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The Human Connectome

The human connectome is a detailed description of the functional and structural connectivities between all cortical areas and subcortical structures in the human brain. The INM-1 aims for a multi-modal and multi-scale brain model, which respresents the basis for any kind of network analysis and simulation.
The team „Connectome“ develops a novel neuroimaging technique (3D-Polarized Light Imaging, 3D-PLI) to map nerve fibers and their pathways in white and gray matter of the human postmortem brain with a resolution at the sub-millimeter scale. The basic idea is to apply fundamental principles of polarizing imaging in different optical setups, thus providing complementary scales of resolution to bridge the gap between structural descriptions of the human connectome at single fiber dimensions and at macroscopic fiber pathway levels. The team is in charge of developing experimental setups as well as the corresponding methods for signal analysis and interpretation.

Fields of Research

The Human Connectome

neuroscience | neuroimaging | neuroinformatics
polarimetry | 3D reconstruction | multimodal image processing | signal analysis | tractography| mapping | connectivity analysis | visualisation

Selected Publications

•     Axer, M.; Amunts, K.; Gräßel, D.; Palm, C.; Dammers, J.; Axer, H.; Pietrzyk, U.; Zilles, K. A novel approach to the human connectome: Ultra-high resolution mapping of fiber tracts in the brain 
NeuroImage, 54 (2011), 1091 – 1101

•     Axer, H.; Beck, S.; Axer, Markus; Schuchardt, F.; Heepe, J.; Fluecken, A.; Axer, Martina; Prescher, A.; Witte, O.W. Microstructural analysis of human white matter architecture using Polarized Light Imaging (PLI): Views from neuroanatomy. Frontiers in Neuroinformatics 5 (2011)

•     Dammers, J.; Breuer, L.; Axer, M.; Kleiner, M.; Eiben, B.; Graessel, D.; Dickscheid, T.; Zilles, K.; Amunts, K.; Shah, N.J.; Pietrzyk, U. Automatic identification of gray and white matter components in polarized light imaging. Neuroimage In Press, Accepted Manuscript (2011)

•     Dammers, J.; Axer, M.; Gräßel, D.; Palm, C.; Zilles, K.; Amunts, K.; Pietrzyk, U.
 Signal enhancement in polarized light imaging by means of independent component analysis
NeuroImage, 49 (2010) 2, 1241 – 1248

•     Palm, C.; Axer, M.; Gräßel, D.; Dammers, J.; Lindemeyer, J.; Zilles, K.; Pietrzyk, U.; Amunts, K.
 Towards ultra-high resolution fibre tract mapping of the human brain - registration of polarised light images and reorientation of fibre vectors.
Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 4 (2010) 9, 1-16

Additional Information


Dr. rer. nat. Markus Axer

Building: 15.9, Room: 3029

Telefon: 02461/61-6314
Fax: 02461/61-2820


Stefanie Hennen

Building: 15.9, Room: 3021

+49 2461 61-2412
 +49-2461 61-3483

Janine Klapper

Building: 15.9, Room: 3020

+49 2461 61-6443
+49 2461 61-3483


Institut für Neurowissenschaften und Medizin (INM-1)
Forschungszentrum Jülich
52425 Jülich

Building: 15.9