GABAergic interneurons in the cerebral cortex have evolved as a highly heterogeneous collection of cell types. Current estimates suggest that up to 60 different types of interneurons may populate the cortex, but the mechanisms underlying their generation remain unclear. This project will investigate the developmental diversification of a class of cortical interneurons characterised by the early expression of the neuropeptide SST. We will use advanced computational analyses of single-cell gene expression data to identify the developmental trajectories underlying cell diversification within this group of interneurons. We will then use in vivo approaches to test the role of differentially expressed genes in the specialisation of distinct interneuron cell types. We expect to uncover novel mechanisms underlying cell type specification in the nervous system.
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