Map the brain and name a neuron!

Citizen Science is now so well heard of that I rarely need to explain what it is when I bring it up. There are heaps of things going on, and a page on Scientific American does a good job of tracking projects.

And as this post goes live, so does EyeWire from Seung’s lab at MIT. It is set up as a team game where players will help map connections in the brain. More specifically the retina.

Getting to the details of the shape of neurons is hard – understanding how they are connected and how this explains how the brain works is even harder. I am still trying to get my head around the whole idea of the connectome, and indeed, I have freshly arrived in my bookshelf a copy of Seung’s book.

And of course, the winners get something, in this case naming rights.

One of my favourite neurons with a name is the Mauthner cell, which is involved in escape behavior in fish. But there are more fun names for neurons like octopus or chandelier .

Anyway. I am gutted I will be away from the internet and so will not be able to participate in thee game. I would love to be part of it. I hope you will and share what you thought about it!

HT: Nat Torkington and #NZAUOR for pointing me to it!

Did you know?

The retina, although part of the eye is considered part of the brain because early in the embryo it gets formed from a bit that buds out of the part of the early nervous system that gives rise to the brain. As far as I know it is the only “central nervous system” structure that ends up in a peripheral position. Happy to be shown wrong (and no, neural crest derivatives don’t count :)  )

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