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Past Meetings

Cortical Evolution June 21-23, 2023 – Burgos, Spain Organizers: Verónica Martínez-Cerdeño, Emiliano Bruner, & Stephen Noctor.  Scientific Committee: Verónica Martínez-Cerdeño, Emiliana Bruner, Stephen Noctor, Zolán Molnár, & Chet Sherwood.

Black Sea Neurogenesis-2023, Varna, Bulgaria 01-03 June 2023 Organizer: Anton B. Tonchev, Medical University – Varna, Bulgaria, Programme Advisor – Wieland Huttner, Dresden, Germany. 

Cortical Development, Neural Stem Cells to Neural Circuits

Milazzo, Sicily, Italy, May 29th-June 3rd, 2022

23nd Biennial Meeting of the International Society of Developmental Neuroscience 

Vancouver Convention Centre, Canada May 6th-10th, 2022.

7th Croatian Neuroscience Congress

Zadar, 12-15 September, 2019

Molecular mechanisms underlying species-specific neuronal circuits - Japan Neuroscience Society (Neuro 2019)

25-28 July, 2019

European Conference on Comparative Neurobiology (ECCN) 

Murcia (Spain), 24-26 April, 2019

Cortex Evolution and Development, FENS Brain Conference

Moltkes Palæ, Copenhagen, Denmark, 24-27 September, 2017

Cortical Development Conference

Chania, Greece, 18-21 May, 2017

The 14th UK-Korea Neuroscience SymposiumMagdalen College, Oxford 15-16th August, 2023  

16th International Congress of the Polish Neuroscience Society20-23 September 2023, Toruń, Poland

Upcoming Conferences

6th Suna Kıraç Conference on Neurodegeneration, Istanbul, Turkey 19 – 21 October, 2023

Brain health summit Rome, Italy 24-25th November 

Cortical Layer with No Known Function

Given at the 20th TMIMS international Symposium held at Tokyo Metropolitan Institute of Medical Science, July 2019

Zoltan Molnar

MD DPhil

Professor of Developmental Neuroscience

My research focus is on the cerebral cortical development.  It seeks to decipher how cerebral cortical neural cell fates are determined (with special attention in the earliest generated cells in the subplate and in the large pyramidal cells of layer 5), and how development of cortical functional specialisation (arealization) is determined by genetic and environmental factors.  The arealization of the mammalian cortex is controlled by a combination of intrinsic factors that are expressed within or near the cortex, and external signals, some of which are mediated through thalamic input. Members of my research group study the generation of cortical neurons and development of the cortical connectivity in this context. 

I obtained my M.D. (summa cum laude) at the Albert Szent-Györgyi Medical University, Szeged, Hungary where I studied physiology from Professor George Benedek and started my residency in Neurological Surgery in the institute of Professor Mihaly Bodosi until I moved to Oxford in 1989. I obtained my D.Phil. at the University Laboratory of Physiology in the laboratory of Professor Colin Blakemore FRS studying the “Multiple mechanisms in the establishment of thalamocortical innervation”(thesis awarded the Biennial Rolleston Memorial Prize of Oxford and Cambridge Universities for 1994-1995). I continued my work on cerebral cortical development at Oxford as an MRC training fellow and Junior Research Fellow at Merton College. I also investigated thalamocortical development working with Professor Egbert Welker at the Institut de Biologie Cellulaire et de Morphologie, Université de Lausanne, Switzerland, and learned optical recording techniques to understand early functional thalamocortical interactions in the laboratory of Professor Keisuke Toyama at Kyoto Prefectural School of Medicine, Japan.  I was appointed to a University Lecturer position at the Department of Human Anatomy and Genetics associated with a Tutorship at St John's College, Oxford from 2000. I was awarded the title Professor of Developmental Neuroscience in 2007. Previously I served as Director of Graduate Studies (2001-3) and Deputy Head of Department (2013-4). I am associated to Charité-Universitätsmedizin Berlin (Host Prof Britta Eickholt) as Einstein Visiting Fellow (2020-2024). 

Most of my research funding comes from Medical Research Council UK with additional fellowships and graduate studentships from Anatomical Society, HFSP, Wellcome Trust, ERC Felix Scholarship, Goodger Scholarship, Rhodes Scholarship. I received support for our history projects History of Medical Sciences from The Wellcome Trust and from FENS.  I serve on the FENS History Committee.

I am member of the MSC in Neuroscience Organising Committee. I have been senior sponsor of the Oxford Cortex Club since its establishment in 2009. I have been section editor of European Journal of Neuroscience in the past, and currently I am on the Editorial Boards of Cerebral Cortex, Progress in Neurobiology, Journal of Comparative Neurology, Journal of Anatomy, Brain Structure and Function, Frontiers in Neurogenesis and Frontiers in Neuroanatomy.  I previously served on the Medical Research Council Neuroscience and Mental Health Board and on the Council of the Anatomical Society.

I am very enthusiastic about medical education. My departmental teaching contributes to the pre-clinical training of medical and biomedical students. I give lectures and seminars in the 1st BM course mainly in the field of neurosciences; on the anatomy and development of the human central nervous system. Since 2000, I have been organizing the neuroanatomy practical classes for 2nd year medical students and contributing with more specialized lectures and seminars for the FHS (3rd year medical students) and M.Sc. Degree in Neuroscience Course. I also teach on the Principles of Clinical Anatomy Course for 3rd year medics. I have been representing Neuroscience in the Departmental Teaching Committee since 2009.  I was awarded the Medical Sciences Teaching Excellence Award in 2010.

Is brain-building a tricky business?

Video produced for Brain Diaries, an exhibition held at Oxford University Museum of Natural History

Cerebral cortical development

History of Neuroscience

Key publications

Recent publications

Neural migration


Brain Evolution

Thalamocortical development