During brain development, cortical layers are established by the migration of newly born neurons from proliferative zones into the developing cortical wall and their incorporation into neuronal circuits. Disruption of the architecture of the neocortex is associated with more than 25 neurological disorders, including epilepsy, schizophrenia, autism, and mental retardation. Mutations in human cadherin genes, which encode a group of cell surface receptors enriched in the brain, have been linked to epilepsy, mental retardation, autism spectrum disorder, and Alzheimer disease. Using cell biological techniques, the researchers will examine how several members of the cadherin superfamily cooperate to regulate cell migration during neocortical development. Knowledge of how these receptors control migration will be relevant for understanding the mechanisms leading to pathological changes associated with several neurological disorders, including autism.