Statistics Faculty Play Key Role in Classifying Cells in Massive NIH Study of Brain Neural Networks

October 6, 2021

Five years of research to classify and characterize as many as 116 types of cells that control movement has led to the Oct. 6 publication of 17 new articles covering 136 pages in Nature. Co-authors on two of these research papers include Sandrine Dudoit, a UC Berkeley professor and chair of the Department of Statistics and biostatistician Elizabeth Purdom, a Berkeley associate professor of statistics. The statistics team combined data from nearly a dozen experimental methods to determine how best to classify or cluster cells into different types and, presumably, different functions based on the observed differences in expression and epigenetic profiles among these cells.

It is the first step for a consortium of researchers supported by the National Institutes of Health’s Brain Research Through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) Initiative. The project aims to generate an atlas of the entire brain to help understand how neural networks control our body and mind and how they are disrupted in cases of mental and physical problems.

Read more about this research in Berkeley News.