In the Arlotta lab, I will explore the molecular programs that allow different neural cells in the brain to acquire their specific identities and establish connections with their intended targets. Neurons in the brain’s cerebral cortex reach out to locations all along the brain and spine, allowing animals to consciously control their movement and process and integrate sensory information. But how does the embryo know how to generate the right type and combinations of neurons during development? Using mouse models and techniques in developmental neurobiology, molecular genetics, and genomics, I will generate a detailed molecular map at the single-cell level that follows the orchestrated generation of the different classes of neurons as they are born and become connected. With this map I aim to identify the functional molecular code that imposes on each neuron its unique characteristics and allows them to connect to their specific targets. Results from this work could contribute to the development of a model for how one of the most evolved regions in the mammalian brain is built.