Human brain development, evolution and neurodevelopmental diseases

The neocortex, the seat of our higher cognitive abilities, has expanded in size during the evolution of human. Our group is aiming to answer the long-lasting question: How our brains got bigger? Tackling this question will also add a significant clinical value by understanding the novel and relevant aspect to etiology of neurodevelopmental diseases.

Our primary interest is neural progenitor cells (NPCs) in the developing neocortex. We are trying to understand how proliferation and differentiation of NPCs are regulated from the aspect of NPC metabolism. We use mouse neocortex and human cerebral organoid as well as human neocortical tissues, and multiple omics including metabolomics, proteomics and transcriptomics to analyze the impact of cell metabolism on NPC proliferative capacity.

Neurodevelopmental diseases have life-long effects in the patient’s quality of life, and until now, the patients have been treated only symptomatically. Lack of causal therapy causes a high impact on healthcare systems, economic development and society. Our group will provide new insights about the etiology of neurodevelopmental diseases, which ultimately lead to a development of diagnostic tools and preventive care.