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Cells Webinar | Nervous System Development and Plasticity in Model Organisms IV

14 Jun 2021, 15:00

Cells, Disease, Nervous System, Plasticity, Model Organisms
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Welcome from the Chair

8th Webinar on Cells

Nervous System Development and Plasticity in Model Organisms IV

The Nervous system is essential for receiving, transferring, and processing information, which allows us to make important decisions and carry out everyday tasks. It is composed of two main cell populations, which are the neurons and the glial cells.
As the central part of the nervous system, neurons process incoming information and transmit it to different parts of the body. Glial cells provide support and protection for neurons and are necessary for neural development, synapse and myelin formation and proper function of neurons. They also maintain the homeostasis of the nervous system as some population of glial cells can behave as neural stem cells during embryonic development and in adult stages.
During the development of an organism, the nervous system undergoes significant changes not only regarding its structure but also its function. Neurons, glial cells and the numerous molecular signals and components that are part of the nervous system, can play various roles during different stages of development and in different parts of the nervous system.
This webinar features several eminent experts in the field of nervous system development, maintenance and regeneration in different model organisms.

Date: 14 June 2021

Time: 3:00 pm CEST | 9:00am EDT | 9:00pm CST Asia

Webinar ID: 872 9569 5516

Webinar Secretariat:

Webinar Content

The 8th webinar of the MDPI journal Cells, entitled “Nervous System Development and Plasticity in Model Organisms IV”, was held on Monday 14 June 2021. This online seminar was chaired by Dr. Sepand Rastegar (Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, Germany). Dr. Alessandra Pierani (National Center for Scientific Research, France) and Dr. Stéphane Nedelec (Institut du Fer à Moulin, France) presented their research related to nervous system development and maintenance.

After a brief introduction of the chair with an overview of the webinar, the first speaker to quick off this session was Dr. Alessandra Pierani and her presentation addressed the the cycle of life and death of transient neurons during the maturation of functional and dysfunctional cortical circuits. The second speaker was Dr. Stéphane Nedelec and he explained how the human spinal cord can develop both in health and disease contexts, and especially emphasizing the embryoid and organoid perspective.

Both presentations were followed by a Q&A session, moderated by the chair, to answer the questions submitted by live online attendees. The webinar was offered via Zoom and registration was required for attendance. The full recording can be found below.

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Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), Germany

Dr. Sepand Rastegar studied Biology at the University of Strasbourg, France, where he obtained his diploma degree in 1996. Dr. Sepand Rastegar completed his PhD in the laboratory of Prof. Walter Knöchel at the University of Ulm, Germany. In 2000, Dr. Sepand Rastegar moved back to Strasbourg to do 2 years of post-doctoral research with Prof. Uwe Strähle at the IGBMC. In 2002, Dr. Sepand Rastegar obtained a permanent position at the French National Institute of Health and Medical Research (INSERM). In 2005, Dr. Sepand Rastegar moved to Germany to work at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT). Currently, Dr. Sepand Rastegar is investigating the molecular mechanisms that regulate zebrafish neurogenesis and regeneration. His models are the embryonic spinal cord and the adult telencephalon. His full list of publications is available at

Invited Speakers

National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS), France

Alessandra Pierani is Director of Research at the National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS). She heads the team “Genetics and Development of the Cerebral Cortex” with a dual affiliation at the Imagine Institute (Institut des Maladies Génétiques, Hôpital Necker Enfants malades, Paris) and the Institute of Psychiatry and Neurosciences of Paris (IPNP, Hôpital St Anne, Paris) (France). Her research focuses on the role of transient neuronal populations in cerebral cortex development, evolution and pathology. She obtained two PhDs in Biology at the University of Florence (1986) and University of Paris XI (1994), training first as a molecular biologist and biochemist at the Rockefeller University (New York). She then began her work on neural development at the Institut Curie (Orsay) and pursued it at Columbia University (New York) and the Ecole Normale Supérieure (Paris). From 2006 until 2017, she was a group leader at the Institut Jacques Monod in Paris. She was awarded a CNRS-ATIPE grant (1999), a City of Paris prize (2006) and the Foulon Prize of the French Academy of Science (2012).

Institut du Fer à Moulin (IFM), France

Stéphane Nedelec is a team leader at the Institut du Fer à Moulin (IFM) in Paris (France). He is studying nervous system development in health and disease using 3D in vitro models engineered from human pluripotent stem cells (hPSCs). Stéphane Nedelec carried out his PhD with Alain Trembleau and Alain Prochiantz at the Ecole Normale Supérieure (Paris) where he studied local protein synthesis in neurons. Then, Stéphane Nedelec joined Hynek Wichterle’s lab at Columbia University where he used in vitro differentiation of mouse embryonic stem cells to study axon guidance mechanisms during spinal cord development and disease. In 2012, Stéphane Nedelec joined I-Stem institute (Evry, France). In Cécile Martinat’s group, he started a program aiming to study human developmental biology. Using hPSCs, they developed a powerful approach to assess how extrinsic cues control cell fate. They discovered pathways sufficient to engineer distinct human neuronal subtypes, including a rapid and efficient way to generate spinal motor neurons. In 2016, Stéphane Nedelec started a new research group at IFM in which he combined 3D hPSC-differentiation in specific cell types or organoids, transcriptomic analysis, live imaging and pharmacological approaches to study normal and pathological spinal cord development. This group seeks to decode the mechanisms by which extrinsic cues control genetic programs to instruct the specification and organization of human spinal neural diversity and how genetic mutations perturb these events to cause neurodevelopmental disorders.


This is a FREE webinar. The number of participants to the live session is limited but the recording will be made available on Sciforum shortly afterwards. Registrations with academic institutional email addresses will be prioritized.



Time in CEST

Dr. Sepand Rastegar

Chair Introduction

3:00 - 3:05 pm

Dr. Alessandra Pierani

Life and Death of Transient Neurons in the Maturation of Functional and Dysfunctional Cortical Circuits

3:05 - 3:50 pm

Dr. Stéphane Nedelec

Human Spinal Cord Development in Health and Disease: An Embryoid and Organoid Perspective

3:50 - 4:35 pm

Q&A Session

4:35 - 4:55 pm

Closing of Webinar
Dr. Sepand Rastegar

4:55 - 5:00 pm

Relevant SI

Neurogenesis and Regeneration in the Zebrafish Central Nervous System
Guest Editor: Dr. Sepand Rastegar
Guest Editor: Ms. Luisa Lübke
Deadline for manuscript submissions: 28 February 2022

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