Bruno Mota

Life Sciences, Physics

Why does the brain have the shape it does? This is the question that cosmologist Bruno Mota seeks to answer by applying methods from physics to understand the development of this organ. Bruno, who has a traditional academic background, completed his undergraduate and master’s degrees in physics at the Federal University of Minas Gerais (UFMG) and earned his doctorate in cosmology at the Brazilian Center for Physics Research. Interestingly, it was during a samba circle that he had a conversation that would shape his post-doctoral research. Bruno was drawn to neuroscience due to the way a simple process can lead to complexity in the brain over time, seeing parallels with his field of study. Currently at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ), he is investigating the physical laws that govern the development and form of the human nervous system, seeking commonalities between the physical and biological realms.


Unraveling the Origins of Biological Form in Neuroscience
Science / Physics

Physics and neuroscience, while distinct in their methods, histories, and academic cultures, are increasingly intersecting. Thanks to advancements in experimental and computational techniques, we can now access precise and detailed quantitative data on the brain’s structure and development. The goal is to leverage these data, along with methods and insights from Physics, to uncover some fundamental principles of theoretical neuroscience.

Instead of providing a detailed description of the brain, the focus is on developing models that explain its morphology and development based on simple fundamental principles. These models aim to produce testable quantitative predictions and explain biological structures in all their diversity, not just specific cases. The goal is to uncover hidden regularities behind a vast array of shapes and sizes and start answering questions such as, what are the universal rules that govern the shape of the brain? How can relatively simple processes of neuron proliferation and migration reliably form the mammalian cerebral cortex?

Amount invested

1st phase: R$ 100,000.00
2nd phase: R$ 1,000,000.00 (R$ 700,000.00 + R$ 300,000.00 optional bonus for the integration and training of people from underrepresented groups in science)

Open Calls

Chamada 1
  • Topics
  • cérebro
  • Form
  • Neurons
  • Neuroscience
  • Origin
  • Principles
  • Structure
  • theoretical physics