Universitat Rovira i Virgili

Neuroscience- What do we research on?



The Research Group of the Histology and Neurobiology Unit (UHNeurob) at the URV, recognized by the Generalitat as a consolidated group, focuses its research on Cellular Neurobiology, in particular on the study of the basic mechanisms of activity-dependent synaptic regulation. We focus on the study of the intracellular signaling that neurotrophic, muscarinic, and purinergic receptors trigger and that converges into kinases to regulate neurotransmission. The synapse model is the neuromuscular junction.

This research line results in the knowledge of the mechanisms that regulate synaptic connectivity during development, maturity, aging, and disease.

During development, we study the mechanisms that lead synaptic competition between neurons to innervate a single target cell. The consequence of this competition is the establishment of the stable, but plastic, adult pattern of synaptic connections, which is of great importance during learning and memory.

The UHNeurob group is also very interested in the study of the cellular and molecular mechanisms of neuromuscular diseases and, in particular, of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). We also investigate the cellular and molecular changes of the neuromuscular system during aging. The ultimate goal is, in both cases, the identification of therapeutic targets that prevent the disconnection and degeneration of the neuromuscular synapse in order to delay or prevent the neuronal degeneration that takes place in both cases. This research has a high interest for the society as preserving the neuromuscular junction will improve the motor activities of people affected by a neuromuscular impairment.

Methodological approaches characteristic of microscopy, biochemistry, cellular and molecular biology, and omic technologies are used. We use animal models from rat and mouse, some of them transgenics, and physical exercise and ex-vivo electrical stimulation techniques are applied to increase neuromuscular synaptic activity.