Edinburgh Research Explorer

Research Interests

I am interested in the molecular mechanisms that regulate embryonic development of the forebrain and how errors in this process can lead to neurodevelopmental disorders. 

My research in a nutshell

Our lab studies how the brain normally develops during embryogenesis and how neurodevelopmental disorders arise when normal development goes awry. Much of our work has concentrated on the transcription factors Foxg1, Pax6 and Gli3, in collaboration with David Price and Thomas Theil. These transcription factors act as high level regulators and are crucial for normal development of the brain. 

We are using cerebral organoids to explore mechanisms of brain development, and to understand neurodevelopmental disorders. Cerebral organoids are small, 3D cultures grown from stem cells that closely resemble normal brain tissue. We have grown organoids from both mouse and human stem cells. This powerful new system allows us to study development of human brain tissue in ways that have not been possible previously.





  • Reader in Developmental Neurobiology
  • Lecturer, then Senior Lecturer, Biomedical Sciences, University of Edinburgh
  • Group leader at the Centre for Genome Research, Science & Engineering, University of Edinburgh
  • Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of California, San Francisco. 



Year 1: 

Medical Biology 1 (Coure organiser 2011-14)

Year 2:

Cells to Organisms 2 (Course organiser 2014-18)

Biomedical Sciences 2

Year 3: 

Mechanisms of Brain Development 3

Anatomy & Development 3

Year 4: 

Honours Physiology Core

Honours Biomedical Sciences Core

Development and Disease (Course Organiser)

Honours Anatomy & Development (Programme Organiser)


MSc by Research Integrative Neuroscience

MSc Regenerative Medicine: Clinical & Industrial Delivery

Wellcome Trust 4-year PhD programme in Translational Neuroscience


  • PhD, Molecular Biology, University of Cambridge.
  • BSc, Molecular Biology, University of Edinburgh.

Administrative Roles

Honours Programme Organiser - Anatomy & Development (2018-)

Convenor, Biomedical Sciences Pre-honours Board of Examiners (2016-)

Member, Biomedical Sciences Junior Honours Board of Examiners (2018-)

Member, Physiology Honours Board of Examiners (1996-2018)




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