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Wiring up the brain: How axons navigate

Prize lecture

Event video


18:30 - 19:30


The Royal Society, London, 6-9 Carlton House Terrace, London, SW1Y 5AG


Ferrier Prize Lecture 2017 given by Professor Christine Holt FMedSci FRS

Growth cone (tip of growing axon) showing polarised mRNA translation (red) nearest to signal gradient on right. Credit K-M Leung

The brain is made up of billions of nerve cells (neurons) that are wired together by axons and dendrites. The precision of this wiring allows us to accurately sense, interpret and interact with the outside world, which is crucial for survival. Many neurons are positioned far away from the targets so they face the formidable task of sending out an axon that must navigate correctly over a long distance to find its targets. This key step in wiring the brain, called axon guidance, occurs early in embryonic development mostly before birth in humans.

In this lecture, Professor Holt will describe work on how the eye makes its long-distance connections with the brain. She will discuss general mechanisms of guidance and the discovery that RNA-based mechanisms inside axons help to establish and maintain neural circuitry. 

This prize lecture will be webcast live and the video recording of the event will be available shortly after the event.

Attending the event

  • Free to attend
  • No registration required
  • Doors open from 18:00 and seats are allocated on a first-come, first-served basis
  • British Sign Language interpretation and live subtitles will be available at this event. Please let the events team know if you would like to use these facilities.
  • Travel and accessibility information is available here.

The award

The Ferrier Medal and Lecture is awarded triennially for distinguished contributions on the structure and function of the nervous system.

Professor Christine Holt FMedSci FRS was awarded the Ferrier Medal and Lecture 2017 for pioneering understanding of key molecular mechanisms involved in nerve growth, guidance and targeting which has revolutionised our knowledge of growing axon tips.

For all enquires, please contact the events team.

Wiring up the brain: How axons navigate

Ferrier Prize Lecture 2017 given by Professor Christine Holt FMedSci FRS

The Royal Society, London 6-9 Carlton House Terrace London SW1Y 5AG UK
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