Why Mousecircuits.org?

The era of circuit mapping, ushered in by the advent of optogenetics and chemogenetics, has changed the landscape of neuroscience research and has re-energized the hope for novel understandings of disordered affective states. The era of circuit mapping has amassed a large amount of data but this data largely exists as stand-alone studies. Due to the complexity of whole brain functional connectivity, a unified picture is needed. MouseCircuits.Org aims to serve as a tool for researchers by serving as a centralized and consolidated location for circuit-mapping data.

MouseCircuits.Org was established as a “one-stop” entry point to facilitate access to relevant data and to encourage data sharing within the neuroscience community to maximize data visibility and impact. We believe that viewing the rich and precise data from circuit-mapping in such an integrative format can aid in informing new studies and in the shared vision of many researchers in which circuit dissection studies ultimately leads to prevention and treatment of human disorders.

What is Mousecircuits.org?

MouseCircuits.Org is a tool for neuroscientists that use circuit dissection tools to undercover the neural underpinnings of behavior. Currently, MouseCircuits.Org includes data sources from original manuscripts in which optogenetics or chemogenetics were used to dissect behaviors related to fear-like, depressive-like or anxiety-like behaviors in wild-type rodents.

MouseCircuits.Org houses a whole brain vantage point (below) of all the studies in the site database.  In the map, the size of nodes correlate to the number of studies that have studied that region. Similarly, the size of the edge  between two regions correlates to the number of studies that looked at that pathway. Red edges indicate this pathway increased affective-like behavior while blue indicates this pathway decreased affective-like behavior. A black edge indicates that pathways has been implicated in both increasing and decreasing affective-like states. Dropdown menus can be used to filter the map. The region and pathway tabs house key experimental details and outcomes in addition to landscape overviews that give users a birds eye view of the field to highlight trends, progress, and gaps that require more research. Users can search experimental details for specific information as well to answer many question such as: how has a specific virus been used before, what has been the stimulation pattern used in a brain region, or what brain regions have been studied in relation to a specific behavior. Note: These tabs are still in the beta format.

What is included in Mousecircuits.org?

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Two tables are present, one which contains literature that utilizes circuit mapping tools to uncover the role of specific regions in affective states and one which uses these tools to uncover the role of specific pathways in affective states, what post-hoc, if the pathway was observed prior to perturbation, and reference.


With each publication enlisted in MouseCircuits.Org you can find the target region(s) of the study, the animal model, number of animals used in behavior, type of behavior studied, methodology used, virus utilized, stimulation pattern or CNO dose given, the impact of the manipulation on relevant anxiety, fear, and/or depressive behaviors, what post-hoc confirmation of injections was reported, and the publication reference. intellegebat et nec, cu mea natum vitae salutandi

Charts and Graphs

Charts and graphs that visualize these various aspects of the studies are present and continually updated as information is added to the compository. Stay tuned for new charts & figures!​


You can browse the website or search for specific components of each publication or circuit, as listed above.


Affective disorders rank amongst the most disruptive and prevalent psychiatric diseases, resulting in enormous societal and economic burden, and immeasurable personal costs. Novel therapies are urgently needed but have remained elusive. The era of circuit-mapping in rodent models of disordered affect, ushered in by recent technological advancements allowing for precise and specific neural control, has reenergized the hope for precision psychiatry. Here, we present a novel whole-brain cumulative network and critically access the progress made to-date on circuits mediating affective-like behaviors in rodents to seek unifying principles of this cumulative data. We identified 176 original manuscripts in which optogenetics or chemogenetics were used to dissect behaviors related to fear-like, depressive-like or anxiety-like behaviors in rodents.

We identified emergent themes such as node centrality and bias. We alos found that while a few pathways have been validated across similar behaviors and multiple labs, the data is mostly disjointed, with evidence of bidirectional effects of several pathways. Additionally, there is a need for analysis informed by observation prior to perturbation. Given the complex nature of brain connectivity, we argue that the compartmentalized viewpoint that develops as a consequence of fragmented pathway-specific manipulations does not readily lend itself to an integrative picture. To address this, we launched an interactive online consortium, MouseCircuits.org, an open-source platform for consolidated circuit data. This tool aims to support the shared vision of informed circuit dissection that ultimately leads to prevention and treatment of human disorders.

Accompanying Review

“The circuit era of disordered affect: a review of the rodent connectome”

by Kristin Anderson and Dani Dumitriu.

Who We Are?

MouseCircuits.Org was created in the Developmental Origins Of Resiliency (DOOR) lab at Columbia University by Dani Dumitriu (Principal Investigator) and Kristin Anderson (Postdoctoral Research Fellow), with the help of Allie Lipshutz (undergraduate research assistant).

Our lab’s overarching research questions is why some individuals are resilient to stress while others develop stress-induced pathology. We utilize stress-induced animal models such as social defeat stress to uncover the connectivity pattern of the brains of individuals who are susceptible and resilient to stress, particularly what patterns may exist prior to experiencing a stressor. We hope to help build a foundation of understanding resiliency, which can ultimately translate into the standardization of disease prevention.

For more information, www.theDOORlab.com.

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