Saturday, February 18, 2017
Exhibit Hall (Hynes Convention Center)
Terri Gilbert, Allen Institute for Brain Science, Seattle, WA
For more than a decade, the Allen Institute for Brain Science has provided an online and open suite of neuroscientific data and analysis tools. These have become foundational resources within the neuroscience community for accelerating research aimed at understanding the structure and function of the brain. The data that is contained within the online resources was designed to integrate with online or downloadable analysis tools that allow users to query the data and answer targeted questions about genetics and anatomy. While these resources are widely used by researchers to forward their scientific studies, they are also ideal tools for neuroscience educators to teach their students about the brain. Educators who focus on Neuroanatomy can utilize the Allen Mouse Brain Atlas and brain-wide neuron connectivity maps as primary references or teaching tools to highlight boundaries and connections between structures. They can also take advantage of data visualization tools that display data in a 3D map. Brain development can be explored using the developmental atlases and tools, to compare the changes that occur in human and model experimental organisms such as mouse. For clinically motivated curricula, the data contained in select atlases provides rich opportunities for exploring molecular underpinnings of illness or disease. Educators that teach computational neuroscience also have a vast resource of tools in the Allen Brain Atlas. The Allen Software Development Kit (Allen SDK) includes data analysis tools to mine and visualize big data and the Application Programming Interface (API) provides quality data to practice with and incorporate into scientists own experimental findings. These open source tools and data are accompanied by YouTube tutorials, and guidelines on incorporating these educational resources are explored here.