Topic: A journey through connectomics: from manual tracing to the first fully automated basal ganglia connectomes
Sprecher: Joergen Kornfeld, PhD (Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Mc Govern Institute for Brain Research)
Datum und Uhrzeit: Dienstag, 17. November 2020, 16:00 Uhr
The "mind of the worm", the first electron microscopy-based connectome of C. elegans, was an early sign of where connectomics is headed, followed by a long time of little progress in a field held back by the immense manual effort required for data acquisition and analysis. This changed over the last few years with several technological breakthroughs, which allowed increases in data set sizes by several orders of magnitude. Brain tissue can now be imaged in 3D up to a millimeter in size at nanometer resolution, revealing tissue features from synapses to the mitochondria of all contained cells. These breakthroughs in acquisition technology were paralleled by a revolution in deep-learning segmentation techniques, that equally reduced manual analysis times by several orders of magnitude, to the point where fully automated reconstructions are becoming useful. Taken together, this gives neuroscientists now access to the first wiring diagrams of thousands of automatically reconstructed neurons connected by millions of synapses, just one line of program code away. In this talk, I will cover these developments by describing the past few years' technological breakthroughs and discuss remaining challenges. Finally, I will show the potential of automated connectomics for neuroscience by demonstrating how hypotheses in reinforcement learning can now be tackled through virtual experiments in synaptic wiring diagrams of the songbird basal ganglia.
Meeting ID: 938 9523 6374