The FWO Odysseus programme aims to encourage excellent researchers who have built up a career outside Flanders, to come and work in Flanders. Within the Odysseus programme, the FWO provides top researchers with start-up funding for 5 years in order to develop a research group or set up a research line within a Flemish university, with the university offering them a position within the institution.
Out of 102 eligible applications, the Odysseus jury decided to select a total of 13 awardees, including the research project of Lynette Lim, on the identification of metabolic states that drive interneuron diversification and cortical circuit assembly.
"Brains are composed of a multitude of neuronal cell types that assemble together into specific functional circuits. Elucidating how a small number of neural progenitors generates the vast diversity of neuronal cell types in the brain remains a major goal in neuroscience, since the different types of neuron — and their specific connectivity — are the basis for information processing," says Lim.
"This problem is very challenging in the cerebral cortex, where dozens of different types of neuron come together, during development, to form microcircuits. Importantly, miswiring of microcircuits is often the hallmark of major neurodevelopmental diseases.
"Recent studies, including my own, have used novel sequencing approaches to classify neocortical neurons and their progenitors based on their gene expression. We found that metabolic genes, which are traditionally associated with housekeeping functions, are among the most differentially expressed in distinct classes of neuronal progenitors. This finding, together with other works describing instructive changes in metabolic states during cell differentiation, points to a probable role for the metabolome in interneuron diversification. Based on these data, the central goal of my proposal is to identify metabolic states in neuronal progenitors that specify cell fate and lineage diversification, with a long-term goal to design new cell reprogramming and replacement strategies to treat brain disorders."
Congratulations, Lynette Lim!