Dr. Alfredo Cáceres
Was born in 1952 in Córdoba, Argentina. He graduated as a physician in 1975 from the School of Medicine (National University of Córdoba) and obtained a PhD in Medicine (1979) from the same University supervised by Dr. Samuel Taleisnik. At the Instituto Mercedes Martín Ferreyra (INIMEC-CONICET-UNC). He did postdoctoral work (1980-1982) with Dr. Oswald Steward (University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Virginia, USA) and Dr. Gary A. Banker (Albany Medical College, New York, USA) work that establish the existence of fundamental differences in the organization of the axonal and dendritic cytoskeleton and lead to the concept of neuronal polarity. Since 1982 he is a member of the National Research Council of Argentina (CONICET) and currently the Director of the Instituto Investigación Médica Mercedes Martín Ferreyra (INIMEC-CONICET-UNC). He has been a Visiting Scientist at the Center Neurological Diseases (Harvard Medical School, Boston, USA, 1989-1990), Visiting Professor at the Dyson Vision Institute (Cornell Medical College, NYC, USA, 2003-2004) and at the Max Plank Institute of Biophysical Chemistry (Göttingen, Germany, 2014). From 1997 to 2006 he was an International Research Scholar of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) and in 2018 was elected Associate Member of the European Molecular Biology Organization (EMBO). He has received several awards and prizes including the Fogarty International Fellowship (1980), the Guggenheim Fellowship (2002), the Alexander von Humboldt Research Award (2013) and the Konex Award (2013). He has published more than 90 articles in international peer-reviewed journal, supervised 15 PhD theses, many undergraduate students and postdoctoral fellows. He is a member of the Society of Neuroscience (SfN, USA), the American Society of Cell Biology (ASCB, USA) and the Argentine Society of Neuroscience, where he served as Vice-President.
The research of Dr. Cáceres group seeks to obtain insignhts about the participation of cytoskeletal proteins in the development of neuronal polarity. A combination of cellular and molecular biology procedures, including advanced imaging techniques in living cells, is currently being used in his laboratory. Neurons are highly polarized cells capable of generating a long axon and several highly branched dendrites. Axons and dendrites differ in their cytoskeleton components, distribution of organelles, membrane proteins, and their function. The knowledge of the cellular and molecular mechanisms involved in the development and maintenance of neuronal polarity is fundamental to understand how the nervous circuits are generated and how they function. This information is also of great importance to understand the pathogenesis of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's. During the last 30 years, our research group has been dedicated to study the role of the cytoskeleton and signaling pathways (e.g., small RhoGTPases: RhoA, Rac, Cdc42, etc.) in the establishment of neuronal polarity. At present, we study the organization and dynamics of microtubules, actin filaments, and RhoA during axonal formation using multidimensional microscopy and nanoscopy (STED, STORM). We also study the biogenesis of membrane organelles, such as dendritic mini-Golgi apparatuses (GOPs) and the regulation of the differential traffic of membrane proteins to axons and dendrites. Finally, we studied the morpho-dynamics events of neuronal polarization in embryonic stem cells of murine origin and in iPSCs ("Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells") obtained from normal individuals and with genetic variants associated with Alzheimer's disease.
Dr. Mónica Sanchez
Dr. Mónica Silvina Sanchez graduated as Biochemistry from the National University of Córdoba, Argentina in 1995 and in 2000 obtained her Doctorate in Chemical Sciences from the same University. She completed her post-doctoral studies at the Center of Excellence in Products and Processes of the Province of Córdoba (CEPROCOR), under the guidance of Drs. Alfredo Cáceres and Carlos Landa. She is currently an Adjunct Researcher of the National Council for Scientific and Technical Research (CONICET) and carries out her research work in the Neurobiology Laboratory of the Mercedes and Martin Ferreyra Institute in Córdoba, Argentina. She is currently studying the effect of rotenone, a naturally-occurring compound widely used as an insecticide, on the development of the polarity of hippocampal neurons in rat embryos. Taking into account the few existing data on the effect of rotenone on the central nervous system, her work studies whether the insecticide has a marked neurotoxic effect on developing hippocampal neurons and, more importantly, the cellular mechanisms by which the pesticide affects the development of neuronal polarity. Therefore, their findings highlight the importance of establishing rigorous control over the use of the pesticide to protect the health of mammals.
