The study of the evolution of the brain across species provides a unique perspective on the sources of normal and pathological variability in the human brain – a major challenge for neurosciences today.
I propose a project to study the evolution of the vertebrate brain with unprecedented detail. I have a strong background in neuroimaging, computational neuroanatomy and the creation of platforms for real time collaboration in neuroimaging. During the last years I have worked on the analysis of the neuroanatomical development of the human brain and the evolution of primate brain folding, as well as in the development of Web tools to allow distributed collaboration among scientists. I propose to use this expertise to build the largest, open database of magnetic resonance imaging data of vertebrate brains. I will use state of the art computational neuroanatomy methods to build precise brain reconstructions and automatically extract a series of neuroanatomical measurements of regional brain volume, surface-based shape information and brain folding. In addition, I will develop new methods to capture the variability in shape and folding patterns using graph theory and deep learning algorithms. I will test different evolutionary scenarios using phylogenetic comparative methods, to estimate ancestral phenotypes, evolutionary changes, and the emergence of multivariate relationships across brain structures.
My project will be developed in collaboration between the Group of Theoretical and Applied Neuroanatomy at Institut Pasteur, the National Natural History Museum in Paris and the Institute of Biology of the École Normal Supérieur. This collaboration will provide the ideal framework for my project, combining the availability of one of the world’s largest vertebrate brain collections, with leading expertise in computational neuroanatomy and phylogenetic comparative methods, crucial for my future career goal of becoming a leading researcher in brain evolution.
Fields of science
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