Guillermina López-Bendito
Guillermina López-BenditoPrincipal Investigator
Investigador Cientifico CSIC, 2014; Cientifico Titular CSIC, 2007-2014
Ph.D. in Biology, CSIC-Universidad Miguel Hernández, 2000

Our research team runs several related projects studying the cellular and molecular mechanisms involved in the development of axonal connections in the brain. In particular, our aim is to uncover the principles underlying thalamocortical axonal wiring, maintenance and ultimately the rewiring of connections, through an integrated experimental programme.

Miguel Valdeolmillos
Miguel ValdeolmillosSenior Scientist
Professor of Physiology. UMH, 2000
Ph.D. in Medicine, Universidad de Valladolid 1982

I have a lasting interest in intracellular signaling in the context of cell communication. Since I joined the lab in 2013, I have been collaborating in the study of thalamic network´s development under normal conditions as well as using experimental paradigms that trigger thalamic plasticity.

Francisco J. Martini
Francisco J. MartiniSenior Scientist
Assistant Professor of Physiology. UMH, 2015
Postdoctoral Fellow at Biozentrum, Basel (2013-2015)
Postdoctoral Fellow at IN, Alicante (2010-2012)
Ph.D. in Neuroscience, CSIC-Universidad Miguel Hernández, 2010

I joined López-Bendito lab in June 2015. Combining electrophysiology and calcium imaging in vivo, I study the role of spontaneous and sensory-driven activity in thalamocortical development and cortical function. 

Eduardo Leyva Díaz
Eduardo Leyva Díaz Senior Scientist
Postdoctoral Research Scientist at Columbia University, New York, US (2015-2022)
Ph.D. in Neuroscience, CSIC-UMH, Alicante, Spain, 2014

I am interested in deciphering the gene regulatory mechanisms involved in the control of neuronal specification. Since I arrived to the lab in 2023, I am combining advanced neuronal profiling approaches with established genetics paradigms in different model systems to gain insight into the molecular regulation of neuronal identity, which may illuminate how disruption of these regulatory mechanisms contributes to neurological diseases.

Teresa Guillamón-Vivancos
Teresa Guillamón-VivancosPostdoctoral Researcher
Ph.D. in Anatomy & Neurobiology, Boston University School of Medicine, Boston, US, 2017

I’m interested in understanding how the interplay between intrinsic and extrinsic mechanisms during development leads to the emergence of different cell types and areas in the neocortex. Since I joined the lab, in November 2017, I’ve been studying the role of spontaneous activity in the arealization of the neocortex. I also look at how cortical neurons are arranged in the barrel field.

Daniel Torres Romero
Daniel Torres RomeroPostdoctoral Researcher

Ph.D in Neurosciences, Autonomous University of Madrid, Faculty of Medicine, Madrid, Spain, 2020

I arrived at the lab in September 2020 because I am interested in understanding the role played by perinatal activity in the formation of thalamocortical circuits. I use both in vitro and in vivo recordings of electrical activity and calcium imaging. I am interested in the biophysics and machine learning approaches too, such as matrix factorization, as a way to explore this kind of data.

Dorien Vandael
Dorien Vandael Postdoctoral Researcher

PhD in Biomedical Sciences VIB-KU Leuven, Center for Brain and Disease Research, Leuven, Belgium, 2021.

I am interested in the role of spontaneous neuronal activity in the development and refinement of the brain. Since I joined the lab in October 2021, I have been studying the role of spontaneous activity in the development of thalamic and cortical sensory networks.

Emily Wilson
Emily WilsonPostdoctoral Researcher
PhD in Anatomy and Cell Biology, Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University, Greenville, USA, 2021

Since joining the lab in May 2022 I have been exploring network connectivity between astrocytes and neurons rising from varying regions within the somatosensory pathway to determine the impact of region specificity on developing networks. I am particularly interested in investigating the onset and development of spontaneous activity in emerging thalamocortical networks using human-derived 3D models of development.

Fabrizio Favaloro
Fabrizio FavaloroPostdoctoral Researcher
Ph.D in Cell Biology, University of Basel, Biozentrum, Basel, Switzerland, 2020

Since I joined the lab, in February 2023, I have been interested in illuminating the anatomical organisation and functional contribution of inhibitory neurons to the developing Superior Colliculus circuitry. To this end, I use a combination of distinct approaches including sensory-deprived mouse models, in vivo meso-scale imaging and genetic manipulation of target cell populations.

Luwei Wang
Luwei WangPostdoctoral Researcher
PhD in Neuroscience, National Institute of Genetics, SOKENDAI, Mishima, Japan, 2022

I joined the lab in November 2023 since I am interested in studying spontaneous activity in cell- and layer-type specific manners. I am excited to explore spontaneous activity in vivo in both prenatal and early postnatal stages by combining the most cutting-edge techniques.

Elena Pérez MontoyoPostdoctoral Researcher

Mar Anibal Martínez
Mar Anibal MartínezGraduate Student
Biology degree, University of Alicante, 2014

Since I joined the lab in 2016, I have been interested in understanding the mechanisms involved in intramodal functional plasticity in the developing somatosensory system upon sensory deprivation.

Lorenzo Puche Aroca
Lorenzo Puche ArocaGraduate Student
Biology degree and Bioinformatic Master’s Degree, University of Murcia, 2018

I am a bioinformatician interested in performing genome-wide analysis to understand the molecular mechanisms underlying the temporal patterning in the developing thalamus. Since I joined the lab in 2018, I have been working on a research project aimed to unravel the genetic profile of developing thalamic neurons.

Chrysoula Giasafaki
Chrysoula GiasafakiGraduate Student
Biomedicine degree, University of Greenwich, 2016

Since I joined the lab in 2018, I have been studying the contribution of clonal progenitors in the establishment of functional radial columns in the primary somatosensory cortex.

