MSE Research Project Database

The mechanisms of cortical folding in brain development

Project Leader: Leigh Johnston
Collaborators: David Walker (RMIT University) Mary Tolcos (RMIT University)
Sponsors: NHMRC
Primary Contact: Leigh Johnston (
Keywords: biomechanics; magnetic resonance imaging MRI; neuroimaging
Disciplines: Biomedical Engineering
Domains: Convergence of engineering and IT with the life sciences
Research Centre: Neuroengineering Research Laboratory

An observation commonly made when looking at the human brain is the convoluted, or folded, appearance of the surface. These folds are essential to brain function, as abnormal folding patterns are implicated in a number of neurological disorders. But how do these folds form during development? We will use a novel, multidisciplinary approach to examine the brain during critical periods of fold formation and will determine the underlying cellular mechanisms involved. Our goal is to determine the contribution of axon innervation, cortical growth and the developing vascular system in governing this process. Such knowledge is fundamental for our understanding of brain function and dysfunction.

Colour-encoded slices of principle diffusion tensor eigenvector of sheep brain during gestation.