The Division of Developmental Neurobiology was founded in 2000 under the leadership of Professor Andrew Lumsden (pictured below) as part of the School of Biomedical Science at King's College London. The Division was initially launched as a 5-years partnership between the Medical Research Council and King's College London to promote research in this rapidly expanding area of neuroscience, and it soon became known as the MRC Centre for Developmental Neurobiology. Professor Andrew Lumsden was appointed as Director of the new Centre. The Centre was to occupy the entire fourth floor of New Hunt's House, a new research, library and teaching building on the Guy's Hospital Campus of King's College London.
The original mission of the Centre was to advance our understanding of brain development through a large variety of model organisms (worm, fruit fly, frog, zebrafish, chicken and mouse). During the next decade, researchers in the Centre investigated early brain development by combining gene discovery with functional analyses at molecular, biochemical, cell biological, anatomical, and physiological levels. The Centre gathered the expertise of specialists from a wide range of disciplines and focused their research on this mission.
The Division renewed its 5-years partnership with the Medical Research Council in 2005 and again in 2010, even though Centres are only typically funded for 10 years. Over this period, the Centre grew to comprise nearly thirty laboratories and 150 scientists, students, and staff working on the development of the nervous system. In 2012, Professor Andrew Lumsden stepped down as Head of the Division of Developmental Neurobiology, and Professor Corinne Houart was appointed as Acting Head of Division with the mandate to lead the recruitment of a new Director for the Centre.
Professor Oscar Marín was appointed as new Head of the Division of Developmental Neurobiology and Director of the MRC Centre for Developmental Neurobiology in July 2014. His vision for the Centre included strengthening the links between neural development and the emergence of brain function, and advancing our understanding of neurological and psychiatric disorders that are caused by abnormal brain development.
In September 2014, the Centre, along with the Wolfson Centre for Age-Related Diseases, integrated in the Division of Neuroscience within the newly formed Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience (IoPPN). As part of the restructuring, former Divisions became Departments under the IoPPN. In parallel, the Department took new laboratory space in the Hodgkin building within Guy's campus, where some laboratories relocated.
In November 2015, the partnership between the Department and the Medical Research Council came to an end. Over the past 15 years, the MRC Centre for Developmental Neurobiology exceeded expectations and became internationally renowned as one of the leaders for research and training in developmental neuroscience. Professor Marín continues to steer the Department of Developmental Neurobiology towards new discoveries with a redefined set of programmes tailored for a new research agenda.