Pablo Castellano Ruiz
Pablo Castellano RuizGraduate Student
Biology degree, University of Sevilla, 2018

I am interested in the importance of region-specific transcriptional signature in astrocytes and its importance in the recovery of sensory connections by the reprogramming of astrocytes to neurons. Since I joined the lab in 2019, I have been working on virally-mediated in vitro/in vivo reprogramming.

Francesco Dori
Francesco DoriGraduate Student
Neuroscience Master’s Degree, University of Trieste, 2019

Astrocytes and neurons share the expression of defined sets of genes, that are specific to the brain region in which they reside. Since I joined the lab in 2021 I am interested in exploring the functional meaning of the shared transcriptional «signature” between these two cell types, to deepen our understanding of astrocytic heterogeneity within their relationship with neurons.

Eleni Giannopoulou
Eleni GiannopoulouGraduate Student
Degree in Biology, University of Athens, Greece, 2018
Masters in Neurosciences, University of Athens, Greece, 2021

I have always been fascinated by how experience can sculpt the developing brain, navigating the complex interplay between environmental stimuli and intrinsic factors. This has led my focus toward brain plasticity and the mechanisms that underlie it. Since joining the lab in December 2023, I am interested in understanding how early sensory experience can define and refine the development and organization of sensory circuits, mainly using electrophysiology.

Luis M. Rodríguez Malmierca
Luis M. Rodríguez MalmiercaLab Manager Senior Technician

From 2012, I have been in charge of the maintenance of the laboratory stocks, cell cultures media, organotypic cultures, in situ hybridization and perfusion. I am also specialized in the electron microscopy technique. At present, I am doing electron microscopy in the prenatal and postnatal thalamus.

Belén Andrés Bayón
Belén Andrés BayónMouse Handling Senior Technician

Since I joined the laboratory in November 2014, I am in charge of the management of the transgenic mouse lines colonies of the laboratory. I am also specialized in the in utero electroporation technique of DNA constructs in thalamus and cortex.

Maria Aurelia Torregrosa Mira
Maria Aurelia Torregrosa MiraLaboratory Technician

Since I arrived in 2005 at the Institute of Neuroscience (UMH-CSIC) I have worked as a laboratory technician until today.
My responsibilities include molecular biology techniques in the laboratory, such as genotyping by PCR, DNA extraction, and probe production. In addition, I am in charge of virus production and cell culture management.

Helena Campos
Helena CamposEconomic Project Manager

Since I joined the laboratory in 2010, I have been in charge of the administrative management and financial aspects of the scientific projects of the lab.

Verónica Miguela Fernández
Verónica Miguela FernándezScientific Project Manager
Research Scientist at RenBio, Inc., New York, US (2019-2022)
Postdoctoral Research Scientist at the Oncological Sciences Department at Icahn School of Medicine, Mount Sinai Hospital, New York, US (2015-2019)
Ph.D. in Neuroscience at Instituto de Neurociencias de Alicante CSIC-UMH, Alicante, Spain, 2014

I am a versatile scientist with training in the field of neuroscience and broad experience in the field of cancer biology, both in basic and translational research settings. After my postdoc I worked at a biotech startup, where I expanded my project management skills while still working as a scientist. Since I joined the GLB laboratory in March 2023, I have been assisting Dr. López-Bendito in the scientific management of our team´s projects.

Former Laboratory Members

Guillermo Illán Ortega. MSc Student 2023.

Maria Climent. Undergraduate Student 2023.

Irene Huerga Gómez. Ph.D. student from 2014 to 2023.

Rafael Susin. Laboratory technician from 2012 to 2022.

Álvaro Herrero Navarro. Ph.D. Student from 2015 to 2021.

Current position: Postdoctoral Fellow in the laboratory of Botond Roska, IOB, Basel (Switzerland).

Verónica Moreno-Juan. Postdoctoral researcher from 2018 to 2021.

Current position: Postdoctoral Fellow in the laboratory of Botond Roska, IOB, Basel (Switzerland).

Juan Antonio Moreno Bravo. Postdoctoral researcher from 2018 to 2020.

Current position: Principal Investigator of Cerebellar Development, Wiring and Function Group in the Institute of Neuroscience of Alicante (Spain)

Leticia Pérez Saiz. Ph.D. student from 2015 to 2021.

Ana Belén Espinosa Martinez. Postdoctoral researcher from 2015 to 2020.

Noelia Antón-Bolaños. Ph.D. Student from 2014 to 2019.

Current position: Postdoctoral Fellow in the laboratory of Paola Arlotta, Harvard University, Boston (US).

Alejandro Sempere-Ferrandez. Postdoctoral researcher from 2017 to 2019.

Anton Filipchuk. Postdoctoral Fellow from 2013 to 2017.

Marta Ruipérez Alonso. Postdoctoral Fellow from 2015 to 2017.

Henrik Gezelius. Postdoctoral Fellow from 2010 to 2015.

Mar Castillo-Paterna. Postdoctoral Fellow from 2010 to 2014.

Cecilia Mezzera. Ph.D. Student from 2008-2013.

Graciela Navarro. Postdoctoral Fellow from 2010-2012.

Paula Marcos-Mondejar. Ph.D. Student from 2007-2012.

Juan Antonio Sanchez-Alcañiz. Ph.D. Student joint with Oscar Marín from 2007-2012.

Erik Mire. Postdoctoral Fellow from 2008-2011.

Cristina Merino. Laboratory Technician.

Lisa Bluy. Laboratory Technician. 

Noelia García. Laboratory Technician.

Elka San Martín. Laboratory Technician.