DIADEM Challenge

The Krasnow Institute, HHMI and the Allen Institute for Brain Science announced a grand challenge project today–to create better tools for image analysis.

Money quote:

The organizers hope the DIADEM Challenge—short for Digital Reconstruction of Axonal and Dendritic Morphology—will lead to innovative solutions to a frustrating problem that has slowed efforts to create a functional atlas of the brain. Neuroscientists agree that a systematic characterization of neurons with their dendrites and axons is essential, since these tree-like structures are highly correlated with the electric activity of, and precise connections between, neurons and are thus linked to the functions of specific brain circuits. But scientists currently spend weeks—and, in some cases, months—tracing the intricate neuronal processes by hand, using data supplied by imaging studies.