Laboratory of Evolutionary Neurobiology (Krubitzer)

Dr. Krubitzer’s lab examines the anatomical connections and electrophysiological properties of neurons in the neocortex, the portion of the brain responsible for perception, cognition, learning, and memory. Researchers reconstruct the evolution of the neocortex and its relationship to functional changes.

Studies of cortical evolution and development

A distinguishing feature of the mammalian neocortex is the remarkable ability to change over a lifetime, and this is particularly dramatic during development. Such plasticity allows an individual to match the functional organization and connectivity of the cortex with the physical parameters of a specific environment, and thus optimize their behavior for that environment.

Studies of parietal cortex

More than any other species, humans have evolved a remarkable ability to physically manipulate their environment with their hands to effectively transform our culture and indeed the planet. This ability co-evolved with an enormous expansion of the neocortex and an increase in the amount of cortex associated with hand use and hand-eye coordination.