Our lab is interested in how a brain develops and how it is protected from disorders, like intellectual disability and neurodegeneration.Although the emphasis in the media and, even the scientific literature tends to be on brain disease, it is worth remembering that vastmajority of people - and indeed animals - are in fact healthy and do not suffer from brain disorders. In fact, brain health is so robustthat often even individuals with mutations that could lead to disease do not develop the symptoms. How does brain developmentresist dysregulation more than 95% of the time? How did the brain evolve to be so robust to ageing, toxic insults and even geneticmutations? To answer these questions, we study the normal process of brain formation as well as the genes that keep the brainhealthy for as long as possible. To do this, we use different models, such as the fruit fly, the mouse and neurons cultured in a dish.We examine how neurons are born in the brain, how they connect to each other and how they work together to drive behavior. Weexamine what happens to these different aspects as animals age, or when they are engineered to carry certain mutations. We areespecially interested in genes which when mutated make the development or ageing of the brain less robust.