St John's College Oxford
Professor Zoltán Molnár

Professor Zoltán Molnár

Tutorial Fellow in Human Anatomy Sports Officer

Biography

I work in the Department of Physiology, Anatomy and Genetics where I am the Professor of Developmental Neuroscience. My departmental teaching contributes to the pre-clinical training of medical students. I give lectures and seminars in the 1st BM course mainly in the field of Neurosciences; on the anatomy and development of the human central nervous system. I organize the Neuroanatomy practical classes for 2nd year medical students and contribute with more specialized lectures and seminars for the FHS (3rd year medical students) and M.Sc. Degree in Neuroscience Course. I also teach on the Principles of Clinical Anatomy Course for 3rd year medics. My college tutorial teaching includes most aspects of the human gross anatomy, histology, endocrinology and embryology.

Currently I am the Senior (Honorary) Treasurer of Oxford University Lawn Tennis Club (http://www.oultc.org/)

Previous positions held at St John's College: Vice President (2013-2014); Sports Fellow (2006-2013); Dean for Degrees (2001-2006)

Research Interests

My research interests include various aspects of developmental neurobiology. My goal is to understand more of the normal and pathological development of the mammalian cerebral cortex. The cerebral cortex constitutes half the volume of the human brain and is presumed to be responsible for the neuronal computations underlying such complex phenomena as perception, thought, language, attention, episodic memory and voluntary movement. Although there is basic structural similarity across the entire neocortex, different functions are clearly localized in a large number of distinct fields characterized by their input and output connectivity, their local cytoarchitecture, proportions of cell types, modular structure and microcircuitry.

Superficially, the entire cortex appears to be constructed by a common process of cell birth, migration and laminar distribution. Although some components of local specialization are determined by differential patterns of commitment at a very early stage (perhaps during mitosis), there is considerable evidence that the developing cortex is partly multipotential and that some localized extrinsic signal is needed as an epigenetic cue to determine the ultimate differentiation in each area. The obvious candidate for such an extrinsic signal, at least for primary sensory areas, is the input from the appropriate specific thalamic nucleus.  Unravelling the mechanism by which developing thalamic axons interact with the forming cortical circuitry in their target regions is important in understanding how cortical organization is determined.  My reseach projects aim to get a better understanding of the molecular and cellular mechanisms involved in distinct phases of neuronal differentiation in the developing mammalian cerebral cortex. Our experiments would start to relate the complex events of cortical re-modelling to area specific thalamic fiber invasion.

Visit my departmental research group page for further information at: http://www.dpag.ox.ac.uk/research/molnar-group