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Theil Group

The human cerebral cortex is one of the most complex biological structures consisting of an enormous number of neuronal subtypes. This diversity underlies its ability to perform highly complex neural tasks and confers humans with their unique cognitive capabilities. How this enormous complexity develops constitutes a major challenge in developmental neurobiology. Current models suggest that early cortical development depends on the interplay between transcription factors and signalling molecules each of which regulate large gene sets. Through multiple feedback mechanisms these genes are considered to form gene regulatory networks (GRNs) but the identity of these GRNs remains elusive. We follow a complementary molecular and systems biology approach to systematically identify and characterize such cortical GRNs. This procedure will allow us to decipher how signalling and transcription factor dependent GRNs co-ordinate the formation of the cerebral cortex.