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My research focus is on the cerebral cortical development. It seeks to decipher how cerebral cortical neural cell fates are determined (with special attention in the earliest generated cells in the subplate and in the large pyramidal cells of layer 5), and how development of cortical functional specialisation (arealization) is determined by genetic and environmental factors. The arealization of the mammalian cortex is controlled by a combination of intrinsic factors that are expressed within or near the cortex, and external signals, some of which are mediated through thalamic input. Members of my research group study the generation of cortical neurons and development of the cortical connectivity in this context.
I obtained my M.D. at the Albert Szent-Györgyi Medical University, Szeged, Hungary where I studied physiology from Professor George Benedek and started my residency in Neurological Surgery in the institute of Professor Mihaly Bodosi until I moved to Oxford in 1989. I obtained my D.Phil. at the University Laboratory of Physiology in the laboratory of Professor Colin Blakemore FRS studying the “Multiple mechanisms in the establishment of thalamocortical innervation”. I continued my work on cerebral cortical development at Oxford as an MRC training fellow and Junior Research Fellow at Merton College. I also investigated thalamocortical development working with Professor Egbert Welker at the Institut de Biologie Cellulaire et de Morphologie, Université de Lausanne, Switzerland, and learned optical recording techniques to understand early functional thalamocortical interactions in the laboratory of Professor Keisuke Toyama at Kyoto Prefectural School of Medicine, Japan. I was appointed to a University Lecturer position at the Department of Human Anatomy and Genetics associated with a Tutorship at St John's College, Oxford from 2000. I was awarded the title Professor of Developmental Neuroscience in 2007 and appointed to Deputy Head of Department in 2013.
Most of my research funding comes from Medical Research Council UK (Program Grant); Wellcome Trust (Program Grant) BBSRC (Project Grant), with postdoctoral fellowship support from HFSP, EU and with graduate studentship funding from the The Wellcome Trust, MRC, Felix Scholarship, Goodger Scholarship, Rhodes Scholarship. I also receive support for our history projects History of Medical Sciences from The Wellcome Trust and from FENS.
I am the current Head of the Cellular Neuroscience Cluster in our department and member of the Neuroscience Management Board, University of Oxford. I have been senior sponsor of the Oxford Cortex Club since its establishment in 2009. I have been section editor of European Journal of Neuroscience in the past, and currently I am on the Editorial Boards of Cerebral Cortex, Brain Structure and Function, Frontiers in Neurogenesis, Frontiers in Neuroanatomy.
My departmental teaching contributes to the pre-clinical training of medical and biomedical students. I give lectures and seminars in the 1st BM course mainly in the field of neurosciences; on the anatomy and development of the human central nervous system. Since 2000, I have been organizing the neuroanatomy practical classes for 2nd year medical students and contributing with more specialized lectures and seminars for the FHS (3rd year medical students) and M.Sc. Degree in Neuroscience Course. I also teach on the Principles of Clinical Anatomy Course for 3rd year medics. I have been representing Neuroscience in the Departmental Teaching Committee since 2009. I was awarded the Medical Sciences Teaching Excellence Award in 2010.