Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

EURYI project to understand how the brain is wired during embryogenesis

24.09.2007
One of the great questions of neurobiology, how the brain is built up during embryonic development, could be resolved by a young French scientist in an award winning project organised by the European Science Foundation (ESF) and the European Heads of Research Councils (EuroHORCS).

Sonia Garel has won one of the prestigious EURYI Awards granted annually to young scientists, to pursue her ground breaking research into mammalian forebrain development. She will tackle a number of fundamental questions relating both to the wiring of the brain during growth, and how evolution drove forward the sophisticated neural circuitry associated with mammals.

Garel will focus on two key processes involved in development of neural circuitry in the forebrains of young mammals as they grow. One of these processes concerns the formation of connections between neurons, the nerve cells of the brain. These connections are needed to process sensory information, execute motor functions, and provide the network for cognitive abilities. They are made up of nerve fibres called axons, which conduct electrical impulses between neurons. The other key process involves migration of brain cells to their correct positions after their manufacture. As Garel noted, these two processes are coordinated in the development of the mammalian brain, and yet have until now been studied separately for the sake of simplicity. Garel and her colleagues have already broken new ground by demonstrating the link between axon formation, and migration of cells, within the brain.

“While axon guidance and cell migration have been usually studied as independent processes, our group has shown for the first time that they are elegantly coordinated to ensure the formation of a major long-range connection of the mammalian brain, the thalamocortical projection,” said Garel. The thalamocortical projection is one of the significant evolutionary developments of the forebrain, comprising bundles of axonal connections linking two key centres, the thalamus, which relays external sensory information, and the cerebral cortex, the most highly developed region comprising the so-called grey matter.

The thalamocortical projections, that first appeared in reptiles, have been remodelled in rodents and in primates, and are therefore of great interest in the study of neurological evolution. This phase of accelerated changes in connections correlates with an increase in cell migration in the brain. But there was a price to pay for this sophistication in the form of disorders associated with neurological dysfunctions, which particularly afflict humans. Garel hopes that her work will also advance understanding of some of these disorders, which can arise through defects both in the network of axonal connections and in the process of cell migration.

“Understanding how neural circuits are elaborated during mammalian forebrain development is essential to gain insights into its normal functioning and to make progress in our comprehension of neurological and psychiatric disorders,” said Garel. But malfunctions in cell migration can be just as harmful. “During development, cell migration is essential to control the positioning of cells in the brain, and cell migration defects have been associated with several neuropsychiatry diseases such as epilepsy, schizophrenia or bipolar disorders,” said Garel.

Garel will conduct her research in mice, aiming to improve understanding of how cell migration and axonal circuit development fit together. “We have showed that, in mice embryos, migrating cells act as dynamic guideposts to guide growing axons towards their final target in the brain,” said Garel. “Our study thus opens a novel perspective of the role of cell migration in the formation of brain connections during normal and pathological development.”

The EURYI awards scheme, entering its fourth and final year, is designed to attract outstanding young scientists from around the world to create their own research teams at European research centres and launch potential world-leading research careers. Most awards are between €1,000,000 and €1,250,000, comparable in size to the Nobel Prize. Garel will receive her award in Helsinki, Finland on 27 September 2007 with other 19 young researchers.

Sonia Garel, 35 year-old French citizen, is an independent young investigator at Paris’ Ecole Normale Supérieur, studying forebrain regionalisation and formation of thalamocortical projections.

Dr. Garel gained her doctorate in molecular and cellular pharmacology at the University of Paris VI, which she followed by a post-doctoral stay at the University of California in San Francisco. She came back to France in 2003 and was selected for a career development award from the Human Frontier Science Program Organisation. She has been a regular contributor to journals such as Development.

Thomas Lau | alfa
Further information:
http://www.esf.org
http://www.esf.org/activities/euryi/awards/2007/sonia-garel.html

Further reports about: Axon Brain Development EURYI Migration Young forebrain formation mammalian thalamocortical

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Cryo-electron microscopy achieves unprecedented resolution using new computational methods
24.03.2017 | DOE/Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

nachricht How cheetahs stay fit and healthy
24.03.2017 | Forschungsverbund Berlin e.V.

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Giant Magnetic Fields in the Universe

Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.

The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.

Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...

Im Focus: Tracing down linear ubiquitination

Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.

Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...

Im Focus: Perovskite edges can be tuned for optoelectronic performance

Layered 2D material improves efficiency for solar cells and LEDs

In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...

Im Focus: Polymer-coated silicon nanosheets as alternative to graphene: A perfect team for nanoelectronics

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...

Im Focus: Researchers Imitate Molecular Crowding in Cells

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

International Land Use Symposium ILUS 2017: Call for Abstracts and Registration open

20.03.2017 | Event News

CONNECT 2017: International congress on connective tissue

14.03.2017 | Event News

ICTM Conference: Turbine Construction between Big Data and Additive Manufacturing

07.03.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Argon is not the 'dope' for metallic hydrogen

24.03.2017 | Materials Sciences

Astronomers find unexpected, dust-obscured star formation in distant galaxy

24.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Gravitational wave kicks monster black hole out of galactic core

24.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>