If individual labs become more efficient in managing their data, it will lower the practical barriers to data sharing. It is encouraging CCI-779 molecular weight that the need for data sharing is receiving attention from funding agencies and also in the advisory report on the BRAIN Initiative (http://www.nih.gov/science/brain). During the 1990s, many of my neuroanatomy colleagues bemoaned the decline of systems neuroanatomy. It was increasingly hard to get funding and to recruit graduate students to the field. While I shared the concern, my instincts were that a resurgence was essential for the vitality of neuroscience more broadly
and that the pendulum would swing with the advent of more powerful and efficient neuroanatomical methods. However, never in my wildest turn-of-the-century dreams did I countenance the amazing explosion of interest in matters neuroanatomical that now engage GSK-3 signaling pathway a broad spectrum of investigators, including hardcore molecular neuroscientists who now appreciate the importance of delving into the intricacies of neuroanatomy. To paraphrase Mark Twain, reports of the death of neuroanatomy were greatly exaggerated. The field has undergone an amazing resurgence, fueled by advances on many fronts. In animal models, this includes optogenetics and labeling of neuronal subtypes
and their projections, genetically tractable species like mouse zebrafish and Drosophila ( Schnitzer and Deisseroth, 2013). In monkeys and humans, this includes
the powerful neuroimaging methods discussed in this Perspective. My interests in neural nearly development are deeply rooted but have followed a circuitous trajectory that intersects with the cartography and connectomic themes of this essay. While at Caltech, my lab pursued parallel, highly disparate lines of research on synapse elimination at the neuromuscular junction and on the functional organization of primate visual cortex. After moving to Washington University in 1992, my developmental focus shifted to cerebral cortex. We used postmortem anatomical methods to show that connections between macaque areas V1 and V2 initially form around the time that cortical gyrification occurs (Coogan and Van Essen, 1996). This prompted me to think mechanistically about how cortical folding brings the retinotopic maps of areas V1 and V2 into register. In my favorite “light-bulb” moment of an entire scientific career, it occurred to me one evening that cortical folding might arise if axons generated mechanical tension that pulled strongly connected locations closer to one another. This notion quickly generalized into a theory of tension-based morphogenesis that can account for many other key features of nervous system development (Van Essen, 1997).