Development of the cerebral cortex in health and disease
Director, Professor of Neuroscience
One of the major goals of neuroscience is to understand how brain function emerges through the assembly of specific neuronal circuits. In our laboratory, we aim to understand the logic begind the assembly of neural circuits in the cerebral cortex, the region of the brain that is responsible for cognition and complex behaviours.
The cerebal cortex consist of two main classes of neurons, excitatory pyramidal cells and inhibitory interneurons. The balance between excitation and inhibition is crucial for cortical function, and so multiple mechanisms are in place that mantains this dynamic equilibrium. In some circumstances, the balance between excitation and inhibition in the cortex is disrupted, causing neurological and psychiatric disorders. For example, severe alterations of the excitatory-inhibitory balance cause epilepsy, and more subtle perturbations may cause autism spectrum disorders and schizophrenia.
Our laboratory investigates the normal and pathological development of cortical circuits using the mouse as an animal models. We are taking a multidisciplinary approach that combines mouse genetics, cutting-edge imaging techniques, and cellular, molecular and electrophysiological methodologies, both in vitro and in vivo. Our research is funded by the Wellcome Trust and the European Research Council.
Shi Y, Wang M, Mi D, Lu T, Wang B, Dong H, Zhong S, Chen Y, Sun L, Zhou X, Ma Q, Liu Z, Wang W, Zhang J, Wu Q, Marín O, Wang X
(2021) Mouse and humans share conserved transcriptional programs for interneuron development
(2016) Developmental timing and critical windows for the treatment of psychiatric disorders.
Del Pino I, García-Frigola C, Dehorter N, Brotons-Mas JR, Alvarez-Salvado E, Martínez de Lagrán M, Ciceri G, Gabaldón MV, Moratal D, Dierssen M, Canals S, Marín O, Rico B
(2013) Erbb4 deletion from fast-spiking interneurons causes schizophrenia-like phenotypes.
(2012) Interneuron dysfunction in psychiatric disorders.
Nat Rev Neurosci