The Mouse Atlas Project (MAP) aims to develop a multimodal atlas of the adult C57BL/6J mouse.
This proposal describes an unprecedented project to develop a detailed multidimensional digital multi-modal atlas of the C57BL/6J mouse nervous system. It is specifically focusing on the development of a high-throughput data and informatics pipeline that can automatically register, annotate, and visualize large scale neuroanatomical and connectivity data produced in commonly used methodologies including histology, neuronal tract tracing, MR imaging, and genetic labeling. Using multimodal imaging methods on adult mouse brains, this new, high-resolution atlas will form the basis of a useful interchange reference system for the mouse, we call the Mouse Atlasing Project 2.0. The specific goals of this project are: 1) to produce a multi-modal, high-resolution neuroanatomical and white matter connectivity atlas of the mouse central nervous system; 2) to spatially align all MR imaging data, histological sections, and tractography results into the spaces of known mouse anatomical frameworks such as the Paxinos, Swanson, ABA, Waxholm, and GENSAT transcriptome atlases; 3) to extend development of intuitive and integrative software tools to assist the dissemination, understanding, and interpretation of the vast amounts of imaging data and resulting connectivity information to be produced under this project. The resulting validated, multimodality, multidimensional mouse atlas will be made openly available online and have immense value for studying normal, mutant, healthy and diseased animals in a wide range of neuroscientific investigations. In addition to the unified datasets comprising the atlas itself, this project will take advantage of multiplatform informatics workflows for facilitating data processing as well as interactive atlas exploration and dissemination. This new, high-resolution, multi-modal atlas will enable researchers to make fundamental advances simply through the validation, evaluation, and exploration of the brain – these include: a) provide the foundation for determining the relationship between morphology, connectivity, and gene expression; b) clarify whether cellular anatomy and white matter tracts from histological delineations accurately represent MR-assessed morphology and tractography; and c) how methods for determining these tracts might be further refined and enhanced. This project will be significant since a modern, complete description of high-resolution neuroanatomy and connectivity patterns from multiple modalities in the mouse is essential to our understanding of the interactions that govern the processes of development, normal structure and function, disease and evolution.