A prominent goal of neuroscience is to improve our understanding of how brain structure and activity interact to produce perception, emotion, behavior, and cognition. The brain’s network activity is inherently organized in distinct spatiotemporal patterns that span scales from nanometer-sized synapses to meter-long nerve fibers and millisecond intervals between electrical signals to decades of memory storage. There is currently no single imaging method that alone can provide all the relevant information, but intelligent combinations of complementary techniques can be effective. Here, we thus present the latest advances in biomedical and biological engineering on photoacoustic neuroimaging in the context of complementary imaging techniques. A particular focus is placed on recent advances in whole-brain photoacoustic imaging in rodent models and its influential role in bridging the gap between fluorescence microscopy and more non-invasive techniques such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). We consider current strategies to address persistent challenges, particularly in developing molecular contrast agents, and conclude with an overview of potential future directions for photoacoustic neuroimaging to provide deeper insights into healthy and pathological brain processes.

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