MSc student for project on studying development of the brain's spatial navigation system at Københavns Universitet

The purpose of this Master’s projectis to determine important genes that regulate the development of the entorhinal cortex (a part of the brain critical for processing spatial memory).

Project length: 6-12 months

Our lab has discovered that the entorhinal cortex in the brain develops differently from other regions of the brain. The 6 layered cortex develops not by the traditional inside-out pattern but by a two layered pattern instead. We wish to determine which genes might regulate this very unique pattern of growth.

Using fetal mouse brains, the student will produce organotypic brain slice cultures using an established protocol in the lab. The slices will be transduced with lentiviruses containing siRNA targeting knockdown of transcripton factors of interest to evaluate how these genes may regulate development of layers/neurons in this part of the brain.

Techniques learned:

Fetal mouse brain dissections

Production of organotypic brain slices

Short-term culture of organotypic brain slices

Production and transduction of lentiviral constructs

EdU-DNA tracing


Confocal microscopy

Data analysis of immunostained images

Expected outcomes:

We can identify at least one gene that plays a role in creating a two-layered rather than a six-layered brain in the entorhinal cortex.

The Group of Brain Development and Disease

Our group and research
The Group for Brain Development and Disease is an inclusive and diverse research group that is composed of local and international researchers of varying age and background. The group collaborates with leading experts in a variety of different fields (bioinformaticians, neuroanatomists and developmental biologists and imaging experts) both nationally and internationally. It is expected that all group members thrive on achieving excellence, are an active team member and respect their peers and colleagues, irrespective of their gender or background. The group leader is also director of a non-profit organization that addresses gender inequality issues in academia and this is high on the priority list for her own research group. The group’s values include, providing positive feedback, rewarding excellence, envision BIG if starting small, being passionate about research, that growth and learning is in our DNA and that it’s all about the people. The research group was established in 2017 and has over the last years focused on categorizing the developing entorhinal cortex using single cell RNA sequencing, bioinformatics, MRI, Diffusion Tensor Imaging and immunohistochemistry technologies. The group has discovered the genotypes of several cells within the entorhinal cortex and that the entorhinal cortex forms in a parallel pattern atypical of the inside out typical formation of the rest of the neocortex. The entorhinal cortex is the brain region in focus for the group, as it is “ground zero” for the emergence of Alzheimer’s disease pathology. Understanding the uniqueness and intricacies of this part of the brain is important for better understanding Alzheimer’s disease, which could lead to novel treatments in the future. For more info see the group’s research page:

Contact: (Associate Professor Vanessa Hall)

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