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Rosalind Franklin Award Lecture

By Dr Andrea Brand,University of Cambridge 

One of the goals of research in neurobiology is the repair and regeneration of neurons after damage to the brain or spinal cord. Before we can understand how to repair the nervous system we must first learn how the nervous system is put together.

Of all the tissues and organs in the human body the nervous system is the most intricate and complex, consisting of more than 1012 neurons. These neurons make precise connections with each other to form functional networks that can transmit information at amazing speed over considerable distances. By identifying the genes that specify the characteristic behaviours of each of the different cell types in the nervous system, it should become possible to manipulate them to induce stem cells to become neurons at will, or induce neurons to regenerate.
Dr Andrea Brand is the winner of the Royal Society Rosalind Franklin Award 2006. The funding for this Award is donated by the Department of Trade and Industry.