Reed Elsevier

Elsevier’s BrainNavigator 3.2 offers new functionality to speed neurological research

Press Release   •   Nov 18, 2011 08:44 GMT

Elsevier, a world-leading provider of scientific, technical and medical information products and services, today announced new features for its online research tool BrainNavigator. In the updated version, BrainNavigator 3.2, Elsevier has added critical new content and functionality to give researchers additional tools to accelerate their research.

This newest version, BrainNavigator 3.2, includes a “cell counter” that makes the tedious and time-consuming manual counting of cells obsolete. Neuroscientists use a method called “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.

BrainNavigator is an online, interactive, 3D software tool that extends and advances the application of brain atlases and maps images of brain anatomy, helping neuroscience researchers save time and improve the quality of their daily research. BrainNavigator helps locate the position of structures within the brain, making visualization and communication about scientific findings about the brain easier. The first version, introduced in 2009, received the prestigious PROSE Award in 2009. Updated versions with new features and functionalities have further enhanced the tool ever since.

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.

“We’ve launched yet another updated version of BrainNavigator with just one objective in mind: further improving the efficiency of the neuroscience researcher workflow,” said Suzanne BeDell, Managing Director of Elsevier Science &Technology Books. “Their feedback will continue to be essential in our efforts to further improve our product in the future.”

Offering both free and subscription-based content, BrainNavigator is used by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Stanford University and other leading research institutions.  Nothing in this press release constitutes or should be inferred to be an endorsement or recommendation of any product, service, or enterprise by the National Institutes of Health, any other agency of the United States Government, or any employee of the United States Government.