NIDA Neuroscience Update July 31, 2012National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)
Lead by Dr. Hong-Wei Dong at the Laboratory of Neuro Imaging, the UCLA Mouse Connectome Project (MCP) will construct the first three-dimensional digital atlas characterizing the neural networks of the entire mammalian brain. To accomplish this, the team uses a double coinjection circuit tracing method which simultaneously labels four different neuronal pathways, each tagged with a different fluorescent color. This injection strategy is unique in that it simultaneously reveals connections to and from brain regions, but more importantly, reveals how two different brain regions interact with one another. This latter feature is critical since it is the cooperative interactions between neural structures, or brain networks, that culminate in behavior. Injections are made systematically into anatomically defined structures starting from the olfactory bulb all the way to the brainstem.