Seminar: Prof. Shubha Tole, Monday October 6, 12h15 @ Petit Auditoire, Rue du Bugnon 9, 1005 Lausanne

Organized by the Departments of Fundamental Neuroscience (DNF), Clinical Neurosciences (DNC) and the Centre for Psychiatric Neuroscience (CNP, Dept. Psychiatry) to stimulate

basic and clinical neuroscience exchanges

We have the pleasure to invite you to the following seminar:

“Regulation of patterning, cell fate specification, and neurocircuitry in the developing brain”

Prof. Shubha Tole
Dept. Biological Sciences, Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, Mumbai

Monday, October 6th 2014, 12h15
Petit Auditoire, Rue du Bugnon 9, 1005 Lausanne

Invited by Jean-Pierre.Hornung & Ron.Stoop (

Abstract: The cerebral cortex, the seat of our highest cognitive and perceptual functions, arises from a simple sheet of neuroepithelial tissue. Creating this structure poses an extraordinary developmental challenge. Transcription factor Lhx2 plays a fundamental role, acting as a selector gene for cortical fate. Lhx2-null cells cannot become cortex, but instead differentiate into an adjacent type of tissue, the hem, that functions as a signaling center in the brain. Using wild-type and Lhx2-null embryonic stem cell chimeras, we created embryos with ectopic hems, each of which patterned the adjacent cortex into an ectopic hippocampus. These results provide insight not only into how cortical fate is specified, but also into how specific cortical structures are positioned in the brain by the action of organizing centers.
Lhx2 plays additional spatio-temporally distinct roles in the developing brain. After the critical period for its cortical selector function has ended, it plays a necessary and sufficient role in regulating the neuron-glia cell fate switch in the hippocampus. In the neocortex, it regulates neurocircuitry in the somatosensory cortex, such that the barrels do not form in the absence of cortical Lhx2 function. Lhx2 is therefore a central regulator of cortical development, with multiple roles at fundamental steps – patterning cell fate specification, and the formation of neurocircuitry.

Biosketch: Prof. Shubha Tole received a BSc in Life Sciences and Biochemistry from St. Xavier’s College, Mumbai (1987), and an MS and PhD from California Institute of Technology (1994). She was a post-doctoral researcher at the University of Chicago until 1999, when she joined the faculty of the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, Mumbai, India.  Prof. Tole is a recipient of the Research Award for Innovation in Neurosciences by the Society for Neuroscience; the Bhatnagar prize, considered to be India’s highest honor; the Government of India’s National Woman Bioscientist award; and a Wellcome Trust Senior International Fellowship. Prof. Tole actively engages in public outreach, teaches science communication, and blogs on the, an information portal for bioscience research in India. She is a very engaging speaker who is able to render complicated courses of the developing brain enjoyable and easy to understand !

Selected publications
Shetty AS et al. (2013) Lhx2 regulates a cortex-specific mechanism for barrel formationPNAS 110:E4913, 2013.
Subramanian L et al. (2011)  Lhx2 is necessary and sufficient for regulating the neuron-asrocyte cell fate decision in the developing hippocampus. PNAS 108: E265.
Mangale VS, et al. (2008) Lhx2 selector activity specifies cortical identity and suppresses hippocampal organizer fate. Science 319: 304