Dr. Agustín Anastasía
Dr. Agustin Anastasia is a biologist (2004) and PhD (2009), graduated from the National University of Córdoba. His doctoral studies were conducted under the direction of Dr. Daniel H. Masco at the Centro de Biología Celular y Molecular (CeBiCeM, National University of Córdoba) with a CONICET fellowship. During his PhD, Dr. Anastasia studied neuroprotection mechanisms of the nigrostriatal dopaminergic system induced by enriched environment and electro-convulsive therapy. In 2010, he emigrated to the United States where he carried out postdoctoral training for 5 years in the laboratory of Dr. Barbara L. Hempstead at Weill Cornell Medical College in New York. His studies were carried out in collaboration with Dr. Francis S. Lee and Dr. Moses V. Chao. His research focused on clarifying the activation mechanisms of the neurotrophin receptor p75NTR and the study of a single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) in the BDNF gene that is highly associated with an increased risk to develop psychiatric and neurodegenerative diseases. In 2015 Dr. Anastasia returned to Argentina as CONICET (National Research Council) Researcher and established his laboratory at the Instituto Ferreyra (INIMEC-CONICET-Universidad Nacional de Córdoba). Dr. Anastasia is a Professor of Neurophysiology and Psychophysiology at the School of Psychology (Universidad Nacional de Córdoba), and Professor of Cell Biology at the Instituto Universitario de Ciencias Biomédicas de Córdoba (IUCBC).
Dr. Mariano Bisbal
Dr. Bisbal obtained his Biologist degree at the Faculty of Exact, Physical and Natural Sciences of the National University of Córdoba (FCEFyN-UNC), Argentina and completed his studies obtaining his Ph.D in Biological Sciences at the same University. He moved to Grenoble, France where he performed two post-doctoral stays at the Grenoble Institute of Neurosciences (Grenoble Institute of Neuroscience - INSERM (2009-2013)). During this period, he studied the development of neuronal polarity using substrate micropattern techniques and, later, he investigated the role of the microtubule associated protein MAP6 during the formation and maintenance of dendritic spines. In 2013, he came back to Argentine, where he joined the Neurobiology laboratory at the Instituto de Investigación "Mercedes y Martín Ferreyra” in Córdoba to start his own research line and establish his laboratory. He is currently a Research Associate from CONICET. The project led by Dr. Bisbal studies the cellular and molecular mechanisms involved in the regulation of the formation and maintenance of neuronal polarity, a critical phenomenon to understand both the development and normal functioning of the nervous system, as well as the pathogenesis of neurodegenerative diseases.
Dr. Nicolás Unsain
Nicolás Unsain graduated as B.Sc. at the School of Natural and Exact Sciences, Universidad Nacional de Córdoba (FCEFyN-UNC). Later, he performed his doctoral thesis with Dr Daniel Masco at the Centro de BiologíaCelular y Molecular (CeBiCeM-UNC) where he obtained his PhD from Universidad Nacional de Córdoba in 2009. During his PhD thesis he studied the role of neurotrophins and their receptors in the induction of neuronal death during prolonged seizures.
In the year 2009 he obtained a postdoctoral fellowship from the government of Canada to perform postdoctoral studies in the laboratory of Dr Phil A Barker, in the Montreal Neurological Institute, in McGill University. There, he stayed for 5 years studying, among other things, molecular pathways involved in axonal degeneration and the physiology of the so called Death Receptors.
In mid-2014 he returned to Argentina to start his own laboratory at the Instituto de Investigación Médica Mercedes y Martín Ferreyra (INIMEC-CONICET-UNC). He is currently a Research Associate from CONICET.
Dr Unsain’s main research interest is to decipher molecular mechanisms underlying neuronal axon degeneration, with the hope to understand the pathophysiology of numerous neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s, Alzheimer, glaucoma, among others.
Dr. Mauricio Martín
Dr. Mauricio Martín obtained his Bachelor's Degree in Biotechnology from the Faculty of Biochemical and Pharmaceutical Sciences of the National University of Rosario, Argentina and completed his studies obtaining the title of Doctor of Biochemical Sciences from the Institute of Molecular and Cellular Biology de Rosario (IBR) at the same University. He then moved to Spain, where he carried out a post-doctoral stay at the Center for Biological Research (CIB-CSIC) in Madrid. In 2005, he began his studies in neurobiology, analyzing the changes in the composition of lipids that occur in neuronal membranes during neuronal aging, in the laboratory of Dr. Carlos Dotti at the Cavalieri Ottolenghi Foundation, Università degli Studi di Torino, Italy. In 2006, he moved with the same laboratory to the Flanders Institute of Bitechnology (VIB), Department of Developmental Molecular Genetics and Katholieke Universiteit Leuven in Belgium, where he studied the role of neuronal cholesterol loss in cognitive deficits that occur during the aging.
