alter system behavior. A recent Plos Computational Biology paper by Eduardo Izquierdo and Randall Beer at Indiana University makes what I think is a useful contribution to the problem by Continue reading

Jeff Lichtmann TED talk

Jeff Lichtmann just did a TED talk at connetomics at Caltech that is really worth a watch if you are interested in Connectomics. A couple of weeks ago he gave a longer version of the same talk here at the MPI in Tübingen. I think it does a fantastic job of defining why someone would be interested in “Connectomics”, presents an honest depiction of the magnitude of some of the technological problems involved, and, for me at least, leaves you with some hope that we can make big things happen by pursuing this approach. Something that comes across better in person than on YouTube are these amazing reconstructions where they have gone so far as annotate the positions of all of the synaptic vesicles. Strikingly beautiful! Nicely done talk that will get a lot of exposure, and I hope that it inspires more people to be doing this kind of work.

Talk at Institute of Molecular Pathology, Vienna


On Wednesday I was at the IMP in vienna to deliver a talk about my recent paper.Manuel Zimmer, my host, put together a great schedule of people to meet with and I had a great time delivering the talk .. the audience was highly engaged and asked a lot of very good questions. I spent the rest of the day having some great discussions with members of top-notch labs Continue reading