Mriganka Sur has made some of the most convincing demonstrations to date of the role of experience in wiring the developing brain. When he re-routed the optic nerve to the auditory cortex in newborn ferrets, the cells of the cortex organised themselves like visual neurons and began to respond to visual information.
The goal of Mriganka’s lab is to discover how far the genes direct connectivity in advance, and how far it is regulated by sensory inputs. His work shows that although genes specify a scaffold of distinct brain regions, the detailed wiring of the cortex depends on electrical activity stimulated by touch, vision, hearing and so on.
Mriganka has used high-resolution microscopy to investigate the molecular basis of cortical organisation. This has the potential to lead to treatments for brain damage or neurological disease: already one agent has reached clinical trials as a pharmacological treatment for children with a form of autism known as Rett’s syndrome.
Interest and expertise
Anatomy, physiology and neurosciences
Animal (especially mammalian) and human physiology and anatomy (non-clinical), Physiology incl biophysics of cells (non-clinical), Cellular neuroscience