Alex Pollen, PhD

Associate Professor, Neurology


The Pollen lab studies genetic, molecular, and cellular mechanisms underlying specializations of the human brain. Evolutionary changes involve tradeoffs and the unequal scaling of size, connectivity, and developmental tempo among brain regions and cell types during human evolution may confer vulnerabilities shared by all humans by placing cells in new contexts. We are combining advances in single cell genomics and genome engineering with great ape cerebral organoid models of brain development to systematically connect human-specific mutations to evolved cellular specializations, vulnerabilities, and compensatory adaptations.