In 2011, he worked as a Research Scientist in Dr. Dotti's laboratory at the Severo Ochoa Center for Molecular Biology (CBMSO-CSIC-UAM) in Madrid, where he started with a new line aimed at studying the epigenetic changes that occur during aging that produce learning and memory defects. In 2014, he joined the Neurobiology laboratory of the “Mercedes y Martín Ferreyra” Medical Research Institute in Córdoba, Argentina. He is currently an Independent Investigator of the National Council for Scientific and Technical Research (CONICET). The project led by Dr. Martín studies the relationship between brain dysfunction during aging, epigenetic alterations and lipid composition in neuronal membranes.
Dr. Cecilia Conde
Dr. Cecilia Conde is an Investigator of the National Council of Scientific and Technical Research (CONICET). She received her degree in Chemical Sciences (1991) at the School of Chemical Sciences - National University of Cordoba, Argentina. She was as a Post-doctoral training in the field of Human Genetics and Molecular Biology, focusing on neuromuscular diseases at the Laboratory of Neurogenetics (1998-2004) - Institute for Medical Research Mercedes y Martín Ferreyra INIMEC - CONICET, Argentina. During this time, she performed brief stays in France (2000, Laboratory of Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics. Hospital Cochin and Hospital Ambroise Pare), USA (2001, Kleberg Cytogenetics Laboratory, Baylor College of Medicine and at the Margaret M. Dyson Vision Research Institute, Weill Cornell Medical College). Her group focuses on the intracellular mechanisms controlling the differential distribution of organelles of the endolysosomal pathway in dendrites of developing and mature neurons.
Dr. Pablo H. H. López
Dr. Pablo Héctor Horacio Lopez received his Bachelor degree in Clinical Biochemistry at the National University of Córdoba (UNC), Argentina in 1998 and obtained his Ph.D. in Chemical Sciences from the same University in 2002. He emigrated to the Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD-USA to carry out two postdoctoral studies between the years 2003-2009. There, he worked first in the Department of Neurology in the “Development of Experimental Models of Axonal Peripheral Neuropathy” under the supervision of Dr. Kazim A. Sheikh. Then, he studied different physiological aspects of the Myelin-Associated Glycoprotein (MAG), a lectin with a key role in axon-myelin communication, at the Department of Pharmacology and Molecular Neurosciences under the supervision of Dr. Ronald L. Schnaar. At the end of 2009, he returned to the country through the Return home program from the National Agency for Scientific and Technological Promotion and UNC. He is currently an Independent Researcher from the National Council of Scientific and Technical Research (CONICET) and directs a Laboratory at the Ferreyra Institute in Córdoba, Argentina. He also served as Assistant Professor of the Faculty of Psychology from UNC.
His laboratory has two main lines of research. One of them studies the mechanisms of neuronal protection derived from the axon-myelin interaction, with special emphasis on the neuroprotective role of MAG against mechanisms of neurotoxicity and apoptosis. The other line of research focuses on the study of the inhibitory role of anti-ganglioside antibodies associated with the Guillain Barrè syndrome on nerve repair.
Dr. Mariana Bollo
Dr Mariana Bollo graduated as a Microbiologist at the National University of Rio IV, Argentina and obtained her Ph.D. in Biology Sciences at the same University in 2003. Then, she was a post-doctoral fellow in the Department of Physiology, University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio (UTHSCSA), USA. She is currently Associate Researcher (Facylty e.q.) of the National Council for Scientific and Technical Research (CONICET), Argentina.
Her laboratory focuses on understanding the signalling pathway underlying the calcium regulation of Endoplamic Reticulum perturbation and its relationship to pathological conditions.
One specific area of research is an investigation of the underlying protective mechanisms mediated by Calcineurin β and moderated cytosolic Ca2+ rise after brain injury.
A second area of research focused on the role of the unfolded protein response (UPR) in change the susceptibility of neurons to undergo apoptosis in GM2-gangliosidosis.