CDB Seminars
All welcome


First Year CDB PhD Students: Mini Symposium

Tuesday 1 July, 1.30-4.10pm

Host: Yoshiyuki Yamamoto
Room 249, 2nd Floor, Medical Sciences Building
1.30pm  Lizzie Yates: "Messed up lysosomes: what’s their role in Parkinson’s disease?"

1.45pm  Francis Carpenter: “Neural Representations of Space in Connected, Perceptually Identical Compartments”

2.00pm  Chris Penny:  "The functional architecture of Two-Pore Channels" 

2.15pm  Amina Yonis: “The role of actin nucleators in the cellular actin cortex”

2.30pm  Lewis Brayshaw: ”Cadherin de-adhesion in cancer”

2.45pm  Agnieszka Piatkowska: “Mechanism of somite formation”

3.00pm  Interval

3.10pm  Alan Greig: “Pertussis vaccination and dysfunction of the blood brain barrier: an in vitro study”

3.25pm  Marina Teter: “The role of Wnt antagonists in synapse vulnerability”

3.40pm  Gauri Bhosale: “Investigating the mitochondrial permeability transition pore as a therapeutic target in human disease”

3.55pm  Lourdes Sri Raja: "Modelling Protein Signalling Pathways during Neutrophil Differentiation"


Thursday July 3rd, 12pm
Dr Shmuel Muallem, National Institutes of Health
Title: Lysosomal ion channels: form, function and dysfunction
Host: Prof Sandip Patel
Venue: Room 249, Medical Sciences Building

See all seminars

Find us on Facebook

Prof John Parnavelas

Neuronal migration in the forebrain

Lab Members | Contact Us | Publications


Research Interests

Parnavelas pic 1

Cortical Interneuron Migration

Work in our laboratory has, for many years, focused on the origin and migration of the neurons that make up the mammalian cerebral cortex.

The neocortex is the part of the brain involved in high-level cognitive functions and its expansion is regarded as a major evolutionary modification that led to the emergence of intelligence. These processes are achieved through circuits comprised of two classes of neurons organised in layers: excitatory pyramidal neurons and inhibitory interneurons. Perturbations in the development of these cortical circuits can lead to neurological disorders. Recent studies indicate a role for interneurons in the neuropathology and development of epilepsy, schizophrenia, autism and mental retardation. Thus, understanding the molecular mechanisms that control the generation and migration of interneurons and their roles in cortical function is of significant clinical relevance and therapeutic importance.

Our current studies focus on exploring the functions of molecules involved in forebrain interneuron migration, specifically several classes of chemorepulsive ligands and their receptors. Examples of such molecules include Slit-Robo and Semaphorin/Neuropilin-Plexin families as well as some of their downstream signalling partners (e.g. Limk2). We have also recently carried out microarray studies which identified candidate novel molecules that showed differential expression between dorsal and ventral forebrain, as well as between different cortical interneuron streams, suggesting these novel genes may play distinct roles in interneuron migration either within specific forebrain compartments or within distinct migratory streams. In our studies, we utilise transgenic mouse lines as well as loss- and gain-of-function approaches in brain slice and explant cultures.

Development of Cardiac Innervation

Parnavelas pic 2

In combination with the interneuron migration projects, we are also exploring the roles of some of the same molecules involved in forebrain neuron migration in the development of the innervation of the heart. This project focuses on the Slit-Robo signalling pathway, which is mainly known for its role in axon guidance.

The innervation is crucial for normal functioning of the heart, as it modulates cardiac activity by regulating the activity of the sinus and atrioventricular nodes, conduction of the cardiac impulse and the strength of atrial and ventricular contraction. Sympathetic nerves are responsible for increase of the heart rate and force of contraction, whereas parasympathetic nerves achieve the opposite effect. Cardiac innervation density is altered in congenital heart disease, heart failure, diabetic neuropathy and myocardial ischemia. Despite the severity of these diseases, knowledge about the developmental and regulatory mechanisms underlying decisions for guiding nerves to specific parts of the heart is still limited.

Our project focuses on how the different ligands and receptors of the Slit-Robo signalling pathway tightly control which nerves are allowed to enter the heart during embryonic development.

Lab members

Parnavelas Lab Members


Lab 538-540
Department of Cell and Developmental Biology 
University College London
Rockefeller Building
21 University Street
United Kingdom

Tel. Prof. Parnavelas: +44-20-3108-2204

Tel. lab: +44-20-3108-2426

Map of our location


Page last modified on 16 apr 13 13:22 by Sonja Van Praag