Cell and Developmental Biology


Prof John Parnavelas

Prof John Parnavelas


Department of Anatomy & Developmental Biology, UCL
Gower Street


  • Emeritus Professor of Neuroanatomy
    Div of Biosciences
    Faculty of Life Sciences
  • Professorial Research Associate
    Cell & Developmental Biology
    Div of Biosciences

Joined UCL


Work in our laboratory has, for many years, focused on the origin and migration of the neurons that make up the mammalian cerebral cortex. Two broad classes of neurons have been identified in the cortex: the excitatory pyramidal neurons and the inhibitory interneurons. Pyramidal cells are derived from the neuroepithelium of the cortical ventricular zone, whereas interneurons arise in the ganglionic eminence of the ventral telencephalon. Earlier studies identified the origin of interneurons and described their tortuous migratory routes into the developing cortex. Our current studies focus on the cell and molecular mechanisms that underlie each step of their journey.

Even though most of our efforts focus on interneuron migration in the cortex, we are also exploring the molecular mechanisms that guide the migration of Gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) neurons from their origin in the olfactory placode to the hypothalamus. The significance of our research programme lies with the opportunity to understand the mechanisms involved in neuronal migration in the brain and to shed light in the aetiologies of some of the migration disorders in humans.

Finally, we are exploring the role(s) of molecules involved in forebrain neuron migration (e.g., Robo receptors) in the development of the innervations of the heart.

Award year Qualification Institution
1975 PhD
Doctor of Philosophy
University of Rochester, New York
1973 MS
Master of Science
Biological Sciences
University of California - Irvine
1970 MS
Master of Science
Biomedical Engineering
University of Southern California
1968 BS
Bachelor of Science
University of California at Los Angeles


Autism and autistic spectrum disorders|*|Brain|*|Cell culture|*|Cell tracking|*|Connectivity|*|Cortical development|*|Development|*|Differentiation|*|Electron Microscopy|*|Epilepsy|*|Gene expression profiling - single cell|*|Gene expression profiling - tissue level|*|Genetic manipulation (including knockout/knockin)|*|Histology|*|Image analysis|*|Immunohistochemistry|*|Laser Capture|*|MiRNA analysis|*|Microarrays|*|Microdissection|*|Neocortex|*|Neuroanatomy|*|Neurogenesis|*|Proliferation|*|Time-lapse imaging|*|Transgenic mice