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by | May 11, 2018 · 6:24 pm

VFB 2.0 beta release

We are proud to announce the release of VFB 2.0_beta1 designed in collaboration with MetaCell using the Geppetto open source platform. This release, available at, features:

  • An integrated 3D image browser that synchronises with the stack browser familiar from VFB 1.5

    A redesigned stack browser with fast section scrolling controlled by mouse-wheel or trackpad.

  •  A stylish new look and feel with an internal windowing environment and rapid synchronisation between components.
  •  A redesigned query interface making queries clearer and more easily extendable.

VFB 2.0_beta1 does not have the full functionality of VFB 1.5. In particular queries of FlyBase annotations of expression and phenotypes are not yet integrated. We are currently working on tuning queries for these and plan to incorporate them into the next release, scheduled for the end of April.

We’re also very busy adding new data including:

  • a new template for the larval CNS with painted domains and registered neurons
  • re-imaged VT lines from Janelia
  • split-GAL4 line images from FlyLight (Janelia)
  • neuron reconstructions from EM data

We are very keen to get community feedback on this release – including bug reports, features requests or just general suggestions. Please use the feedback link on the new site or email us on

Please note that although new development is focussed on VFB 2.0, we will continue to maintain VFB 1.5 in parallel.

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Filed under New Content, New Feature, Website

WEBINAR: Exploring the brain of a fly

Neuroscience is advancing at a tremendous pace: the generation of circuit level hypotheses is experiencing an accelerated growth and it is now accompanied by an unprecedented ability to visualise, manipulate and record from individual neurons, in vivo. In this webinar, you’ll learn about the latest technological advancements in how disparate, large-scale datasets can be integrated, visualized and linked to a knowledge base and curated literature in the context of the brain of the Drosophila. MetaCell, world leaders in software for neuroscience, is hosting a free, open webinar to present Virtual Fly Brain, a unique resource for Drosophila neuroscience to produce fly brain data-driven imaging, visualization and browsing, ultimately providing the data to generate circuit hypotheses and identify research tools to test them. VFB is a joint effort of the University of Cambridge, University of Edinburgh and EMBL-EBI – funded by the Wellcome Trust. With exceptional guest speakers from the Virtual Fly Brain project, you’ll learn how you could make the most of your neuroscience imaging data and use your browser to explore the anatomy and the intricate relationships inside a brain.

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Filed under Uncategorized, Usage Examples

Preview of the VFB 2.0 stack browser

VFB 2.0 Stack Browser

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Filed under New Feature, Website

Come see us at NeuroFly2016

NeuroFly 2016

Marta Costa will be talking tonight at 7pm with a poster at R-019.
Robert Court will be available at poster R-022.

We look forward to meeting everyone.

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Filed under Tweets

Major new VFB release

We are proud to announce a major new VFB release. This sees some very significant enhancements to the data we serve: we have now mapped ~50% of the >16,000 single neurons from FlyCircuit to published neuron classes; we now host almost 18,000 images of VT lines along with curation of where they are expressed.

An example of the detailed image data available for neuron classes can be see by querying for neurons with synaptic terminals in the protocerebral bridge and sorting on available images. 111 of the 137 neuron classes returned are illustrated by one or more single neuron images:

Screen Shot 2016-08-10 at 11.40.18

This particular data comes from combining NBLAST clusters (described in a recent paper from VFB’s Marta Costa and Greg Jefferis) and detailed curation of the paper from Ann-Shyn Chiang’s group ‘A comprehensive wiring diagram of the protocerebral bridge for visual information processing in the Drosophila brain.’

Any of these neuron images can be used to search for predicted GAL4 driver lines using NBLAST on the fly (video tutorial).

We are working on integrating NBLAST queries directly into VFB, so soon you’ll be able obtain lists of predicted driver lines directly from neuron classes.

We now have ~18,000 images of VT expression patterns. Registered data kindly donated by Barry Dickson (Janelia/IMP), Katja Buhler (VRVis) and colleagues was bridged from the original T1 template space to the JFRC2 template used on the VFB site.

The VT lines are indexed to gross neuropils (data from BrainBase), e.g.

Screen Shot 2016-08-10 at 12.02.14

They are also indexed to individual neurons (curated from the literature):

Screen Shot 2016-08-10 at 12.00.54

This release also includes many more minor enhancements and extensions to data via curation by VFB and FlyBase of anatomy, expression and phenotypes.


Filed under Uncategorized

VFB 1.5 Launch – Monday 15th Feb

We are delighted to announce the official release of VFB 1.5. This
has already been available in beta for some time. It will become the
official version of VFB on Monday 15th Feb.

The new site features a new look and feel, a much improved image
browser and better integration of images into search results. Please
let us know what you think. Your feedback is essential to our
continued improvement.

The main focus of development is now our new 3D browser (watch this
space for demos) and improvements to our data architecture to speed
up the site, extend queries and support new visualisation tools.

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Filed under Uncategorized

Finding similar neurons using NBLAST

You can now use NBLAST to find similar neurons, or GAL4 drivers that label a neuron of interest. The implementation is described here, and the how, with video demos here. You can start NBLASTing right away on the online app!

Neurons listed in the NBLAST results are linked to VFB, so you can see them on the viewer, together with any other image.

And see here how to find GAL4 drivers that label specific neurons.

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by | February 2, 2016 · 11:56 am

Flybase and Ontology Update

We have just updated to the latest release of the flybase database FB2015_05 and also have updated to the latest (2015-09-16) anatomy ontology.

Please follow the links for further details.

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Filed under New Content, Website

Feeling adventurous?

Try out our new site which is currently undergoing beta testing:

We would love to know what you think?

Simply leave a comment here, or use the report an issue or email us links on the site itself.


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by | October 2, 2015 · 11:27 am