Dr. Vasso Episkopou studied Biology at the University of Patras Greece, obtained her PhD in Genetics and Development from Columbia University, in New York, USA and
Established her own laboratory and research team in London in 1992.
She became Professor in Developmental Biology at Imperial College London, Faculty of Medicine and her laboratory is currently in the Division of Brain Sciences of Imperial. Dr Episkopou’s research interests focus on the functional characterization of genes and pathways involved in neural development and early embryonic patterning, as well as in associated diseases. Main model systems for her research are Embryonic Stem Cells, mouse genetic manipulations.
80 billion neurons form about 100 trillion connections that allow signals to travel and make us think, remember and behave. To understand how brains really work and what goes wrong in behavioural diseases we have to see the wires. and to be able to intervene we have to understand the molecular mechanisms and principles that rule connectivity. The circuits that control movement is the subject of my talk. Motor neurons are organised in the spinal cord at specific positions, which are instrumental in forming connections with dedicated muscles and for receiving precise sensory inputs. Intrinsic molecular programs assign motor pool position and muscle specificity. However, less is known about secreted factors from the periphery that coordinate connectivity. Here I will present evidence about the role of BMP signals.