University of Oxford, United Kingdom
The brain is composed of a multitude of neuronal cell types that assemble into functional circuits. In mammals, and particularly in humans, the neocortex is the centre of higher cognitive functions and hosts some of the most complex and poorly elucidated neuronal circuits. Understanding how these diverse neocortical cell types are generated and how they wire up during development is essential to crack the neural code and to design strategies to repair damage to the brain.
Recent studies, including my own, have used novel sequencing approaches to classify neocortical neurons and their progenitors based on their gene expression profiles. I will leverage these single-cell gene expression signatures to identify the gene networks and biological pathways that drive neuronal diversification and shape assembly of the cortical circuit.
This work will help design novel cell reprogramming and replacement strategies to treat brain disorders.