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Philipp Keller wants to uncover the fundamental rules governing neural development, and to systematically link development to the functional activation of circuits in the nervous system. Keller and his team design and apply new light-sheet microscopes and computer vision methods to quantitatively study development and the emergence of function in the early nervous system of the fruit fly, zebrafish, and mouse. The team’s long-term goals are to use their findings to establish and validate a computer model of the developing nervous system and, ultimately, of the entire embryo.