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UCL Division of Biosciences

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Prof John Parnavelas

Prof John Parnavelas

Emeritus Professorial Research Fellow

Div of Biosciences

Faculty of Life Sciences

Joined UCL
1st Aug 2015

Research summary

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.

Publications