The 89th Annual Meeting of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists (2020)


Session 37. New Frontiers in Human Brain Evolution: Stem cells, Brains, and Endocasts. Invited Poster Symposium. Chair: Katerina Semendeferi Co-organizers: Semendeferi, Katerina Department of Anthropology, UC San Diego

April 17, 2020 8 a.m. - noon, Diamond 7 Add to calendar

Advances in brain evolution have taken place at a fast pace through developments in molecular neurobiology, genomics, systems neuroscience, and neuroimaging. These fields use postmortem brain tissue for microstructural analysis at the cellular and molecular level; living human and other animal brains for noninvasive imaging; and fossil specimens for the reconstruction of endocasts. These comparative, phenotypic studies of human and other extant and extinct primates provide important insights into development and evolution. The symposium will present new research findings from these well-established fields.

Most recently, the emergence of the new field of induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells presents unique opportunities for the study of human brain evolution and has the potential to revolutionize our understanding of the process and the mechanism behind phenotypical differences.  The field is based on the discovery by Shinya Yamanaka (2012 Nobel prize) that somatic tissue from any individual can be reprogrammed to its pluripotent, embryonic-like, state. These stem cells can then be guided to become live neurons in the dish and be studied for their developmental trajectories, activity patterns, morphology, energy consumption, etc. The symposium will introduce cutting edge advances in iPS cell technology as applied on research on human, ape and other primate neurons and brain organoids.

Overall the symposium aims to foster interactions between leading experts in a variety of fields in brain evolution within and outside the AAPA community, to bridge the phenotype to the genotype, to inform and complement efforts and create opportunities for future generations of scientists interested in human brain evolution.

Discussants: Carol Marchetto, Dean Falk, Katerina Semendeferi
1 Add to calendar Species-specific maturation profiles and transcriptional signatures of human, chimpanzee and bonobo neural cells. Maria Carolina Marchetto.
2 Add to calendar Great Ape Cerebral Organoids Recapitulate Evolved Differences in Gene Expression Observed in Primary Brain Samples. Aparna Bhaduri, Mohammed A. Mostajo Radji, Matthew Schmitz, Madeline Andrews, Tomasz J. Nowakowski, Olivia Meyerson, Sainath Mamde, Elizabeth Di Lullo, Beatriz Alvarado, Melanie Bedolli, Tyler D. Fair, Ian T. Fiddes, Zev Kronenberg, Marina Bershteyn, Evan E. Eichler, Arnold Kriegstein, Bryan J. Pavolvic, Alex A. Pollen.
3 Add to calendar Humanization of SRGAP2C expression increases cortico-cortical connectivity and alters neuronal response properties in the mouse brain. Ewoud Schmidt, Hanzhi (Teresa) Zhao, Elizabeth Hillman, Franck Polleux.
4 Add to calendar Using great ape cerebral cortex organoids to study brain evolution and disease. Sofie R. Salama, Gary L. Mantalas, Andrew R. Field, Ian T. Fiddes, Colleen M. Bosworth, Gifti Gemeda, Taylor Real, Nicholas Heyer, Benedict Paten, David Haussler.
5 Add to calendar Modeling human evolution with brain organoids carrying ancestral genetic variations. Alysson R. Muotri.
6 Add to calendar Cortical neuromorphology in large mammals. bob jacobs.
7 Add to calendar Human brain evolution and language development: gene expression variation between human brain language structures and their homologues in chimpanzees. Nicole L. Barger, Jillian Webber, Austin K. Behel, William D. Hopkins, Brenda J. Bradley, Chet C. Sherwood.
8 Add to calendar Subcortical systems in human evolution. Kari L. Hanson, Mary Ann Raghanti.
9 Add to calendar Genetic Contributions to Individual Variation in Cortical Organization and Cognition in Chimpanzees. William Hopkins.
10 Add to calendar Early hominin brain evolution: what can fossil endocasts tell us?. Amelie Beaudet.
11 Add to calendar Sex differences in the brains of capuchin monkeys (Sapajus [Cebus] apella), and implications for human brains. Erin E. Hecht, Olivia T. Reilly, Marcela Benitez, Sarah Brosnan.
12 Add to calendar Brain Morphology of the Taung Endocast Inferred from Comparative Great Ape and Human Evidence. Marcia S. Ponce de León, Silvano Engel, Christoph P. E. Zollikofer.