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Reference brains are indispensable tools in brain mapping, enabling integration of multimodal data into anatomically realistic standard space. However available reference brains are limited to macroscopic scale and therefore do not provide information on functionally relevant microscopic dimension. Within the scope of international cooperation with Prof. Alan Evans from the Montreal Neurological Institute (MNI) of the McGill University in Montreal a 3D modell of a human brain in extremely high resolution has been developed. This so far unique reconstruction was carried on the basis of 7404 digitalized histological cuts. „BigBrain“ is a free tool and offers matchless neuroanatomical insight as well as the possibility to verify hypotheses.

The Human Brain Project (HBP) integrates BigBrain as a part of the HBP Human Brain Atlas, and provides an interactive Online-Viewer at The dataset of approx. 1 Terabyte is available for download at

For detailed information please see the original publication:

HIBALL - Helmholtz International BigBrain Analytics and Learning Laboratory

The German-Canadian Helmholtz International Lab HIBALL builds on the long established collaboration of Neuroscientist and AI experts around Alan Evans at McGill University in Montreal, Canada and Katrin Amunts at Forschungszentrum Jülich (FZJ) in Germany and develops the next generation multimodal 3D brain models at unmatched spatial resolution in close cooperation with CIFAR and MILA in Canada as well as Helmholtz AI in Germany, using novel deep learning methods and the latest supercomputing architectures to analyze neuroscientific data in the petabyte range. The lab establishs infrastructure solutions for sharing and analyzing large imaging data that are interoperable with the services of the large brain initiatives, most notable the HBP and the Canadian Healthy Brains for Healthy Lives initiative (HBHL).

HIBALL is funded for a period of 5 years with a total budget of 6 million euros by the Helmholtz Association and the Canadian partners. In April 2020, the successful collaboration around the open, high-resolution human brain model "BigBrain" between the institutes of Alan Evans and Katrin Amunts entered a new phase and enables the development of a digital, 3D atlas of the human brain at cellular level.

Project webpage: HIBALL


Prof. Dr. med. Katrin AmuntsDirector and Working Group Leader "Architecture and Brain Function"Gebäude 15.9 / Raum 3022+49 2461/61-4300
Ph.D. Alan C. EvansProfessor of Neurology and Neurosurgery, Psychiatry and Biomedical Engineering at McGill University+1 514-398-8926

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Letzte Änderung: 28.07.2022