CANARIE, a vital component of Canada’s digital infrastructure supporting research, education and innovation, today added to the chorus of congratulations for the Canadian-German team responsible for the creation of the human brain atlas, which was recognized by the MIT Technology Review as one of the world’s breakthrough technologies of 2014.
Dr. Alan Evans of the Montreal Neurological Institute, along with Dr. Katrin Amunts from the Jülich Research Centre in Germany, led the team that created the three-dimensional brain atlas. The team painstakingly digitized and re- assembled 7,000 slices of a human brain. The resulting atlas provides resolution that is 50 times greater in all three dimensions than previous brain maps, providing scientists with detailed images to the level of 20 micrometers, which is about the size of some human neurons.
CANARIE is particularly buoyed by this recognition, as the brain atlas was incubated through a CANARIE-funded project, CBRAIN, led by Dr. Evans. CBRAIN is an online research software platform which leverages the CANARIE high speed network to provide scientists with unprecedented immediate access to three- and four-dimensional brain imaging data. The CBRAIN platform laid the foundation for the human brain atlas, which digitally reconstructs a single human brain. These tools broach a new frontier in digital discovery and accelerate our understanding of brain development, dysfunction, and disease.
“I am delighted that the MIT Technology Review has recognized Alan and the team for their groundbreaking work and the impact the brain atlas will have on research discoveries in fields including psychiatry, neurology, and cognitive neuroscience,” says Jim Ghadbane, President and CEO of CANARIE. “The success of this project also underscores the role of software, advanced networks, high performance computing resources, and Big Data on the creation of new knowledge that benefits us all.”
“This is an exciting project from both neuroscience and technology perspectives, with many different applications and extensions from this first atlas,” says Dr. Alan Evans. “This work was heavily dependent upon the high- performance computational resources from Compute Canada provided through CBRAIN. It is fair to say that there would be no BigBrain without CBRAIN and no CBRAIN without CANARIE. We are grateful for CANARIE’s critical support in launching the CBRAIN platform”.
The human brain atlas is one of ten breakthrough technologies identified by the MIT Technology Review. Others include agile robots, the Oculus Rift (a head-mounted immersive virtual reality display), agricultural drones, and micro scale 3-D printing machines. More information on these technologies may be found at http://www.technologyreview.com/featuredstory/526501/brain-mapping.
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CANARIE designs and delivers digital infrastructure, and drives its adoption for Canada’s research and education communities. CANARIE keeps Canada at the forefront of digital research and innovation, fundamental to a vibrant digital economy.
CANARIE’s roots are in advanced networking, and CANARIE continues to evolve the national ultra-high-speed backbone network that enables data-intensive, leading-edge research and big science across Canada and around the world. One million researchers, scientists and students at over 1,100 Canadian institutions, including universities, colleges, research institutes, hospitals, and government laboratories have access to the CANARIE Network.
CANARIE also leads the development of research software tools that enable researchers to more quickly and easily access research data, tools, and peers. In support of Canada’s high-tech entrepreneurs, CANARIE offers cloud- computing services to help them accelerate product development and gain a competitive edge in the marketplace.
Twelve provincial and territorial network partners, together with CANARIE, collectively form Canada’s national research and education network (NREN). This powerful digital infrastructure connects Canada’s researchers and innovators provincially, nationally, and globally to the data, tools, colleagues, and classrooms that are at the heart of prosperity in the digital economy.
Established in 1993, CANARIE is a non-profit corporation, with the major investment in its programs and activities provided by the Government of Canada.