Dr Alicia Hidalgo 

Dr Alicia Hidalgo, of the School of Biosciences at the University of Birmingham, describes, in 60 seconds, her research into how the nervous system is formed and how it works. 

60 seconds with Dr Alicia Hidalgo

I’m Alicia Hidalgo and I lead a research team in the School of Biosciences.

We want to understand how the nervous system is formed and how it works. During growth, the brain expands dramatically in size as neurocircuits are being laid down. This occurs as the two cell types in the brain, neurons and glia, interact to control cell number, position and shape. These same processes take place in the brain as it changes throughout life and upon damage. We want to understand how genes control these events. For this we use the fruit fly Drosophila as a model because it has a brain that works in similar ways and because it has powerful genetics that enables us to investigate what genes do.

The aim is to distil the fundamental principles that determine the structure and function of all brains. We collaborate with biochemists at the University of Cambridge, electro-physiologists in Exeter, and to directly connect our finding to the mammalian brain we collaborate with experts in Birmingham and Japan.

Our findings contribute to understanding the brain and also to finding solutions to brain damage and neurodegenerative diseases in humans.

Dr Alicia Hidalgo's profile