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Professor of Developmental Neuroscience, University of Oxford

Zoltán Molnár is Professor of Developmental Neuroscience at the University of Oxford. He is known for key contributions to our understanding of how the birth of cortical neurons is regulated, how they migrate, differentiate, generate axons and how the thalamocortical projections are guided to the cerebral cortex and how the thalamic afferents interact with the earliest transient cortical circuits. These match spontaneous and sensory-driven activity to establish the mature circuits, and these continue to change over time, partly as a result of the activity passing through them. Molnár pioneered the identification of layer and cell-type specific markers including the early and largely transient subplate neurons; this meant that he could selectively monitor and manipulate them at various stages of development, including their remnants as layer 6b in the adult. He described stage specific intra- and extra-cortical integration of the subplate neurons during development and discovered a new type of cortico-thalamo-cortical circuit established by layer 6b neurons. His research revealed how thalamic connectivity shapes the developing cortex and how the cortex regulates its own state during sensory perception and sleep. By examining and comparing these mechanisms in various species, including humans, he showed how specific alterations of developmental mechanisms at the pallial subpallial boundary and in the cortical germinal zones have led to the evolution of the mammalian cerebral cortex.

Experience

  • 2000–present
    Official Fellow and Tutor for Human Anatomy, St John's College, Oxford
  • 2007–present
    Professor of Developmental Neuroscience, University of Oxford
  • 2013–2015
    Deputy Head of Department of Physiology, Anatomy and Genetics, University of Oxford
  • 2013–2014
    Vice President, St John's College, Oxford
  • 2000–2007
    University Lecturer (Associate Professor), University of Oxford
  • 1998–1999
    Premier assistant, Médecine, Institut de Biologie Cellulaire et de Morphologie, Université de Lausanne
  • 1994–1997
    MRC Research Training Fellow, University Laboratory of Physiology, University of Oxford
  • 1992–1995
    Junior Research Fellow, Merton College, Oxford
  • 1990–1992
    Baring Senior Scholar, Hertford College, Oxford
  • 1989–1990
    Soros - Hungarian Academy of Sciences Scholar, Hertford College, Oxford
  • 1988–1989
    Resident in Neurological Surgery, Albert Szent-Györgyi Medical University, Szeged, Hungary

Education

  • 1994 
    University of Oxford, D.Phil (PhD)
  • 1988 
    Albert Szent-Györgyi Medical University, Szeged, Hungary , MD (Doctor of Medicine)

Honours

Elected Member of Academia Europaea (Physiology and Neuroscience) 2018; Einstein Visiting Fellow at Charité-Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Germany 2020-2024; Elected Fellow of the Anatomical Society; received the New Fellow of the Year Award 2018.