Dr Rodrigo Suarez

ARC DECRA Research Fellow

Queensland Brain Institute
r.suarez@uq.edu.au
+61 7 334 66342

Overview

I am a biologist with a PhD in Biomedical Sciences from the University of Chile (2010). My main research questions are: how do organisms acquire their characteristics during development, and how can alterations in development lead to either 1) disease at an individual level, or 2) to the origin of evolutionary innovations at a phylogenetic level. As an ARC DECRA fellow (Australian Research Council, Discovery Early Career Researcher Award) I study brain development in different species, aiming to understand the main events in the formation and diversification of neuronal circuits, with an emphasis on the cerebral cortices and their connections between hemispheres.

An evolutionary developmental (evo-devo) approach in neuroscience offers critical insights not only on animal biology, behaviour and evolution, but importantly on the causes, diagnosis and treatment of brain wiring disorders such as autism and schizophrenia.

Research Interests

  • Comparative vertebrate neuroanatomy
  • Brain development
  • Sensory neuroscience
  • Neuroethology
  • Evolutionary developmental biology
  • Olfaction and pheromones
  • Mammal zoology
  • Neocortical development and function

Qualifications

  • Doctor of Biomedical Science, University of Chile

Publications

View all Publications

Supervision

  • Doctor Philosophy

  • Doctor Philosophy

View all Supervision

Available Projects

  • How does the brain acquire its connectivity pattern during development? What developmental features have been key to the generation of evolutionary diversity of brain architecture in mammals and other vertebrates? By studying comparative development of the cerebral cortex in selected species we aim to gain insights not only on the natural history of the human brain, but also on neurodevelopmental diseases that affect neocortical circuits such as autism and schizophrenia.

    This project aims at elucidating the main roles of early sensory and spontaneous activity in the formation of neocortical layers, areas and circuits. By combining molecular, electrical and developmental manipulations in developing mammalian embryos and pups, this project will study how early events affect the precise formation of cortical features required for normal cognitive development. Highly motivated students with strengths in developmental neurobiology, neurophysiology, animal behaviour, signal analysis and/or computational sciences are encouraged to apply.

  • How does the brain acquire its connectivity pattern during development? What developmental features have been key to the generation of evolutionary diversity of brain architecture in mammals and other vertebrates? By studying comparative development of the cerebral cortex in selected species we aim to gain insights not only on the natural history of the human brain, but also on neurodevelopmental diseases that affect neocortical circuits such as autism and schizophrenia.

    Highly motivated students with a strong scientific formation and original ideas on the evolution and development of the nervous system are particularly encouraged to apply for a RHD student scholarship.

  • How does the brain acquire its connectivity pattern during development? What developmental features have been key to the generation of evolutionary diversity of brain architecture in mammals and other vertebrates? By studying comparative development of the cerebral cortex in selected species we aim to gain insights not only on the natural history of the human brain, but also on neurodevelopmental diseases that affect neocortical circuits such as autism and schizophrenia.

    This project aims at elucidating the molecular evolution of genes involved in mammalian brain development. By comparing transcriptomic, cellular and developmental differences between mice and marsupials this project will shed light on the evolution of the largest tract in the brain: the corpus callosum. Highly motivated students with strengths in genetics, bioinformatics, molecular biology, developmental neurobiology, physiology and/or brain anatomy are encouraged to apply.

View all Available Projects

Publications

Book Chapter

Journal Article

Conference Publication

  • Gobius, I., Morcom, L., Suarez, R., Bunt, J., Sherr, E. and Richards, L. (2015). Astroglial-mediated remodeling of the interhemispheric midline is exclusive to eutherian mammals and underlies the formation of the corpus callosum. In: Supplement: GLIA Bilbao 2015: Abstracts Oral Presentations, Posters, Indexes. 12th European Meeting on Glial Cell Function in Health and Disease, Bilbao, Spain, (E206-E206). 15-18 July 2015. doi:10.1002/glia.22870

