How is brain asymmetry established and what is it good for?


  • Prof Stephen Wilson

    University College London

Project summary

Nervous system asymmetries influence cognition and behaviour and usually arise during development under the influence of both genetics and environment. Asymmetries may confer advantages through increasing neural capacity and by reducing conflict between hemispheres, and it is likely that the nervous systems of all bilaterally symmetric animals are left-right asymmetric with respect to the processing of information and control of behaviour. In addition to asymmetry being a feature of normally functioning nervous systems, laterality defects are observed in some neurological conditions. Although an important feature of the nervous system, the developmental and genetic bases of brain asymmetries remain obscure. Professor Wilson will use developmental, genetic, imaging and behavioural approaches in zebrafish to address how asymmetries arise in development, how they are encoded in circuits and what their importance is for nervous system function, in order to gain a better understanding of the brain in health and disease states.