Skip to main content
Bright Magenta

Development + Plasticity

We creatively rethink how learning occurs throughout life

Center for Neurodevelopment and Plasticity

One of three research pillars at the Wu Tsai Institute, the Center for Neurodevelopment and Plasticity advances understanding of human cognition by exploring where it comes from in evolution and development and how it changes throughout the lifespan. Research focuses on the genetic, molecular, and cellular building blocks of the brain and how they organize themselves into connections and circuits over time. Understanding how this plasticity of the brain builds our skills and knowledge could be harnessed to restart, accelerate, and fine-tune human learning.

Daniel Colón-Ramos

Transformative discoveries often happen in science when ideas are incorporated from other disciplines to drive the creation of new tools and approaches. The Center is a crucible for these discoveries, with innovative methodologies enabling interdisciplinary collaboration. We are catalyzing new ideas to reframe scientific understanding of the origins of cognition.

Daniel Colón-Ramos, Director of the Center for Neurodevelopment and Plasticity + Dorys McConnell Duberg Professor of Neuroscience and Cell Biology

We use a holistic approach to analyze how genes, cells, and circuits support learning, memory, and plasticity in the brain throughout our lives

We adopt new technologies that measure the biological properties of the brain and how they interact with the rest of the body and our surrounding environment

We aspire to expand the plasticity of the human brain, to extend or revisit critical periods in development, and to increase the regenerative potential of the brain to learn and recover

The Center for Neurodevelopment and Plasticity contributes to the collective mission of the Wu Tsai Institute by providing unparalleled access, control, and understanding of the physical components of the brain and how they self-assemble in development. These insights ground studies of the human brain in precise neural circuit mechanisms that can be evaluated with new neurotechnologies in the Center for Neurocognition and Behavior. The principles of brain plasticity can also inform the design of architectures and algorithms for more efficient machine learning and more powerful computational models of cognition in the Center for Neurocomputation and Machine Intelligence.

Center Resources

The WTI Microscopy Innovation Core at 100 College Street is a proving ground for new instruments and probes developed by engineers in collaboration with biologists, before they are commercially available or widely used by other researchers.

The WTI Imaging Core in the Sterling Hall of Medicine, connected by bridge to 100 College Street, houses turnkey microscopes and other shared commercial equipment.

The Center’s staff oversee these facilities, perform maintenance and calibration, train users how to operate the equipment, and consult on the design and analysis of research projects. Learn more about the Center’s resources.