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Research Summary

Clonal Analysis of telencephalic progenitors across amniote species

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Fernando Garcia-Moreno

Human Frontier Science Program Fellow


Universidad Complutense de Madrid, B.S.; Universidad Autonoma de Madrid, Ph.D.

I am a Human Frontiers Science Program Long-Term Postdoctoral Fellow in the Molnár Laboratory.  My general research interest lies in the developmental and evolutionary biology of the cerebral cortex, with a special focus on the proliferation and migratory events that shaped the divergent vertebrate brains.

I obtained my Ph.D at the Cajal Institute in Madrid in the group of Professor Juan De Carlos, I worked on early telencephalic development with special attention to neuronal migration. I studied the first neuronal movements in the murine telencephalon in order to unravel the origin of various cell populations that contribute to the huge complexity and diversity of the brain. I employed conventional methods of developmental biology (culturing methods, immunohistochemistry, histology, birthdating neurons) and learned and developed new methods for gene delivery (electroporation, developmental assays).  

Supported by Alicia Koplowitz Foundation first and the Spanish Ministry of Science later I joined the Molnár’s Lab in Sept 2009, and since then I developed increasing interest in evolutionary developmental approaches applied to the understanding of the evolution of the mammalian brain. My main goal is to bring light in the developmental progressions responsible for the evolutionary change that gave rise to the mammalian neocortex. Since the telencephali of different amniote species are remarkably similar at early neurogenesis stages, the proliferation, migration and differentiation events are the latest responsible mechanisms that created forebrain diversity.

I currently hold a Human Frontiers Science Program Long-Term Postdoctoral Fellowship that has allowed me to develop CLoNe (Clonal Labeling of Neural progenitors), a promising technique for targeted clonal labelling on different species and telencephalic sectors. This novel method, which is based on (1) multifluorescence, (2) piggybac transposition and (3) targeted CRE expression, will help us to unravel at clonal level the interesting evolutionary events that ultimately originated the most exciting and intriguing organ on Earth: the human brain.

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