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New project will use special 3D technique to map nerve connections in the brain

Friday 14 Jan 22

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Tim Bjørn Dyrby
Associate Professor
DTU Compute
+45 45 25 34 24

Lundbeck Foundation supports audacious research. Associate Professor Tim Dyrby at DTU Compute is one of 26 researchers from Danish universities who have just received money for innovative research in neuroscience.

The money (DKK 1,861,353) comes from the Lundbeck Foundation's research program LF Experiment, which supports projects that can be characterized as audacious and where researchers 'really dare to think outside the box', the foundation writes in its press release. The Lundbeck Foundation awards DKK 50 million to audacious projects.

In the project, Tim Dyrby and his team will virtually use a special 3D technique to depict brain connections in small brains such as mice and rats to map the entire nerve connection landscape.

"Today, a contrast agent is used, which is injected into the brain. Typically, contrast agents can only show a single brain connection, but our method is not expected to have that limitation."
Tim Dyrby, Associate Professor, DTU Compute

"Today, a contrast agent is used, which is injected into the brain. Typically, contrast agents can only show a single brain connection, but our method is not expected to have that limitation. From MRI scans, you can also virtually depict the brain connections in the human brain, but the image resolution of MRI is too poor for small brains. Instead, we use a microscope with micrometer resolution, which is linked to mathematical models," says Tim Dyrby.

Innovative working method

The audacity of the project is about a new type of image contrast.

"We believe it has broad potential. The audacious thing is that we don't quite understand why the image contrast works the way it does," he says.

The starting point for the research is ultimately to gain a better understanding of the influence of brain diseases on the nervous system of the brain, so that neurological diseases can be treated and prevented.

"The research here could be used very widely in many biological areas, but it is probably mostly for basic research in the field of biomedical medicine. It will be a tool for researchers or companies that develop medicines and who want to be able to map the brain connections to which their medicine relates," says Tim Dyrby.

The project will begin 1 March 2022.

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