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Research groups

Anna Hoerder-Suabedissen

DPhil, MSc, BSc

Departmental Lecturer

  • Postdoctoral Research Scientist

Research Interests

My research is focussed on early brain development, and in particular on the subplate layer, a partially transient structure separating the cortical grey matter from the underlying white matter. I have contributed significantly to identifying different cell types that comprise the subplate layer in rodents, using microarrays, RNAseq technology and transgenic mouse lines. We test the general usefulness of our “markers” in diverse species including embryonic human brain tissue, ferret, and sheep. Additionally, we’ve demonstrated that genes with enriched expression in the mouse subplate are significantly enriched for genes implicated in Autism or Schizophrenia, compared to other brain expressed genes. 

Currently, I am investigating the functional connectivity of the adult remnant of the subplate – layer 6b – using various anatomical tracing techniques. Layer 6b cells project to nearby and distant cortex – particularly layer I and other layer 6b cells, as well as to thalamus. Some layer 6b cells have topographical projections specifically to higher order thalamic nuclei, without synapsing in the thalamic reticular nucleus, which makes their projections quite distinct from the adjacent layer 6a.

A second strand of my research in brain development is the role of neuronal activity during brain development. Specifically, I use SNAP25 conditional knock-out in selected cell populations to abolish action-potential evoked neurotransmitter release, thereby largely ‘silencing’ the output of developing cortical neurons. This has consequences both at the circuit level, as well as for the viability of individual neurons and their axons, and surprisingly varied behavioural consequences depending on the particular cell population silenced.

Brief Biography

I was recently appointed a Departmental Lecturer in the Department of Physiology, Anatomy and Genetics, and have been a College Lecturer for Neuroscience at Trinity College since 2016, following a brief stint in a similar role at Keble. 

My post-doc research was mostly conducted in the laboratory of Zoltán Molnár, and more recently in that of Francis Szele. I completed my DPhil (PhD) as a Wellcome Trust funded Biological Sciences Scholar at St Hugh’s College (Oxford), under the joint supervision of Profs Ole Paulsen and Zoltán Molnár in 2007. I first came to Oxford for my MSc in Neuroscience in 2002, after completing my undergraduate degree in in Combined Sciences (Physiology, Genetics and Physics) at the University of Lancaster, UK. In between, I spent a year studying in the US at UC San Diego and a summer as Howard Hughes Undergraduate Research Fellow at the University of Pittsburgh in Prof Steve Meriney’s lab investigating calcium signalling at the frog neuromuscular junction.