SWAMMERDAM LECTURE - Tuesday November 8th 2022 at 16:00
Prof. dr. Pierre Vanderhaeghen
Mechanisms Linking Development and Evolution of the Human Brain
Pierre Vanderhaeghen Lab,
Date / time
Tuesday November 8th 2022, 16:00-17:00
dr. Frank Jacobs
Swammerdam Institute for Life Sciences
The lecture is followed by a reception
The human cerebral cortex has undergone rapid expansion and complexification during recent evolution. One striking feature of human corticogenesis compared with other species is protracted timing, taking years instead of weeks in the mouse and months in the macaque. The resulting brain neoteny is thought to contribute in an important fashion to enhanced neural circuit complexity and plasticity, but the mechanisms have long remained completely unknown.
In vitro and xenotransplantation models indicate that many species-specific properties of corticogenesis, including developmental timing and neoteny, are largely intrinsic to cortical progenitors and neurons. The molecular mechanisms start to be understood, and include selective divergence in gene regulatory networks, the emergence of human-specific genes, but also species-specific features of mitochondria dynamics and metabolism. These newly discovered mechanisms shed light on human evolution and provide interesting links with brain diseases to which our species is particularly sensitive.
Pierre Vanderhaeghen will give a masterclass for ONWAR PhD candidates. More information will follow soon.