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What we do.

Today, Neuroscience is one of the most exciting areas of biomedical research. During the last two decades, the field of Neuroscience has made startling discoveries that have transformed our understanding of brain function and have helped to deliver novel treatments for diverse neurological disorders. The convergence of multiple biological disciplines allows now to address fundamental biological questions unapproachable few years ago, such as the molecular nature of memory, and to tackle nervous diseases that we thought incurable.

If you want to know more about the nervous system, you can find very good informative articles in the web targeted to a lay audience interested in neuroscience: Brain facts at the Society for Neuroscience website (pdf in english).
Viaje al Universo Neuronal published by FECYT (pdf in spanish, including an article by our group).

You can also check our article in "Mente y Cerebro" (Spanish edition of Scientific American-Mind):
La material de los recuerdos: circuitos neuronales y cascadas moleculares. Mente y Cerebro 40 (January 2010): 24-33. s free pdf s













Our research:

We are interested on the molecular mechanisms underlying learning and memory storage, more precisely in the role of transcriptional and epigenetic mechanisms in neuronal plasticity. We also investigate how the malfunction of these mechanisms may cause pathological situations in the nervous system.

To investigate these questions, we use a multidisciplinary approach that combines mouse genetics and genomics, molecular biology, physiology and behavioral studies.

Our research focuses on the following two areas:

1. Role of activity-dependent transcription in neuronal plasticity.

Alterations in patterns of gene expression are thought to underlie the long-lasting changes in the strength of synaptic connections between neurons responsible for the encoding of memories in the nervous system. A number of transcription factors have been involved in this process. We are investigating the details of the participation of activity-regulated transcription factors, such as members of the CREB family, in plasticity and memory.

2. Chromatin remodeling and neuronal plasticity.

The post-translational modification of histone proteins is thought to participate in the regulation of gene expression. Specifically, the acetylation and methylation of nucleosomes may provide a mechanism for epigenetic regulation of the activity of loci that are relevant in neuronal plasticity and behaviour. We are interested in exploring the contribution of histone modifications to learning, memory and other long-lasting modification of the animal’s behavior. We also investigate on different mouse model for neurological conditions, such as Huntington disease and some intellectual disability syndromes, in which these epigenetic mechanisms seem to be affected.

Our team and network:

Our group was originally created thanks to the support of the now extinct Marie Curie Excellence Grant Programme.

We are part of the Instituto de Neurociencias (UMH-CSIC), a center for scientific excelence "Severo Ochoa".

We have been awarded grants from the Prometeo Program of Generalitat Valenciana for Groups of Excellencia: Group NEUROCROM.

We are part of SynCogDys, a network formed by 10 research groups from universities and research institutes across Spain: Network SYNCOGDIS.

We are coordinating an ERA-NET NEURON collaborative grant with partners in Spain, Italy and Israel to investigate the molecular etiology of Rubinstein-Taybi syndrome: Group CHROMISYN.

We are members of an international consortium funded by HFSPO with researchers from USA (Jackson lab.) and Poland (Nencki Institute) with the goal of investigating the 3D organization of neuronal chromatin.

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Our methodological approach

We are using the following methodologies

 

Current funding by the following institutions and programs:

Our research is funded thanks to the support of various institutions, both public and private, national and international. Currently, we receive funding from the Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiviness (MINECO, Plan), the Generalitat Valenciana and the Human Frontiers Scientific Program Organization.

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Previous funding by the following institutions and programs:

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Instituto de Neurociencias
Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (CSIC)
Universidad Miguel Hernández (UMH)

Av. Santiago Ramón y Cajal s/n
03550 San Juan de Alicante

Alicante

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