Embryo brains make a developmental transition from a loose network of spontaneously-active cell groups to an organ that functions in a large-scale, highly-integrated and coordinated fashion. When in development do brains first start functioning in a “brain-like” fashion? The molecular, cellular and circuit mechanisms underlying this transition remain unknown. What mechanisms mediate the first onset of integrated, systems-like activity in the brain?
Using a combination of in-vivo molecular brain imaging, EEG and brain temperature recording with the classic chick embryo experimental system we hope reliably describe and phenotype the brain states of embryos in a precise way.
Making use this information in experimental paradigms will further advance scientific understanding of the developmental origins of sleep, waking, brain rhythms and other integrated aspects of systems function in higher vertebrate animals.
Curr Biol. 2012 May 22;22(10):852-61. doi: 10.1016/j.cub.2012.03.030