Advisory Board

Dr. Shawn Mikula

Shawn Mikula, Ph.D. is Project Leader at the Max Planck Instititute of Neurobiology and the creator of He is also Associate Editor at Frontiers in Neuroanatomy.
A connectome is a complete mapping of all connections, including every individual synapse and gap junction, between all neurons in a model organism’s brain. In other words, a comprehensive circuit diagram of the brain. Current approaches to mapping the connectomes of model organisms employ serial block face scanning electron microscopy (SBF-SEM) and transmission electron microscopy (TEM). The only connectome that has been mapped out to date has been from the flatworm, C. elegans, which has only around 300 neurons. Candidate future connectomes include the fly, with around 10,000 neurons, and the mouse brain, with 100 million neurons.
Shawn is a neuroscientist devoted to comprehensively mapping mammalian whole-brain connectivity. He completed his Ph.D. in neuroscience at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine at the Krieger Mind-Brain Institute in Baltimore, Maryland. He subsequently worked with Ted Jones at the University of California (Davis) as the architect of the BrainMaps project, an interactive multiresolution next-generation brain atlas for various mammalian species.
During subsequent post-doctoral work with Winfried Denk at the Max Planck Institute for Medical Research in Heidelberg, Germany, he developed new methods for staining and imaging whole mouse brains using serial blockface electron microscopy, and he is currently working on ultrastructurally mapping the whole mouse brain at single axon resolution. Longer term, he aims at pioneering high-throughput ultrastructural whole-brain mapping techniques for myriad mammalian species, including primates.
Shawn coauthored Internet-Enabled High-Resolution Brain Mapping and Virtual Microscopy, A Proposal for a Coordinated Effort for the Determination of Brainwide Neuroanatomical Connectivity in Model Organisms at a Mesoscopic Scale, The Effects of Input Rate and Synchrony on a Coincidence Detector: Analytical Solution, Complete 3-D visualization of primate striosomes by KChIP1 immunostaining, Interactive Visualization of Multiresolution Image Stacks in 3D, and A novel method for visualizing functional connectivity using principal component analysis.
Read An Update from Competitors for the Brain Preservation Foundation’s Technology Prize. View his Facebook page. Read his Google+ profile and his LinkedIn profile. Follow his Twitter feed.