The inaugural issue

neuroDEVELOPMENTS is a quarterly newsletter focused on the latest advances in developmental neuroscience, and their wider implications. The world of developmental neurobiology is an exploding area of scientific discovery, with far reaching implications for our understanding of nervous system disorders. The Lieber Institute for Brain Development and the Maltz Research Laboratories, which sponsor neuroDEVELOPMENTS, is committed to informing the scientific and clinical communities about progress in this area of research, which can be difficult to understand and put in clinical perspective. To achieve this, we have assembled an outstanding editorial board of leaders in developmental neurobiology and clinical translation, and neuroDEVELOPMENTS will be free of commercial advertising. This first issue is dedicated to a super-hot topic in developmental biology research — brain organoids – the pea-sized collection of neurons in a dish that have captured an out-sized amount of attention among scientists and the lay public.

Since Cajal, Golgi, and Retzius we have known that the nervous system is composed of an amazing variety of neurons with distinct morphologies and functions. Over the early decades of the 20th century, experiments in flies, amphibia, and mammals showed that early events constrain neuron structure and function as they first emerge from a developmentally plastic, immature precursor cell. Technical advance at the molecular level is dramatically accelerating our understanding of neuronal diversity, at the cellular level it provides powerful new systems to generate and functionally analyze specific neurons, and at the systems level it is leading to insight into neuronal diversity in healthy and dysfunctional neural tissue.

In this inaugural issue of neuroDEVELOPMENTS, we summarize two papers about brain organoids, chosen because they illustrate the promise of this rapidly expanding research area. The first paper shows that organoids can generate a comprehensive array of functional versions of different human brain cells (Quadrato et al., 2017). The second paper shows organoid approaches will have a profound effect on our understanding of the origin of many nervous system disorders (Mariani et al., 2015). Within the summaries, you will find commentary from our board of editors, many of whom work directly with these brain models.

-Ron McKay, PhD, Chief Editor
Lieber Institute for Brain Development

-Venkata S. Mattay, MD
Managing Editor

-Michele Solis, PhD
Science Writer

neuroDEVELOPMENTS Issue 1

Editorial Board

Fred ‘Rusty’ Gage, PhD
President, The Salk Institute for Biological Studies

Daniel Geschwind, MD, PhD
Professor, UCLA School of Medicine

Yukiko Gotoh, PhD
Professor, University of Tokyo

Elizabeth Grove, PhD
Professor, University of Chicago

Jürgen Knoblich, PhD
Interim Scientific Director, Institute of Molecular Biotechnology, Austrian Academy of Sciences

Arnold Kriegstein, MD
Professor, UCSF

Pat Levitt, PhD
Professor, Keck School of Medicine of USC

Mu-Ming Poo, PhD
Director, Institute of Neuroscience, Chinese Academy of Sciences

John Rubenstein, MD, PhD
Professor of Psychiatry, UCSF

Nenad Sestan, MD, PhD
Professor, Yale University

Chris Walsh, MD, PhD
Chief, Division of Genetics & Genomics, Boston Children’s Hospital

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