The brain begins to form during embryogenesis, but undergoes a protracted period of development that lasts into adulthood. Our work is aimed at understanding how the environment moulds the construction and reconfiguration of neuronal circuits to allow them to effectively process and respond to external stimuli throughout development. The goal is to unravel how the interplay between electrical activity and genetic programs controls the assembly and plasticity of cortical circuits that are involved in processing and gating sensory information. To achieve this, we utilize a multi-dimensional approach that includes molecular, genetic and functional methods. It is our hope that this research will not only provide insights into the making of the healthy brain, but also into neurodevelopmental brain pathologies resulting from aberrant circuit wiring.
Theofanis Karayannis is an Associate Professor of Neuroscience and Co-Director of the Brain Research Institute. He studied Pharmacy at the University of Athens, Greece and carried out his D.Phil. thesis on cortical interneurons at the MRC Anatomical Neuropharmacology Unit of the University of Oxford, UK. As a postdoctoral fellow in the laboratory of Gord Fishell at New York University Medical Center, USA, he worked on the synaptic integration of interneurons in the developing cortical circuit and on neurodevelopmental disorders. He is a recipient of a NARSAD award and an ERC Starting Grant.