Professor Oscar Marín has been awarded a €2.5M grant by the European Research Council for research into the structure of a brain region called the cerebral cortex. Professor Marín, Director of the Centre for Developmental Neurobiology and MRC Centre for Neurodevelopmental Disorders at the IoPPN, said: ‘I am very happy that we managed to secure funding to support this project for the next five years. The ERC grant will allow us to explore the relationship between developmental mechanisms and the emergence of function in the cerebral cortex – I am thrilled that we can start soon.’ ERC Advanced Grants are designed to support excellent principal investigators at the career stage at which they are already established research leaders with a recognised track record of research achievements.
The Centre for Developmental Neurobiology has now a total of three ERC Awardees, and this is the second ERC Advanced Grant obtained by Professor Marín. The grant will support research that aims to understand developmental mechanisms behind the structure of the cerebral cortex, region of our brain that is responsible for complex functions such as learning and memory. The cerebral cortex is divided into discrete areas which are organised into six layers containing two major classes of neurons: pyramidal cells and interneurons. However, each area has distinctive functions and structural features. While the contribution of pyramidal neurons has been widely studied, interneurons have received little attention, and Professor Marín’s research will aim to understand how the distribution of interneurons plays a role in the functions of different areas of the cerebral cortex.