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Research Group
Cellular plasticity and neuropathology
Unit Unit Molecular Neurobiology and Neuropathology »

Principal Investigator Graduate students / Research Assistant Technician
Research Fields
The goal of our lab is to understand how brain’s innate immune cells integrate within neural circuits to influence brain function in health and disease. The questions we pursue are grounded in understanding the interplay between brain physiology and the brain’s innate immune system, as a central axis controlling homeostasis and disease. Our research is focused in two lines: (1) Understanding integrated brain circuits: we aim to elucidate the roles of neuron-microglia interactions at multiple levels, from synapses to neural circuits, in the control of brain function in health and disease. (2) Investigating cellular plasticity of immune cells of the brain: the ability of innate immune cells of the brain to adopt alternative fates when exposed to different conditions is now emerging as an important process in normal physiology and in disease conditions, such as aging and neurodegenerative diseases. We seek to understand how microglia cells interpret cues from their tissue microenvironment to adopt specialized roles. We have particular interest in unveiling the molecular mechanisms regulating the transitions and maintenance of distinct phenotypic and functional states of brain’s innate immune cells.

Our ultimate goal is to develop novel approaches for the treatment of chronic neurodegenerative conditions by modulating immunity and neuroinflammation. We combine animal models of neurodegenerative disease (epilepsy) and neuroinflammation, samples from patients with the associated pathologies, mouse genetics, transcriptomics and epigenetic analyses at cell population and single-cell levels, and state-of-the-art histological, cellular and molecular biology methods and techniques.

Representative Publications

Lopez-Atalaya JP , Askew KE , Sierra A , Gomez-Nicola D. " Development and maintenance of the brain’s immune. Toolkit: Microglia and non-parenchymal brain macrophages. " Dev Neurobiol . 78(6) , 561 - 579 ( 2018 )

Lopez-Atalaya JP , Barco A " Can changes in histone acetylation contribute to memory formation? " Trends Genet . 30(12) , 529 - 539 ( 2014 )

Lopez-Atalaya JP , Ito S, Valor LM, Benito E and Barco A " Genomic targets, and histone acetylation and gene expression profiling of neural HDAC inhibition. " Nucleic Acids Res . 41(17) , 8072 - 8084 ( 2013 )

Lopez-Atalaya JP , Gervasini C, Mottadelli F, Spena S, Piccione M, Scarano G, Selicorni A, Barco A, Larizza L " Histone acetylation deficits in lymphoblastoid cell lines from patients with Rubinstein-Taybi syndrome. " J Med Genet . 49(1) , 66 - 74 ( 2012 )

Lopez-Atalaya JP , Ciccarelli A, Viosca J, Valor LM, Jimenez-Minchan M, Canals S, Giustteto M and Barco A " CBP is required for environmental enrichment-induced neurogenesis and cognitive enhancement " EMBO Journal . 30(20) , 4287 - 4298 ( 2011 )
Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas
Universidad Miguel Hernández

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