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Suzhou Institute of Biomedical Engineering and Technology (SIBET) to host “brain-imaging factory” enabling large-scale, standardized data generation

Recon­struct­ed image show­ing how long-range neu­rons extend across a mouse brain. Luo Q. M./Sci Sin Vitae

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Chi­na launch­es brain-imag­ing fac­to­ry (Nature):

Neu­ro­sci­en­tists who painstak­ing­ly map the twists and turns of neur­al cir­cuit­ry through the brain are about to see their field expand to an indus­tri­al scale. A huge facil­i­ty set to open in Suzhou, Chi­na, next month should trans­form high-res­o­lu­tion brain map­ping, its devel­op­ers say.

Where typ­i­cal lab­o­ra­to­ries might use one or two brain-imag­ing sys­tems, the new facil­i­ty boasts 50 auto­mat­ed machines that can rapid­ly slice up a mouse brain, snap high-def­i­n­i­tion pic­tures of each slice and recon­struct those into a 3D pic­ture. This fac­to­ry-like scale will “dra­mat­i­cal­ly accel­er­ate progress”, says Hongkui Zeng, a mol­e­c­u­lar biol­o­gist at the Allen Insti­tute for Brain Sci­ence in Seat­tle, Wash­ing­ton, which is part­ner­ing with the cen­tre. “Large-scale, stan­dard­ized data gen­er­a­tion in an indus­tri­al man­ner will change the way neu­ro­science is done,” she says.

The insti­tute, which will also image human brains, aims to be an inter­na­tion­al hub that will help researchers to map neur­al con­nec­tiv­i­ty for every­thing from stud­ies of Alzheimer’s dis­ease to brain-inspired arti­fi­cial-intel­li­gence projects, says Qing­ming Luo, a researcher in bio­med­ical imag­ing at the Huazhong Uni­ver­si­ty of Sci­ence and Tech­nol­o­gy (HUST) in Wuhan, Chi­na.”

(Accord­ing to their web­site, Suzhou Insti­tute of Bio­med­ical Engi­neer­ing and Tech­nol­o­gy (SIBET) is “the only insti­tute in Chi­nese Acad­e­my of Sci­ences focus­ing on research­es in bio-med­ical instru­ments, bio-med­ical reagents and bio-mate­ri­als.”)

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