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 Newly designed molecule binds nitrogen
23.02.2018 | Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg

nachricht Atomic Design by Water
23.02.2018 | Max-Planck-Institut für Eisenforschung GmbH

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Attoseconds break into atomic interior

A newly developed laser technology has enabled physicists in the Laboratory for Attosecond Physics (jointly run by LMU Munich and the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics) to generate attosecond bursts of high-energy photons of unprecedented intensity. This has made it possible to observe the interaction of multiple photons in a single such pulse with electrons in the inner orbital shell of an atom.

In order to observe the ultrafast electron motion in the inner shells of atoms with short light pulses, the pulses must not only be ultrashort, but very...

Im Focus: Good vibrations feel the force

A group of researchers led by Andrea Cavalleri at the Max Planck Institute for Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) in Hamburg has demonstrated a new method enabling precise measurements of the interatomic forces that hold crystalline solids together. The paper Probing the Interatomic Potential of Solids by Strong-Field Nonlinear Phononics, published online in Nature, explains how a terahertz-frequency laser pulse can drive very large deformations of the crystal.

By measuring the highly unusual atomic trajectories under extreme electromagnetic transients, the MPSD group could reconstruct how rigid the atomic bonds are...

Im Focus: Developing reliable quantum computers

International research team makes important step on the path to solving certification problems

Quantum computers may one day solve algorithmic problems which even the biggest supercomputers today can’t manage. But how do you test a quantum computer to...

Im Focus: In best circles: First integrated circuit from self-assembled polymer

For the first time, a team of researchers at the Max-Planck Institute (MPI) for Polymer Research in Mainz, Germany, has succeeded in making an integrated circuit (IC) from just a monolayer of a semiconducting polymer via a bottom-up, self-assembly approach.

In the self-assembly process, the semiconducting polymer arranges itself into an ordered monolayer in a transistor. The transistors are binary switches used...

Im Focus: Demonstration of a single molecule piezoelectric effect

Breakthrough provides a new concept of the design of molecular motors, sensors and electricity generators at nanoscale

Researchers from the Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry of the CAS (IOCB Prague), Institute of Physics of the CAS (IP CAS) and Palacký University...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

2nd International Conference on High Temperature Shape Memory Alloys (HTSMAs)

15.02.2018 | Event News

Aachen DC Grid Summit 2018

13.02.2018 | Event News

How Global Climate Policy Can Learn from the Energy Transition

12.02.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Basque researchers turn light upside down

23.02.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Finnish research group discovers a new immune system regulator

23.02.2018 | Health and Medicine

Attoseconds break into atomic interior

23.02.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>