The BRAIN Initiative Cell Census Consortium: Lessons Learned toward Generating a Comprehensive Brain Cell Atlas

Neuron. 2017 Nov 1;96(3):542-557. doi: 10.1016/j.neuron.2017.10.007.


A comprehensive characterization of neuronal cell types, their distributions, and patterns of connectivity is critical for understanding the properties of neural circuits and how they generate behaviors. Here we review the experiences of the BRAIN Initiative Cell Census Consortium, ten pilot projects funded by the U.S. BRAIN Initiative, in developing, validating, and scaling up emerging genomic and anatomical mapping technologies for creating a complete inventory of neuronal cell types and their connections in multiple species and during development. These projects lay the foundation for a larger and longer-term effort to generate whole-brain cell atlases in species including mice and humans.

Keywords: BRAIN initiative; anatomy; cell census; connectivity; electrophysiology; human brain; mouse brain; single-cell RNA-seq; single-cell epigenomics; single-cell transcriptomics.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Atlases as Topic*
  • Brain / anatomy & histology
  • Brain / cytology*
  • Brain / physiology*
  • Brain Mapping / methods*
  • Brain Mapping / trends
  • Humans
  • Nerve Net / anatomy & histology
  • Nerve Net / cytology*
  • Nerve Net / physiology*
  • Pilot Projects