Lecturer in Neurosciences

Anna Hoerder-Suabedissen

  • I am a departmental lecturer and senior postdoctoral research in the Molnár laboratory.

  • I work on early brain development, and in particular a largely transient thin layer of cells at the bottom of the cerebral cortex, called the subplate layer. These cells are crucial for the normal wiring of developing brain, but some cells survive into adulthood as cortical layer 6b. I am currently investigating what the function of this enigmatic cell group might be.

  • I completed an MSc in Neuroscience and a DPhil in Developmental Neuroscience at the University of Oxford, but also spent time at Lancaster University, the University of San Diego (California, US) and the University of Pittsburgh (Pennsylvania, US).

Anna Hoerder-Suabedissen


I teach neuroscience at Trinity, which means that I mostly give tutorials for second-year medical students and first-year students in Biomedical Sciences. I also give lectures on brain development on the MSc Neuroscience and Part II Bachelor of Medicine course. Within the Department of Physiology, Anatomy and Genetics I am a senior doctoral training advisor, thereby playing an active role in the learning of graduate students who are not directly associated with my laboratory.


My research interests were initially focussed on very early brain development, and a transient layer of cells at the junction between grey and white matter, underneath the cerebral cortex. These subplate cells are known to play important roles in the correct wiring of the developing brain, and can be thought of as a scaffold. Imagine what would happen to a building if the scaffold were taken down too early. Similarly, the developing brains does not fare too well if the subplate cells die prematurely, for example as a result of environmental insults such as severe lack of oxygen at birth. Because this is a clinically important group of cells, which is only defined by their location and very early birth-date in normally developing brains, and because they are hard to identify reliably in abnormally developing brains, I searched for molecular markers for these cells. Some of these are now widely used by the research community, and applied more widely to diverse species. Through my research, I demonstrated that many of these molecularly identifiable cells survive into adulthood (as a distinct layer 6b in rodent brains), contrary to previous reports. Molecularly distinct groups of these cells show unique input and output connectivity in the mature brain, and I am now focussing on identifying a functional role for these cells in the adult brain.

In a separate group of experiments, I am investigating the role that neuronal activity plays in the progression of normal brain development, ranging from correct axon targeting, to myelination of established connections, and all steps in-between.

You can find out more about my work here.

Transgenic labelling of subplate neurons and their projections in the mouse cortex
Transgenic labelling of subplate neurons and their projections in the mouse cortex.

Selected Publications

Hoerder-Suabedissen A., Korrell K., Hayashi S., Ramirez D.O., Grant E., Jeans A., Christian H.C., Kavalali E., Wilson M.C., Molnár Z., ‘Cell-specific loss of SNAP25 from cortical projection neurons allows normal development but causes subsequent neurodegeneration’, Cereb Cortex, 29(5) (2019), 2148–2159 [https://doi.org/10.1093/cercor/bhy127]

Hoerder-Suabedissen A., Hayashi S., Upton L., Nolan Z., Casas D., Grant E., Korrell K.V., Clasca F., Kanold P., Molnár Z., ‘Cortical Layer 6b neurons selectively innervate higher order nuclei in the thalamus’, Cereb Cortex 28(5) (2018),1882-1897 [https://doi.org/10.1093/cercor/bhy036]

Hoerder-Suabedissen A. and Molnár Z., ‘Development, evolution and pathology of neocortical subplate neurons’, Nat Rev Neurosci 16(3) (2015),133-46 [https://doi.org/10.1038/nrn3915]

Pedraza M., Hoerder-Suabedissen A., Amparo Albert-Maestro M., Molnár Z., De Carlos J.A., ‘A new extracortical origin of murine subplate neurons’, Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 111 (2014), 8613-8 [https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1323816111]

Hoerder-Suabedissen A., Oeschger F.M., Krishnan M.L., Belgard T.G., Wang W.Z., Lee S., Webber C., Petretto E., Edwards A.D., Molnár Z. (2013), ‘Expression profiling of mouse subplate reveals a dynamic gene network and disease association with autism and schizophrenia’, Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 110 (2013), 3555-60 [https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1218510110]

Hoerder-Suabedissen A. and Molnár Z., ‘Molecular Diversity of Early-Born Subplate Neurons’, Cereb Cortex 23 (2013),1473-83 [https://doi.org/10.1093/cercor/bhs137]

Dr Hoerder-Suabedissen