July 13, 2009 Elsevier has just announced the launch of the official version of BrainNavigator, a neuroscience research tool developed in collaboration with the Allen Institute for Brain Science and under the editorship of Professor George Paxinos and Charles Watson, Prince of Wales Medical Research Institute, Sydney.
BrainNavigator is an online, interactive, 3D software tool that maps brain images and anatomy, helping researchers, especially neuroscientists, save time and improve the quality of their daily research. BrainNavigator helps locate the position of structures within the brain, similar to a GPS system, making visualization and understanding of the brain easier.
Traditionally, researchers use print atlases to help them identify structures, for example when viewing brain tissue under a microscope. Now, with BrainNavigator, which combines atlas maps in one easy-to-navigate web-based system, researchers can view detailed images of each brain section. Brain images are no longer only shown as flat maps but also as objects with depth. A particular advance is the facility to create virtual sections from the 3D brain model at very high detail and quality to mimic the real situation in the biological tissue in the laboratory.
“Neuroscientists indicated a need for an easy-to-use online system that would allow them to browse, compare and label high-resolution material as well as create virtual sections. And they wanted a way to annotate and share their research with colleagues. These are all features that BrainNavigator offers, so that researchers can work more productively, with deeper insights, and collaborate on new findings”, said Johannes Menzel, Publisher of Science Solutions and Content Strategy at Elsevier. “We have had quadruple the number of people we expected when we launched user testing for the product. Feedback has been tremendously positive.”
BrainNavigator is a collaboration between Elsevier and the Allen Institute for Brain Science, pairing Elsevier’s vast neuroscience content with technology derived from Allen Institute’s cutting-edge Brain Explorer® 3D software. Offering both free and subscription-based content, this new resource represents a promising step towards new discoveries in the advancement of brain research. All users will be able to browse images and structures. Paid subscribers will enjoy using high resolution images, adjustable virtual slicing and having the ability to annotate and save their work and share it with their colleagues globally, among other features.
This version includes complete information for the rat brain and the mouse brain, and ongoing releases of other species are planned.
“The 3D features of BrainNavigator allow students and scientists to appreciate the neighborhood relation of structures. Importantly, for the first time a detailed ontology of brain structures has been constructed and this will permit scientists to navigate seamlessly between the brain of rat and mouse in the first instance and the human brain when the site is expanded,” commented George Paxinos and Charles Watson the Editors-in-Chief of BrainNavigator.
After unveiling the prototype version at the Society for Neuroscience’s Neuroscience 2008 tradeshow last November, the rodent brain version is now available at www.brainnav.com.
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