Revealing causes for neuronal migration disorders
- a comparative approach
ZHANG, Zhejing
Ph.D. Student, Graduate School of Biostudies
Host Institution in Germany: Institute of Biology II, RWTH Aachen University
Year of Award: FY 2020

Host Researchers in Germany: 

  • Prof Geraldine Zimmer-Bensch, Institute of Biology, II RWTH Aachen University


  • Two closed meetings and one joint symposium


  • We aim to start collaborative research to clarify the impact of mechanical stress on neuronal migration during brain development.

ECR in Germany: 

  • Dr Geraldine Zimmer-Bensch, Institute of Biology, II RWTH Aachen University
  • Host Researcher at Kyoto University: Prof. Mineko Kengaku, Institute for Integrated Cell-Material Sciences, Institute for Advanced Study (KUIAS-iCeMS)
*International travel was restricted due to the effects of COVID-19 and online activities were conducted alternatively.

Motivation for application

To launch a new collaborative study for comparative analysis of the mechanisms of neuronal migration

At Kengaku lab, we study the dynamics and mechanisms of neuronal migration in the developing mouse brain using the cerebellar granule cell as a model. Prof Zimmer-Bensch, the co-applicant, studies migration of newborn interneurons in the developing cerebral cortex.

In order to launch a new collaborative study for comparative analysis of the mechanisms of neuronal migration, we applied for AI DA to exchange young researchers to share the skills and knowledge of both parties.



Two closed meetings and one joint symposium

With restrictions on international travels, we gave up the exchange program that ws originally planned. Instead, Therefore, we planned an online mini-symposium for the purpose of understanding each other’s research on the collaboration. The budget was used to build an online conference platform. Two young researchers from Kyoto University and two from Aachen gave presentations, and there was a lively exchange of questions and discussions, which deepened mutual understanding. 

Follow-up meeting for further discussion

At the follow-up meeting by co-hosts, Dr Zimmer proposed to have further discussion about the live-imaging using the patterned substrate used in my study. We thus had another meeting with Dr Pensold and Dr Nalazawa (Assis Prof of Kengaku Lab). 

Exchange of protcols for pilot studies

We exchanged protocols for pilot studies of the collaboration project.



We will continue exchanging ideas and progress of the collaboration project online. Pending the easing of travel restrictions, we plan to accept Dr Pensold’s visit and conduct joint research.


At our lab

At our lab 2