  • Gobius, I., Morcom, L., Suarez, R., Bunt, J., Sherr, E. H. and Richards, L. J. (2015). Astroglial-mediated remodeling of the interhemispheric midline underlies the formation of the corpus callosum in eutherian mammals. In: Special Issue: 25th Biennial Meeting of the International Society for Neurochemistry Jointly with the 13th Meeting of the Asian Pacific Society for Neurochemistry in Conjunction with the 35th Meeting of the Australasian Neuroscience Society. 25th Biennial Meeting of the International Society for Neurochemistry Jointly with the 13th Meeting of the Asian Pacific Society for Neurochemistry in Conjunction with the 35th Meeting of the Australasian Neuroscience Society, Cairns, QLD Australia, (104-104). 23-27 August 2015. doi:10.1111/jnc.13188

  • Suarez, R., Paolino, A., Kozulin, P., Morcom, L., Fenlon, L. and Richards, L. (2015). Developmental scenarios for the evolutionary origin of the corpus callosum. In: Special Issue: 25th Biennial Meeting of the International Society for Neurochemistry Jointly with the 13th Meeting of the Asian Pacific Society for Neurochemistry in Conjunction with the 35th Meeting of the Australasian Neuroscience Society. 25th Biennial Meeting of the International Society for Neurochemistry Jointly with the 13th Meeting of the Asian Pacific Society for Neurochemistry in Conjunction with the 35th Meeting of the Australasian Neuroscience Society, Cairns, QLD Australia, (184-184). 23-27 August 2015. doi:10.1111/jnc.13188

  • Fenlon, L., Suarez, R. and Richards, L. (2015). The organisation, development and connectivity of two callosal projections arising from the mouse somatosensory cortex. In: Special Issue: 25th Biennial Meeting of the International Society for Neurochemistry Jointly with the 13th Meeting of the Asian Pacific Society for Neurochemistry in Conjunction with the 35th Meeting of the Australasian Neuroscience Society. 25th Biennial Meeting of the International Society for Neurochemistry Jointly with the 13th Meeting of the Asian Pacific Society for Neurochemistry in Conjunction with the 35th Meeting of the Australasian Neuroscience Society, Cairns, QLD Australia, (179-179). 23-27 August 2015. doi:10.1111/jnc.13188

PhD and MPhil Supervision

Current Supervision

  • Doctor Philosophy — Associate Advisor

    Other advisors:

  • Doctor Philosophy — Associate Advisor

Possible Research Projects

Note for students: The possible research projects listed on this page may not be comprehensive or up to date. Always feel free to contact the staff for more information, and also with your own research ideas.

  • How does the brain acquire its connectivity pattern during development? What developmental features have been key to the generation of evolutionary diversity of brain architecture in mammals and other vertebrates? By studying comparative development of the cerebral cortex in selected species we aim to gain insights not only on the natural history of the human brain, but also on neurodevelopmental diseases that affect neocortical circuits such as autism and schizophrenia.

    This project aims at elucidating the main roles of early sensory and spontaneous activity in the formation of neocortical layers, areas and circuits. By combining molecular, electrical and developmental manipulations in developing mammalian embryos and pups, this project will study how early events affect the precise formation of cortical features required for normal cognitive development. Highly motivated students with strengths in developmental neurobiology, neurophysiology, animal behaviour, signal analysis and/or computational sciences are encouraged to apply.

  • How does the brain acquire its connectivity pattern during development? What developmental features have been key to the generation of evolutionary diversity of brain architecture in mammals and other vertebrates? By studying comparative development of the cerebral cortex in selected species we aim to gain insights not only on the natural history of the human brain, but also on neurodevelopmental diseases that affect neocortical circuits such as autism and schizophrenia.

    Highly motivated students with a strong scientific formation and original ideas on the evolution and development of the nervous system are particularly encouraged to apply for a RHD student scholarship.

  • How does the brain acquire its connectivity pattern during development? What developmental features have been key to the generation of evolutionary diversity of brain architecture in mammals and other vertebrates? By studying comparative development of the cerebral cortex in selected species we aim to gain insights not only on the natural history of the human brain, but also on neurodevelopmental diseases that affect neocortical circuits such as autism and schizophrenia.

    This project aims at elucidating the molecular evolution of genes involved in mammalian brain development. By comparing transcriptomic, cellular and developmental differences between mice and marsupials this project will shed light on the evolution of the largest tract in the brain: the corpus callosum. Highly motivated students with strengths in genetics, bioinformatics, molecular biology, developmental neurobiology, physiology and/or brain anatomy are encouraged to apply.