Science Meets Music

Dr. Silvia Cappello – “Following neuronal trajectories”

Apr 1,
  • Time:
  • Location: The Benjamin School

In this lecture, Dr. Cappello discusses her lab’s cutting-edge research using organoids: miniaturized and simplified 3D version of an organ produced in vitro that replicates the structure and function of an actual organ.

Malformations of the human cerebral cortex are present in about 1% of the general population and represent a major cause of developmental disabilities including severe epilepsy. To date, animal models carrying mutations of genes so far identified in human patients with brain malformations only partially recapitulate the expected phenotypes and therefore do not provide reliable models to entirely understand the molecular and cellular mechanisms responsible for these disorders.

Lecture: Dr. Silvia Cappello

Dr. Cappello shares her work combining the in vivo mouse model and the human brain organoids in order to better comprehend the mechanisms involved in the migration of neurons during human development and tackle the causes of neurodevelopmental disorders. She will discuss how researchers can model human brain development and disorders using human brain organoids and contribute to open new avenues to bridge the gap of knowledge between human brain malformations and existing animal models.

Dr. Silvia Cappello leads the Developmental Neurobiology lab at the Max Planck Institute for Psychiatry in Munich, Germany. After completing undergraduate studies
in Biotechnology at the University of Bologna, she started a PhD in Pharmacology and Toxicology at the University of Padua, Italy where she quickly became fascinated by the development of the brain and moved to the lab of Prof. Magdalena Götz at the Max Planck Institute of Neurobiology and Helmholtz Center in Munich. There she focused on understanding the complex process of neurogenesis in the developing mouse cerebral cortex. After earning her Ph.D., she moved to Columbia University, in New York to join the lab of Prof. Richard Vallee where she studied how neural stem cells and neurons migrate in the developing cortex. She returned to the Helmholtz Center and Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich to continue working with neurogenesis and neuronal migration and focusing on mutations that affect proper development in human. She currently holds the position of Research Group Leader at the Max Planck Institute for of Psychiatry in Munich, Germany where she focuses on human cortical malformations in mouse and human derived cerebral organoids in order to understand the principle molecular and cellular mechanisms regulating cortical development.

Music: Madison Yan

Madison Yan, a 2019-2020 National Chopin Foundation Scholarship recipient, currently studies with Dr. Irena Kofman and Professor Kevin Kenner under the advanced Piano Preparatory Program at the Frost School of Music. From a young age, Madison has attained top prizes in various competitions, winning third place in the 2016 International Keyboard Odyssiad® & Festival concerto division (Fort Collins, Colorado) against pianists of all ages. She has received consecutive top prizes in the highest divisions of Florida Federation of Music Clubs and the Florida State Music Teachers Association concerto competitions. Madison was awarded first place as well as the Chopin award in the junior division in 2018 and the Chopin award in the senior division in 2019 at the MTNA State Competition.

More recently, Madison has placed first in the William Knabe International Piano Competition in the concerto division and the UF International Piano Festival Artists division competition. Madison was a finalist in the Claudette Sorel International Piano Competition and received the audience award. Her orchestral debut was in 2017 with the Greater Miami Youth Symphony and later performed Beethoven’s Emperor Concerto with the Alhambra Orchestra as the winner of the orchestra’s concerto competition. In addition, she is actively involved in local community events, playing piano for senior communities, and enjoys playing violin in the Philharmonic Orchestra at
her school, A. W. Dreyfoos School of the Arts.