Elsevier announced new features for its online research tool BrainNavigator, adding new content and functionality to give researchers additional tools to accelerate their research.
BrainNavigator is an online, interactive, 3D software tool for the application of brain atlases and maps images of brain anatomy, helping neuroscience researchers save time and improve the quality of their daily research by helping locate the position of structures within the brain, making visualization and communication about scientific findings about the brain easier.
This newest version of BrainNavigator includes a "cell counter" that makes the tedious and time-consuming manual counting of cells obsolete. Neuroscientists use histology to cut and stain brain slices to evaluate various compounds in particular brain regions. An accurate means of measuring these stains provides vital information about the way the brain works and what structures are involved in particular functions. Less expensive than high-end systems that are out-of-reach for most researchers, BrainNavigator's new counting tool allows researchers to mark cells systematically for easy analysis, minimizing the errors and miscalculations that often occur when using traditional manual methods.
In addition to the cell counter, BrainNavigator 3.2 includes improved 3D models based upon these atlases:
- New ontology from Paxinos and Watson. The new ontology offers over 100 new structures for the mouse, rat, and monkey models. Brain-stem nuclei, cranial nerve nuclei, and some major blood vessels are now represented.
- New 3D models: Close to 80 new structures were built into the 3D models of the three non-human species. This allows for visualization of brain regions in a format that has not been available to date. Neuroscientists can now spatially observe these structures in orientation with other areas in the brain.
- New Connections Data: BrainNavigator has provided 33 new connections through the Brain Architecture Management System (BAMS) database. These connections enable researchers to observe how various regions in the brain interact. Classically this has only been available by manually sifting through several manuscripts to find the data that is efficiently integrated into the BAMS website saving hours of unnecessary searching.
BrainNavigator offers both free and subscription-based content.