The Brief

Exploring the brain and how it works is the most urgent and exciting challenge for researchers at Columbia University. They wanted to make the process more efficient through a reliable software that will help them deal with large amounts of data. The mission was to develop an application that will assist researchers in their study of brain networks in mice -- a tool that offers custom visualization and insight generation.

The Challenge

Data could come in many different schemas. It required a customizable data input form and data pipeline to map various fields to existing data points. The visualization feature needed a fully custom implementation using D3.js in order to build multi-dimensional brain network connections, which could be filtered and color-coded in real-time.

Our Approach

We worked closely with CU’s research team to uncover a data analysis method that solved their specific needs, and enabled the data to be normalized automatically. We graphically configured the data input form and adjusted it without the need for developers. We built a custom visualization which combined many variables into a multi-dimensional network with color coding and variable sizing. We used an asymptotic mapping function based on standard deviations in the data.

We were able to deliver an application that allowed researchers to import data, linking different neural pathways and revealing insights based on the aggregate of these connections. The tool also enabled them to easily visualize the information, and draw high-level insights.

The Metrics

Millions of data points handled

Our system was able to handle millions of data points and efficiently aggregate and visualize them in a browser using a combination of backend and frontend processing.

Data analysis + data import

The data analysis enabled them to import data from other researchers, allowing them to scale their operations.

New insights + promising leads

Our system was able to uncover new insights that are promising leads for ground breaking research.

About the Company

Columbia University is one of the leading educational institutions in the US for medical and biology research. They believe that a deeper understanding of the brain can transform science and society. The research team we worked with is making huge strides in understanding brain networks and how different neural sections relate to each other.