Read our recent publication on asymmetry in the chimpanzee brain

published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society, London.

Learn more about some of ongoing work on domestication in the Canid and Artiodactyl brain.

Dolphins have small hippocampi that lack adult neurogenesis

Neuro-SMART high school students present their research at the DMU Research Symposium.

Central Campus and EBL awarded a Verizon Foundation Innovative Learning Grant to expand their high school brain research module! 

Neuro-SMART gets a STEM BEST Award!


The Evolving Brain Laboratory (EBL) is an educational and research initiative dedicated to the study of comparative neuroanatomy and the evolutionary origins of the human brain. 


Our Work: We use a histological framework in conjunction with phylogenetically informed procedures to investigate the neuroanatomical features underlying the behavioral repertoire of mammalian species.


Our Focus: To date our work has primarily centred around the study of brain asymmetry, exploring scaling relationships at different levels of organization and characterizing the phenotypic changes that accompanied the evolution of large brains.

Our Commitment to the region has also seen us gear some of our work towards the study of indigenous and domestic animals that play a pivotal role in the livelihood of the local community.

We are located within the Anatomy Department at Des Moines University upon the backdrop of the beautiful and friendly City of Des Moines, Iowa. PI- Muhammad Spocter

25, 26 JULY

Neuroanatomy in an Afternoon-  Teachers Workshop- Free!

Target Audience: High School  & Community College science educators REGISTRATION

22 OCT

The 33rd Karger Workshop in Evolutionary Neuroscience will be held virtually

23 OCT

40th Annual Meeting of the J.B. Johnston Club for Evolutionary Neuroscience  -JBJC


3200 Grand Avenue

Department of Anatomy

Des Moines University

Des Moines, IA 50312   

​Tel: 515-271-7485     


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16 JAN

First day of class for the Spring semester of the high school comparative neuroanatomy STEM Class (Neuro-SMART)


Feb, 2020

We completed our preliminary description of the major sensory cortical areas of the African Wild Dog (Lycaon pictus). This work was the result of a Carnegie-Wits Alumni fellowship funding collaborative links between Des  Moines University and the University of Witwatersrand (South Africa). Click the link to read more about the project. Some recent  publications emerging from this project are shown below:

Chengetania, S., Tenley, J., Bertelson, M,F., Hard, T., Bhagwandin, A., Haagensen, M., Tang, C., Wicinski, B., Hof, P.R., Manger, P.R., & Spocter, M.A (2020). The brain of the African wild dog. I. Anatomy, architecture and volumetrics. Journal of Comparative Neurology. -link

October 25, 2018

The Neuro-SMART program

awarded a STEM BEST® award

from the Iowa Governor's STEM Advisory Council. This program is now recognized as one of 50 innovative models in Iowa working to unite the workplace with the classroom. 

© 2011 by Evolving Brain Laboratory (EBL)

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