Brain Research Center at National Tsing Hua University

Team

Name: Ann-Shyn Chiang
Position: Professor of Life Sciences and Director of Brain Research Center, NTHU
Education: Ph.D. in Entomology, Rutgers University, New Jersey , U.S.A.
Email: aschiang@life.nthu.edu.tw
Director of Brain Research Center

The Brain Research Center incorporates multi-discipline expertise in Neuroscience, Genetics, Biochemistry, Behavioral Science, Computational Biology, Image Processing, Theoretical Physics, Mechanical Engineering and Photonics Engineering to decipher how a brain works.

Name: Szu-Ting Chen
Position: Director of Graduate Institute of Philosophy,NTHU
Education: Ph.D. in Philosophy, London School of Economics and Political Science
Email: stchen@mx.nthu.edu.tw
Leader of Education and Start-up Company

在本中心的研究成果之基礎上,推廣與腦科學有關之科普教育;並結合教育領域相關學者與專家,共同研發全腦開發教材以推動全民終身腦教育計畫,將本中心之研究成果應用與推廣至社會大眾。此外,透過轉譯大腦知識,介紹最新的腦科學知識給普羅大眾,以吸引社會賢達認同本中心的破解大腦之中心目標,促成全國性的腦科學研究基金會之設立。再者,建立腦科學與人文社會學科之交流平台,邀集人文社會領域學者共同討論腦科學發展所引發的諸多人文社會問題,並研商可能的因應方案。本小組支援其它分組對於教育推廣與產業應用之需求,以期增進腦科學研究之社會與產業效應。 About

Name: Chung-Chuan Lo
Position: Director of Institute of Systems Neuroscience, NTHU
Education: Ph.D. in Physics, Boston University, U.S.A.
Email: cclo@mx.nthu.edu.tw
Leader of Neural Computation

As the number of neuronal images in the Brain Research Center’s database increases dramatically, two fundamental questions need to be answered. First, how do we analyze neuronal images using the techniques of big data? Second, how to transform these images into a working model of the brain. To overcome this challenge, we are pursuing three directions.

(1) To grasp the whole picture of how signals are transmitted in the brain, we aim to analyze fly brain images, and construct a high-resolution fly connectome database. We then can use our connectome database to investigate features of the brain’s network architecture using deep learning and other heuristic algorithms.

(2) To investigate how a fly brain computes, we use fly connectomic data to simulate the dynamics of the fly brain.

(3) To inspire a new generation of novel and efficient machine learning and AI algorithms, we examine the structure and dynamics of realistic fly neural networks. Here we hope to uncover how evolution, has addressed the same or similar problems.

To achieve the aforementioned goals, we recruit researchers across all disciplines, including neurobiology, physics, and informatics. In addition to the development of image analysis techniques, we also have constructed the first whole fly brain network model. Moreover, we cooperate with other international research groups who curate other fly brain databases.About

Name: Tzu-Kang Sang
Position: Associate Professor in Institute of Biotechnology, NTHU
Education: Ph.D. in Purdue University, U.S.A.
Email: tksang@life.nthu.edu.tw
Leader of Gene and Disease

The members of the Gene and Disease group aim to utilize comprehensive connectome data obtained in the BRC to delineate the functional map of the Drosophila brain that involves memory and brain disorder.  Combined with the leading technology developed in Taiwan, the group focuses on the underlying mechanisms of brain function, covering topics regarding gene activation, molecular regulation, protein production, electrophysiological properties, and neural connection. The group has developed a variety of genetic and automatic methods to regulate the neuronal activity and successfully applied to explore the learning and memory paradigms in Drosophila. Our continued effort towards understanding the genetic and connectomic impacts on brain disorder will help researchers and clinicians quickly screen natural and synthetic molecules to improve brain function.
Currently, BRC has pilot projects in cooperation with domestic and international organizations to develop new drugs aimed to enhance the long-term memory of the elderly and patients with brain dysfunction.About

Name: Yan-Ren Lin
Position: Assistant Researcher of National Center for High-performance Computing
Education: Ph.D. in Dept. of Computer Science, NTHU
Email: d928307@oz.nthu.edu.tw
Leader of Connectomics

FlyCircuit is the world's first 3D single neuron image database. It is a public database for online archiving, cell type inventory, browsing, searching and 3D visualization of individual neurons in the Drosophila brain. FlyCircuit provides tools for analyzing neural connections and for similarity comparisons. These tools are accessible to researchers around the world. 3D image data is converted and stored in the database as one-dimensional sequences. This speeds up calculations, reduces analysis time and makes analyzing tools more efficient. FlyCircuit will continue to have images added to it until the database has about 130,000 images. These images then will be used to construct the Drosophila brain connectome. Gene expression data, which has already been integrated into the database, will provide researchers with a way to target specific genes and manipulate neuronal function. This database was created in cooperation with the National Center for High-performance Computing in Taiwan. About

Name: Chun-Chao Chen
Position: Assistant Researcher of Brain Research Center, NTHU
Education: Ph.D. in Institute of Biotechnology, NTHU
Email: chunchao0802@gmail.com
Leader of Learning and Memory

Memory is one of the core functions of the brain. The memory group of Brain Research Center at NTHU is utilizing Drosophila as the animal model to investigate the mechanism of memory formation. When a brain receives conditioned and unconditioned stimulus (odors and foot shock), different neuronal cells responsive to these two stimulus are activated. Eventually, the neuronal signals corresponding to these two stimulus meet somewhere in the brain, and this association results in memory formation. The whole process of the memory formation involves dynamic interactions and activations among many genes, proteins and cells. About

Name: Shi-Wei Chu
Position: Professor in Dept.of Physics, NTU
Education: Ph.D. in National Taiwan University
Email: swchu@phys.ntu.edu.tw
Leader of Innovative Technologies

In the era of systems neuroscience, the Team Innovative Technologies at BRC delicate their effort to construct 3D brain neural network structure and functional maps. With the domestic and international collaboration in biotechnology, information engineering, nano-electromechanics and optical imaging, we have developed many leading edge technologies for the research purposes. These innovative technologies are expected to applied in many research fields.About

Name: Yeu-Kuang Hwa
Position: Researcher in Institute of Physics, Academia Sinica
Education: Ph.D. in Physics,University of Wisconsin–Madison, U.S.A.
Email: phhwu@gate.sinica.edu.tw
Leader of X-Ray Technologies

We have developed an powerful approach using integrated synchrotron X-ray tomography techniques for fast three dimensional (3D) imaging of a large population of individual neurons in animal brains without tissue clearing or physical sectioning. Isotropic resolution allows 3D reconstruction of thousands of single neurons together with other tissues within a large volume. Our approach provides a new mapping method of the animal brain at single-cell resolution in a realistic time frame.About

Name: Bi-Chang Chen
Position: Associate Researcher of Research Center for Applied Sciences, Academia Sinica
Education: Ph.D. Dept. of Chemistry and Biochemistry, The University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX, USA
Email: chenb10@gate.sinica.edu.tw
Leader of Human Brain Connectome

The human brain is the most complex tissue in our body, using 80% of the body's energy to process our daily work. MRI, FMRI and EEG give us the opportunity to glimpse the mystery of the structure and activity in the brain. But MRI can give us a wide range of understanding of the gray matter, white matter and other structures of the brain. Just like a google map with a ruler only to the city, it is not enough for us to understand the detail story in every lane and doorplate in the city. We hope to create the first cell-level human brain map in Taiwan and become the first team in the world that can apply super-resolution microscopes to the organization of the whole human brain. About