Qingming Luo: Brainsmatics—visualizing brain-wide networks

A presentation from SPIE Photonics West 2018.

09 March 2018

In this BiOS Hot Topics session, Qingming Luo of  Huazhong University of Science and Technology, proposes a new approach of brain-spatial information science, abbreviated to "brainsmatics," which refers to the integrated, systematic approach of tracing, measuring, analyzing, managing and displaying cross-level brain spatial data with multi-scale resolution.

Luo leads a new facility called the HUST-Suzhou Institute for Brainsmatics, which has a 5-year budget of 450 million yuan (US$67 million) and employs some 120 scientists and technicians. Luo, who calls himself a "brainsmatician," also built the institute's high-speed brain-imaging systems, which visualize brain-wide networks using an integrated, systematic approach to measuring, analyzing, managing, and displaying whole brain data.

Based on big data of three-dimensional fine structural and functional imaging of neuron types, neural circuits and networks, vascular network et al, with definite temporal-spatial resolution and specific spatial locations, brainsmatics makes it possible to better decipher the brain function and disease and promote the brain-inspired artificial intelligence by extracting cross-level and multi-scale temporal-spatial characteristics of brain connectivity.

"My group developed the MOST system, which combines fluorescent labeling, whole brain embedding, big data processing (pre-processing and 3D reconstruction) for neuron morphology, connectome/projectome, vascular networks and cytoarchitecture, and brain mapping," he says.

Luo shows several examples of the high-resolution detail of neural circuits and single neurons that can be obtained using MOST. This system can also be used to image the brain's vascular network, and his group just reported on a whole brain atlas of certain regions of the brain.

"With our approach, we can achieve brain-wide registration of multiple parameters with high spatial resolution," he said. "We have bridged the gap between electron microscopy and MRI for brain imaging and reconstruction."

Qingming Luo, Huazhong University of Science and Technology (China)Qingming Luo is director of the Britton Chance Center for Biomedical Photonics at Huazhong University of Science and Technology in Wuhan, China. He is also Executive Deputy Director of the Wuhan National Laboratory for Optoelectronics.

Luo gained his PhD degree in Physical Electronics and Optoelectronics from Huazhong University of Science and Technology (HUST) in 1993, and became a faculty member at Department of Optoelectronic Engineering in HUST. He was a Postdoctoral Research Associate at Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics in University of Pennsylvania (1995-1997), and Visiting Researcher at Beckman Laser Institute and Medical Clinic in University of California, Irvine (2000).

Luo's research interests have focused on Biomedical Photonics and Bioinformatics. He has carried out studies on optical molecular imaging and tissue optical imaging based on tissue structure and function.

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