August 2020

Professor Nenad Šestan from New Haven, Connecticut, USA, has presented the Plenary Lecture entitled ‘Building the human brain: molecular logic of neural circuit formation’ at ECR 2020.

Nenad Šestan is the Harvey and Kate Cushing Professor of Neuroscience, Genetics, Psychiatry and Comparative Medicine at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut, USA. He is also Executive Director of the Yale Genome Editing Center.

He received his medical degree from Zagreb University School of Medicine in Croatia in 1995 and went on to obtain his PhD and postdoc in neurobiology at Yale University. He started working as assistant professor at the department of neurobiology of Yale University in 2002 and has remained on the faculty ever since.

Professor Šestan’s research focuses on understanding the molecular and cellular basis of how neurons acquire distinct identities and form proper connections in the cerebral cortex, the outside part of the mammalian brain that processes senses, commands motor activity, and helps humans perform higher-order cognitive functions like language. He also studies how these complex processes were modified during human evolution and may become compromised in neuropsychiatric disorders.


Most recently, his laboratory developed technology for restoring brain circulation and cell function following prolonged circulatory arrest and global anoxia.

Professor Šestan has authored or co-authored more than 90 publications on these topics. He has been honoured with many awards, most recently the Constance Lieber Prize in 2019. He also holds corresponding membership of the Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts (HAZU), and has received the 2014 BRAIN Initiative Award from the National Institutes of Health, the 2012 NARSAD Distinguished Investigator Grant from the Brain & Behavior Research Foundation and the 2012 Krieg Cortical Discoverer Award from the Cajal Club.