Beijing: Chinese scientists are planning to draw the clearest yet three-dimensional map of the intricate neurons and blood vessels in the human brain.
Why do some brains discover the laws of universe, while others create soul-stirring music or paintings? How is memory and consciousness generated?
Their sophisticated structure and the number of neurons are only estimates, Xinhua news agency reported.
Our current methods cannot see most of it, lead researcher Luo Qingming said, adding: "This ambitious project is like taking 3D photos of a huge forest of nearly 100 billion trees...
"We aim to develop new methods to obtain a high-resolution map to see clearly how the neural network is connected," the 52-year-old said.
"Different types of neurons are the basis for the analysis of brain functions and for the diagnosis and treatment of brain diseases," Luo, chief scientist of the Suzhou Institute for Brainsmatics of the Huazhong University of Science and Technology (HUST), said.
He has launched the project with an initial about $30,000 budget in a 25 square metre lab.
"We need biologists and chemists to prepare brain samples, engineers and technicians with optical, mechanical and control technology to develop the imaging instruments, and computer talents to process data and display the results."
The team in 2010 developed a brain-imaging instrument with independent intellectual property rights that was published in the Science journal.