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Anastasiades Lab

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Prefrontal Cortex Circuits

The prefrontal cortex is involved in high-level cognition and  functions as an important junction between cortical and limbic brain regions. We aim to understand the properties of the long-range and local connections that mediate prefrontal circuits, focusing on how connectivity depends on presynaptic and postsynaptic neuronal identity. The lab is also interested in understanding how the components of cortical circuits and their connectivity vary across individual regions, particularly how prefrontal circuits differ to those in sensory cortices.

Circuit Development

Central to deciphering the complex connectivity that underlies cortical function are the mechanisms that give rise to cortical connectivity during development. This is particularly important because a number of neuropsychiatric disorders, such as schizophrenia and autism, are thought to occur due to failure of these developmental processes. To better understand prefrontal development we aim to determine how the properties of prefrontal circuits change as we grow, with particular focus on changes during the period of adolescence. As we learn more about how the circuit forms, we are now beginning to explore how circuit development is disrupted in rodent models of autism.


Neuromodulators play an integral role in prefrontal cortex function. We study how individual components of prefrontal circuits are impacted by neuromodulation and the overall impact on circuit dynamics. Dopamine is thought to be involved in a range of neuropsychiatric disorders and we are particularly interested in understanding how aberrant prefrontal dopamine causes deficits in neural signaling within the PFC and associated brain regions.

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Paul Anastasiades

I completed my PhD with Simon Butt working on cortical interneuron diversity & sensory cortex circuit development.

I then moved to NYU for a postdoc with Adam Carter focusing on the circuitry of the PFC. 

I recently returned to the UK to start a lab at the University of Bristol. We focus on understanding the development of PFC circuits and how this process becomes disrupted in neurodevelopmental disorders

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Diego Mediane

Originally from Italy, I came to the UK to study for an undergraduate degree in Psychology and Neuroscience. During this time I researched hand dominance in great apes, I also worked as a teaching assistant in a school for children with Autism. After an MSc in Neuroscience at the University of Brisol, I stayed on as a PhD student to work on the circuit underpinnings of social behaviour in Autism models. I am co-supervised by Emma Cahill


Shinjini Basu

My work in the Anastasiades lab focuses on how long-range connections between the cerebellum and prefrontal cortex are disrupted in a model of autism spectrum disorders (ASD). Before moving to Bristol, I received my PhD from the University of Edinburgh, working in the laboratory of Prof Peter Kind.  

My PhD focused on how morphology of the axon initial segment was altered during fear and anxiety in models of ASD

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Luca Discepolo


I received my Masters degree in Neuroscience from the University of Trieste. This included one year at the University of Oxford on an Erasmus Scholarship. There I worked in the lab of Simon Butt, studying the development of corticothalamic neurons. I am now focusing on mapping the synaptic development of the prefrontal cortex. I am co-supervised by Mike Ashby

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We are happy to hear from potential PhD students and postdocs interested in joining the lab.

We currently have fully funded postdoctoral and lab technician roles available.
Please get in touch to find out more. 

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Recent Publications
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Mediodorsal and ventromedial thalamus engage distinct L1 circuits in the prefrontal cortex

Cell-type-specific D1 dopamine receptor modulation of projection neurons and interneurons in the prefrontal cortex

Parallel circuits linking the prefrontal cortex

with dorsal and ventral thalamus

Cell-type specific excitation and inhibition in the prefrontal cortex

Anastasiades PG*, Collins DP*

et al (2021) Neuron 

Anastasiades PG, et al. (2019)

Cerebral Cortex

Collins DP*, Anastasiades PG*,

et al (2018) Neuron 

Anastasiades PG, et al. (2018) Cell Reports

Journal Articles

Google Scholar 

  • Longo F, Aryal S, Anastasiades PG, Marta M, Baimel C, Albanese F, Taboor J, Zhu J, Oliveira M, Gastoldo D, Bagni C, Santini E, Tritsch N, Carter AG, Klann E. (2023) Cell type-specific disruption of cortico-striatal circuitry drives repetitive patterns of behavior in fragile X syndrome model mice. Cell Reports. 42(8)

  • Ghezzi F*, Marques-Smith A*, Anastasiades PG, Lyngholm D, Vagnoni C, Rowett A, Parameswaran G, Hoerder-Suabedissen A, Nakagawa Y, Molnár Z, Butt SJB. Non-canonical role for Lpar1-EGFP subplate neurons in early postnatal mouse somatosensory cortex. eLife. 10:e60810


  • Anastasiades PG*, Collins DP*, Carter AG. (2021). Mediodorsal and ventromedial thalamus engage distinct L1 circuits in the prefrontal cortex. Neuron. Jan 20;109(2):314-330

  • Anastasiades PG, Boada C, Carter AG (2019). Cell-type-specific D1 dopamine receptor modulation of projection neurons and interneurons in the prefrontal cortex. Cerebral Cortex. Jul 5;29(7):3224-3242

  • Collins DP*, Anastasiades PG*, Marlin JJ, Carter AG (2018). Parallel circuits linking the prefrontal cortex with dorsal and ventral thalamus. Neuron. Apr 18;98(2):366-379 

    • Cover article, see also journal preview: Halassa MM (2018). Fronto-thalamic architectures for cognitive algorithms. Neuron. Apr 18;98(2):237-239

  • Anastasiades PG, Marlin JJ, Carter AG (2018). Cell-type specific excitation and inhibition in the prefrontal cortex. Cell Reports. Jan 16;22(3):679-692


  • Anastasiades PG*, Marques-Smith A*, Lyngholm D, Lickiss T, Raffiq S, Kätzel D, Miesenböck G, Butt SJ (2016). GABAergic interneurons form transient layer-specific circuits in early postnatal neocortex. Nature Communications. Feb 4;7:10584


  • Anastasiades PG, Butt SJ (2012). A role for silent synapses in the development of the pathway from layer 2/3 to 5 pyramidal cells in the neocortex. Journal of Neuroscience. Sep 19;32(38):13085-99

Reviews & Commentaries

  • Anastasiades PG, Banerjee A, Jones MW (2023). Three species is better than one: multiscale, multimodal, multi-species analyses of prefrontal cortical form, physiology and function. The Journal of Physiology. Jan; 601(1):21‑23​

  • Anastasiades PG*, De Vivo L*, Bellesi M, Jones MW (2022). Adolescent sleep and the foundations of prefrontal cortical development and dysfunction. Progress in Neurobiology Nov 2022;218:102338

  • Anastasiades PG, Carter AG (2021). Circuit organization of the rodent medial prefrontal cortex. Trends in Neuroscience. Jul; 44(7):550-563

  • Collins DP, Anastasiades PG (2019). Cellular specificity of cortico-thalamic loops for motor planning. Journal of Neuroscience. Apr 3; 39(14): 2577-2580. 

  • Anastasiades PG*, Marques-Smith A*, Butt SJ (2018). Studies of cortical connectivity using optical circuit mapping methods. The Journal of Physiology. Jan 15; 596(2):145-162

  • Anastasiades PG, Butt SJ (2011). Decoding the transcriptional basis for GABAergic interneuron diversity in the mouse neocortex. European Journal of Neuroscience. Nov;34(10):1542-52­

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t: +44 117 455 8286


lab address:

Dorothy Hodgkin Building

Whitson Street



The lab is funded with generous support from:
The University of Bristol
The Royal Society
The Academy of Medical Sciences
The Brain & Behaviour Research Foundation 
Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions
The Elizabeth Blackwell Institute/Wellcome Trust
The Scobie Family


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