October 11, 2021

Welch Lab Co-Authors on Three Papers in Nature and Nature Biotechnology

BRAIN Initiative Cell Census Network—Motor Cortex
Generating a multimodal cell census and atlas of primary motor cortex through collaborative data collection, tool development and analysis.

Four years ago, the NIH’s Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) Initiative Cell Census Network (BICCN) was launched, with the aim of identifying and cataloguing the diverse cell types in human, monkey and mouse brain. The first instalment of this ambitious endeavour is now complete, with the comprehensive mapping of mammalian primary motor cortical cell type identities on a molecular level.This collaborative effort has integrated a variety of different large-scale data sets to better define brain cell types, analysing single-cell transcriptomes, chromatin accessibility, DNA methylomes, morphological characteristics and electrophysiological properties in combination with precise anatomical locations.
While the multimodal reference atlas should facilitate the study of brain function by providing detailed data on the ‘parts list’ of motor cortex, this effort from the BICCN has also accelerated the development of a novel toolkit to provide genetic access to various neuronal subtypes, as well as a suite of powerful analytical options for researchers to examine the publicly available datasets for further discovery.The flagship paper of this BICCN project, published in Nature, aims to establish a unified framework of motor cortical cell-type organization by describing how the various molecular, wiring, and functional components were brought together. Additionally, the flagship serves to validate the BICCN’s systematic strategy of defining cell types, opening up future directions for the application of a similar collaborative and comprehensive approach to generate a brain-wide cell census and atlas of the mouse brain. We will highlight a sample of papers from the package throughout this immersive web feature.  

Here are the specific papers that Welch Lab co-authored:

Josh Welch, PhD

Joshua Welch, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Computational Medicine and Bioinformatics
Associate Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science