The neural circuits underlying the formation of functional networks in the cerebral cortex constitute one of the most complex physical systems in the World. Much of this complexity arises during development through the interaction of two distinct neuronal types, glutamatergic projection neurons and gamma-aminobutyric containing (GABAergic) interneurons.
Recently, interneuron dysfunction has been associated with severe neurological and psychiatric disorders (e.g. epilepsy, schizophrenia and bipolar disorder). In order to achieve true progress in the understanding of cortical development and of neurological diseases associated with cortical dysfunction, a complete account of the development of its neuronal constituents is essential.
In that sense, despite the detailed picture that is emerging about the development of cortical projection neurons, the mechanisms underlying the development of interneurons in the cerebral cortex have remained poorly defined. The general goal of this project is to obtain a comprehensive definition of the cellular and molecular mechanisms controlling the development of cortical interneurons.
To reach this aim, I propose to take a multidisciplinary approach by combining mouse genetics, novel genomic applications, cutting-edge imaging techniques, and conventional cellular and molecular biology methodologies. In addition, I will develop new genetic tools to engineer developmental models of cortical disorders involving interneuron deficiency.
Thus, successful execution of the project will result in:
- New knowledge of the mechanisms underlying the specification, migration and differentiation of cortical interneurons, and
- Generation of new developmental models of cortical disorders resulting from interneuron deficiency.
Call for proposal
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