Scientific project

Laurent Nguyen winner of the 2023 Audacious Medical Grant in Neurology

In Research Projet de recherche

Laurent Nguyen, neurobiologist, F.R.S.-FNRS research director, and scientific director of the GIGA at the University of Liège, has been awarded one fo the 2023 Audacious Medical Grants in Neurology for his research project to understand brain development better. This funding is awarded by the F.R.S.-FNRS to scientists who propose an original, daring and disruptive project. 


he cellular complexity of the brain has long fascinated neurobiologists. Despite the accumulation of knowledge acquired in recent decades, we still do not understand how the intrinsic and extrinsic mechanisms underlying brain formation are coordinated. Brain development is a long process that begins during fetal life. Among the cellular events involved in its development, neurons' migration and functional integration represent key stages that, when disrupted, often lead to malformations accompanied by neurological deficits.

The selected project proposes to evaluate a possible causal link between alterations in the mechanical properties of the brain during development and the origin of neurodevelopmental diseases. This research project will be carried out in close collaboration with Miriam Javier-Torrent, a postdoctoral researcher in Laurent Nguyen's laboratory, whose preliminary research shows that the mechanical properties of brain tissue change during development and suggests that they could actively contribute to the establishment and maturation of inhibitory neurons, which are essential for the proper functioning of the cerebral cortex.

Obtaining this funding will enable the laboratory to pursue this study to confirm the importance of the mechanical components of the neurons' environment for their functional integration in the cerebral cortex and to determine whether alterations of these properties during development lead to epilepsy and the emergence of other neurodevelopmental diseases, such as autism. 

Laurent Nguyen is the third ULiège researcher awarded this funding after Michaël Herfs (oncology, 2023) and Laurent Gillet (infectiology, 2022).

About the Audacious Medical Grant

The Audacious Medical Grant (AMG) is a funding instrument that supports biomedical research projects that are original and daring but are not supported by traditional systems due to lack of preliminary data, absence of previous work or unusual methodology. The term "audacious" means that there is a non-negligible risk that the project will lead to few or no tangible scientific results due to its original nature or complexity.


Laurent Nguyen

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