Spotlight Live: Zika Virus and the Brain

by Lindsay Borthwick

The race to uncover how Zika damages the brain—and whether that damage can be prevented.

The Author

Lindsay Borthwick

The Researchers

Hongjun Song
Arnold Kriegstein
Guo-li Ming
Scientists are racing to uncover the Zika virus's secrets. There is little doubt that a strain of the virus is responsible for the surge in Brazilian babies born with unusually small heads, or microcephaly, during a recent epidemic. Much less clear is how Zika damages the brain—and whether that damage can be prevented.

At the forefront of this race are three neuroscientists who have spent their careers studying how the brain develops from a tiny sphere of unspecialized cells into an adult brain with billions of nerve cells and characteristic form. A flurry of research papers provide the first experimental evidence of how Zika attacks immature brain cells and disrupts the carefully orchestrated events that ultimately build a healthy brain.

The Kavli Foundation hosted a live webcast with neuroscientists Arnold Kriegstein, Guo-li Ming and Hongjun Song about Zika's effects on the brain, plus what it’s like to do research during a public health emergency.

About the Participants

Read More

  • Scientists Find Molecular Link Between Zika and Microcephaly
  • Sophisticated 'Mini-Brains' Add to Evidence of Zika's Toll on Fetal Cortex
Written by Lindsay Borthwick

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