As part of the WIN Global Scholars (WINGS) symposium we welcome Roberto Toro of the Applied and Theoretical Neuroanatomy Laboratory, Institut Pasteur.
Role of mechanical morphogenesis on brain development and evolution
A growing brain is a complex dynamical, bio-mechanical system. As such, it is possible that shapes are strongly constrained by mechanical instabilities, similar to those that sculpt snowflakes and mountains. I will present our efforts to understand the role that mechanical morphogenetic processes play in the development and evolution of the brain. For this, we use biomechanical models grounded in the physics of soft matter, as well as a large variety of vertebrate species. Our main animal model for the study of brain development is the ferret, for which we have collected a large database of MRI and histological data. Our comparative studies are based on MRI and histological data for more than 250 vertebrate species, including more than 70 primate species. Working with this unusual dataset requires open science and collaboration, and I will show the tools and methods we are developing for this.