Abstract: More than 200 million years ago, an embryo hatched to feed for the first time from its mother’s milky secretions. Today, we trace the history of our furry ancestors to elucidate the origin of the cerebral cortex, the main evolutionary innovation of the mammalian brain. What developmental events led to the evolution of the neocortex in mammals, but not in other vertebrates? How did the corpus callosum arise exclusively in eutherians, but not in monotremes and marsupials? How can marsupials help us better understand human brain development in health and disease? Here, I will cover some of our recent and ongoing efforts to elucidate these questions using a wide range of approaches in mice and in fat-tailed dunnarts, a marsupial experimental model of ex-utero brain development.

Biography: Dr. Suarez obtained his BS in Biology at the University of Chile, followed by a PhD in Biomedical Sciences (2010) with a thesis on the neuroethology and evolution of pheromone communication systems in mammals. In 2011, he relocated to the Queensland Brain Institute as a postdoctoral fellow in Prof. Linda Richards lab, where he established research on the development and evolution of the cerebral cortex. His expertise includes comparative neuroanatomy, developmental neurobiology, and evolutionary theory, in a research program aimed at establishing how do complex phenotypes arise during development, and how they diversify during evolution. His research has been funded by the NHMRC and the ARC, including a DECRA award in 2016, and by the Brain & Behavior Research Foundation (USA; NARSAD Young Investigators 2017). In 2019, he received the Cajal Club’s Krieg Kudos Cortical Explorer Award (USA) for the best contributions to cerebral cortex research by a mid-career scholar. He is currently a UQ Amplify Fellow with teaching contributions within SBMS and UQ’s School of Psychology.

About Research Seminar Series

UQ School of Biomedical Sciences Research Seminar Series

The School of Biomedical Sciences (SBMS) Research Seminar Series presents seminars by international and national researchers, local researchers, and postdocs.

Unless otherwise indicated, seminars are held  3.00 PM AEST every second Friday  01-E109  - Forgan Smith Building, Learning Theatre.