What’s special about the human brain?

Tuesday 7 February 2023, 12:30 pm
S. Loomba
prof. dr. M.N. Helmstädter
dr. Y. Hua

Is the human brain simply a scaled-up version of the mouse brain? Sahil Loomba investigated the comparative aspects of structural connectivity in human, monkey and mouse brain using relatively novel three-dimensional electron microscopy technique. Sahil found evidence that the human nerve cells are composed of an increased number of interneurons that is two- to- three times higher compared to mouse. This, in effect, results in a massively increased connectivity between the inhibitory interneurons that is nearly absent in mouse. This, for the first time, points to a network innovation that is unique to the human cortical networks. This discovery encourages a new focus of studies on the functional relevance and impact of such connectivity features, with significance for fundamental as well as clinical neuroscience. 

Sahil Loomba (born in 1992, Faridkot, India) obtained his bachelor’s degree in Electronics and Electrical Engineering at the Indian Institute of Technology in Guwahati, India. After graduation, Sahil started his PhD-research at the Department of Connectomics at the Max Planck Institute for Brain Research in Frankfurt, Germany, which resulted in this dissertation. He currently works as a research scientist at the same institute.