UCL Division of Biosciences


NPP Seminar - Dr Laura Andreae, King's College London

30 November 2022, 1:00 pm–2:00 pm

Laura Andreae

Title: Activity and noise: wiring the brain

Event Information

Open to

UCL staff | UCL students | UCL alumni




Charlette Bent-Gayle


G46 H O Schild Pharmacology LT,
Medical Sciences and Anatomy
Gower Street
United Kingdom

Academic Host: Gareth Morris

AbstractThe role of neuronal activity in the development of neurons and circuits remains controversial. Historically, activity has been seen to be critical for the sculpting of connectivity patterns after the period of synapse formation, often pruning unused synapses and helping to maintain or grow active ones. We now have evidence that a specific type of activity, spontaneous transmitter release, in the past often regarded as simply 'noise', plays a role in synapse formation and the development of dendritic morphology at early stages in the developmental period. Using both in vitro and in vivo approaches in mice to manipulate spontaneous transmitter release and the postsynaptic receptors that detect it, we show that these effects are connection specific in the developing hippocampal circuit. Many of the key synaptic proteins involved are known to be mutated in severe neurodevelopmental disorders, indicating how important these early roles may be in healthy brain development. 


About the Speaker

Dr Laura Andreae

Reader in Developmental Neuroscience at King's College London

My lab is interested in how synaptic connections and neuronal circuits are formed during development, and how these processes may be disrupted in neurodevelopmental disorders such as autism, epilepsy and schizophrenia. We use a variety of approaches, including electrophysiology and advanced imaging techniques, to investigate how neuronal activity regulates early synapse formation and to further our understanding of the mechanisms that lead to alterations in neural circuit development and function in genetic models of neurodevelopmental disorders. I also lead the PhD programme in the MRC Centre for Neurodevelopmental Disorders.

More about Dr Laura Andreae