The Neurover group studies various aspects of the anatomical organization and the development of the nervous system in fish. Its goal is to extract basic principles enabling us to understand better the operation and evolution of the encephalon of vertebrates.
The main study model is the zebrafish (Danio rerio). This species has multiple characteristics that have turned it in recent years into an excellent experimental model in neuroscience, as its encephalon is very transparent to light, enabling very high-resolution structural data to be obtained in both adults and larvae. In addition, the group has available to it a large number of transgenic and mutant lines enabling us to study specific neuronal populations in great detail.
The research projects we are currently working on include:
- Organization of neuronal circuits. No neurone works in isolation in the encephalon. Neurones communicate with each other to form intricate neuronal networks or circuits enabling multiple different functions to be performed. In order to understand the function of these circuits, the connections between different areas t encephalon are studied using neuronal tracers and specific transgenic lines.
- Evolution and development of the telencephalon in vertebrates. The telencephalon performs sensory processing functions and motor control, as well as being responsible for certain kinds of memory and emotions. It is a very interesting region from an evolutionary perspective, as it has given rise to the emergence of the cortex in primates. We are currently working on a 4D atlas with the connections and structure of the telencephalon in the zebrafish. These data will in future allow us to perform functional studies in both normal and pathological conditions.
- Development of the choroid plexuses. The choroid plexuses are key structures for maintaining the homeostasis of the encephalon. Alterations in these structures due to congenital malformations or other causes give rise to the onset of hydrocephaly and other pathologies. Under laboratory conditions, we study how the differentiation of the choroid plexuses arises during the development of the embryo, as well as their anatomical organization in adults.