John Allman, M.D., Ph.D.
Professor of Neurobiology, California Institute of TechnologyWebsite
John Allman’s interests lie in the evolutionary and ontogenetic development of brain. His colleagues and he are continuing to examine the function and developmental timeline of anterior cingulate cortex, particularly the uniquely hominoid anterior cingulate spindle cells. They are using a variety of histological methods to visualize the complex structure of these cells and will be performing computer simulations of the cells’ activity in the living brain. They are also pursuing several lines of research investigating evolutionary pressures and scaling relationships in mammalian brains. They have performed computer-assisted imaging of living and fixed brains of modern species as well as subfossil and fossil samples of extinct species. These images are being used to reconstruct the brain in three dimensions and to make measurements of cortical surface areas and volumes. Finally, they are continuing research on the visual systems of primates. Allman and his colleagues are particularly interested in primitive primates, whose visual systems may provide insights into the early evolution of the primate lineage.