Silvia Cappello: Developmental Neurobiology
Introducing Silvia Cappello and her independent Max Planck Research Group
With the new independent Max Planck Research Group “Developmental Neurobiology” headed by Silvia Cappello, the Max Planck Institute of Psychiatry in Munich welcomes the third outstanding start-up scientific group in 2015. The new group will investigate brain malformations in early development using mouse models, human cell cultures and induced pluripotent stem cells. This will allow them to explore new avenues and combine knowledge in developmental neurobiology with the institute’s focus on psychiatric disorders which have been recently suggested to have a developmental origin.
Silvia Cappello studied biotechnology at the University of Bologna in Italy. Her PhD thesis concentrated on synaptic plasticity and brain development. She carried out her PhD in Marco Canossa’s lab of Cellular Pharmacology at the University of Bologna and in Magdalena Götz’s labs of Stem Cell Research at the Max Planck Institute of Neurobiology in Martinsried and the Helmholtz Center Munich. She then went on to work in Richard Vallee’s lab of Cell Biology as postdoctoral fellow at the Columbia University in New York (USA). For the fellowship, she investigated the genetic basis of “smooth brain” disease. She then returned to Magdalena Götz’s lab at the Helmholtz Center in Munich as research associate. There she studied cellular mechanisms regulating neuronal migration in the developing brain.
In April 2015, Silvia Cappello starts up her independent Max Planck Research Group “Developmental Neurobiology” at the Max Planck Institute of Psychiatry in Munich. She will continue to look into the molecular and cellular mechanisms underlying brain malformations. She aims to identify responsible genes from patients and generate and investigate mouse and cell culture models. This will include induced pluripotent stem cells that will closely mimick human diseases. “This way we will be able to screen for several candidate genes identified from human patients and assemble a network of genes and possibly pathways responsible for brain malformations,” states Silvia Cappello. “The final goal is to identify strategies for therapeutic approaches and to develop an early stage genetic screening test.”