Development and maturation of the cerebral cortex

The primary focus of the group is the development and maturation of the cerebral cortex of primates and other mammals.  The adult cerebral cortex is formed as a mosaic of interconnected areas, but how the multiple of areas emerge seamlessly during ontogenesis and establish connections with other brain areas has yet to be determined.  

In order to address these issues, the laboratory has been focussing on the development of the visual cortex, which includes areas that are responsible for visual perception and visual guidance of behaviour.  

Understanding the early development of this important region will elucidate mechanisms that are relevant not only for understanding normal brain function, but also for clarifying the functional bases of disturbances of visual perception that emerge as a consequence of perinatal lesions (eg those associated with premature delivery, complications during labour, childhood accidents), abnormal visual experience in childhood, and neurological diseases.

A/Professor James Bourne completed his undergraduate degree at Imperial College of Science Technology and Medicine, London and his PhD in Neuropharmacology at King’s College, London, before moving to Australia to undertake a Postdoctoral position. In 2003 he was awarded an ARC Australian Postdoctoral Fellowship, then in 2007 an NHMRC RD Wright (CDA II). In the same year he also received an NHMRC Award for Excellence in Health and Medical Research.  A/Professor Bourne now has his own group in the newly established Australian Regenerative Medicine Institute focussing on the development and repair of the mammalian visual cortex; looking at this from the cell through to the system.