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Introducing Data Stories

November 10, 2016

Every year, thousands of researchers access our publicly available data resources to make important discoveries. Our new series Data Stories takes a closer look at how scientists around the world are using data and tools from the Allen Institute for Brain Science in their own research.

Researchers at the University of Cambridge merged data from the Allen Human Brain Atlas with MRI brain scans and made an important discovery about the teenage brain.

The U-Change study, led by Prof. Ed Bullmore, used MRI to study the brain structure of almost 300 individuals aged 14-24 years old. Dr. Kirstie Whitaker found that some unexpected structural changes are still ongoing in adolescence. Her collaborator, Dr. Petra Vertes, related these MRI observations to the Allen Human Brain Atlas and found that the changes taking place in the brains of teens are highly correlated with genes linked to schizophrenia.

The results of this study are published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The U-Change study was funded by a Strategic Award from the Wellcome Trust to the Neuroscience in Psychiatry Network (NSPN) Consortium. Dr. Vertes was funded by an MRC fellowship in bioinformatics.


In a second study, University of Cambridge researchers brought together data from the Allen Human Brain Atlas and functional MRI brain scans to find the genetic basis for the functional importance of certain brain regions.

The results of this second study are published in the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B.