My laboratory is interested in understanding the cellular and molecular mechanisms governing the expansion of the cerebral cortex observed across mammalian evolution. The cerebral cortex is the largest structure in the brain and is responsible, among others, for the higher cognitive functions that distinguish humans from other mammals. The extraordinary growth in the size of the cerebral cortex observed across the mammalian evolutionary scale is thought to underlie the concomitant growth in intellectual capacity. This evolutionary expansion of the cerebral cortex is recapitulated during development in higher mammals, when the embryonic cerebral cortex undergoes massive growth in surface area, and folds itself in stereotypic patterns.
In recent years multiple genetic mutations have been identified as the leading cause for mental retardation or impairment of intellectual capacity in humans. These mutations have been consistently linked to defects of cortical development during embryogenesis, and functional studies in rodents have shown that these genes play essential roles in distinct aspects of cortical neurogenesis, neuron migration or cortical folding.
We are interested in the identification and analysis of the cellular and molecular mechanisms involved in the normal expansion and folding of the mammalian cerebral cortex. To study this we combine genetic tools (in vitro and in vivo electroporation, viral vectors, transgenic and knock-out mice), experimental embryology, state-of-the-art imaging techniques and standard histological, cellular and molecular biology methods, using various species as experimental models. Currently, our efforts are focused on understanding the role played by distinct types of Radial Glia progenitors in the tangential vs. radial expansion of the cerebral cortex, and the molecular mechanisms regulating these processes.
Please see also: http://in.umh.es/grupos-detalle.aspx?grupo=50
Stahl R., Walcher T., De Juan C., Pilz GA., Capello S., Irmler M., Sanz-Anquela JM., Beckers J., Blum R., Borrell V., Götz M. (2013) TRNP1 regulates expansion and folding of the mammalian cerebral cortex by control of radial glial fate. Cell ., 153 (3): 535-49.
Nonaka-Kinoshita M., Reillo I., Artegiani B., Martínez-Martínez MA., Nelson M., Borrell V., Calegari F. (2013) Regulation of cerebral cortex size and folding by expansion of basal progenitors. EMBO J. , 32 (13): 1817-28.
Borrell V., Cárdenas A., Garcia-Frigola C., Galcerán J., Flames N., Ciceri G., Pla R., Nóbrega S., Peregrín S., Ma L., Tessier-Lavigne M., Marín O. (2012) Slit/Robo signaling modulates the proliferation of central nervous system progenitors. Neuron. , 76 (2): 338-52.
Kelava I., Reillo I., Murayama A., Kalinka AT., Stenzel D., Tomancak P., Matsuzaki F., Lebrand C., Sasaki E., Schwamborn J., Okano H., Huttner WB., Borrell V. (2012) Abundant occurrence of basal radial glia in the subventricular zone of embryonic neocortex of a lissencephalic primate, the common marmoset Callithrix jacchus. C ereb Cortex , 22 (2): 469-81.
Reillo I., De Juan C., García-Cabezas MÁ., Borrell V. (2011) A role for intermediate radial glia in the tangential expansion of the mammalian cerebral cortex. Cereb Cortex, 21 (7): 1674-94.
2012 European Research Council Starting Grant
2007 HFSPO Career Development Award
2002 Extraordinary Prize of Doctoral Thesis, University of Barcelona
2001 HFSPO Postdoc grant (until 2004)
1997 PhD Grant CIRIT (Generalitat de Catalunya) (until 2000)
1996 PhD Grant Fundació Pedro i Pons
1994 Collaboration Grant CIRIT