Connecting European Neuroscience

Juan Lerma

Secretary General (2016-2018)


Professional and academic career

2007-current. Director of Instituto de Neurociencias at Alicante, CSIC-UMH

2005-07. Vicedirector of Instituto de Neurociencias at Alicante, CSIC-UMH

2000- 2003 Head of Department (Neural Plasticity, Instituto Cajal)

2000 Profesor de Investigación (≈Full Professor w/ tenure). Instituto Cajal

1995-1996 Acting Director of the Instituto Cajal

1993-1995 Vicedirector of the Instituto Cajal

1990. Investigador Científico (≈Associate Prof w/ tenure). Instituto Cajal. CSIC

1987-88 Associate (‘87-88) and Visiting Professor (‘90) at the Dept Neuroscience, Albert Einstein College of Medicine

1987 Fogarty Fellow. USA

1986. Colaborador Científico (Assistant Prof w/ tenure). Instituto Cajal. CSIC

1983. Doctor in Sciences, Universidad Autónoma, Madrid.

1979-1985 Associate Researcher. Department of Research, Hospital “Ramón y Cajal”

1978. M. S. Biology, Universidad Complutense, Madrid.


General administrative and organisational experience

2013- Chairman of the PanEuropean Regional Committee of IBRO

2013- Representative for Life Science. Spanish Confederation of Scientific Societies (COSCE)

2010-13. Chairman of the Western European Regional Committee of IBRO

2011-13 President of Spanish Neuroscience Society (SENC)

2011- Member of the Experts Panel, the Research and Innovation National Strategy (MICINN)

2009-12 Member of the Experts Panel of “Profarma” (MIT&MICINN).


Honours and awards

2013 - Distinction to the Scientific Merit. Government of Valencia Community.

2010 - "Highest distinction to the investigative career". Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos. Peru

2010 - Member of Academia Europaea (The Academy of Europe)

2005. XI Award “Alberto Sols” to the Best Research Activity

2005 - Member of European Dana Alliance for the Brain (EDAB) 2004.

2004 - CEOE Foundation Award to the Sciences

2002 - Santiago Grisolía Chair Award

2002. Award to the Scientific Excellence “Alonso Gabriel de Herrera”

2000 - Member of European Molecular Biology Organization (EMBO)

1998 - Distinction Award by Heath Science Foundation.


Research interest

We are interested on synaptic transmission and plasticity and the role played by glutamate receptors. Our group provided the first evidence for the existence of kainate receptors (KARs) in the CNS (PNAS 1993), demonstrated that the 2, 3-benzodiazepine, GYKI53655, is a specific antagonist of AMPA receptors (Neuron 1995), making possible to study KARs in detail. Since then, we have proposed the existence of presynaptic KARs, which regulate the release of GABA (Neuron 1997), providing a rational basis to understand how KARs may participate in epilepsy. We found that KARs have a dual mechanism for signalling in that they are ion channels but also trigger a second messenger-mediated cascade which involves a G-protein activation (Neuron, 1998; P. N. A. S. 2000; Neuron, 2003). The finding that an ion channel-forming receptor is able to signal through a G-protein mediated metabotropic mechanism has opened new vistas on the operating mode of glutamate receptors of the ionotropic type (EMBO J., 2007; Neuron, 2009; J Neurosci, 2013). 



  • Marques JM, Rodrigues RJ, Valbuena S, Rozas JL, Selak S, Marin P, Aller MI, and Lerma J (2013). CRMP2 Tethers Kainate Receptor Activity to Cytoskeleton Dynamics During Neuronal Maturation, J. Neurosci. 33, 18298 –18310.
  • Lerma J., and Marques JM (2013) Kainate Receptors in Health and Disease, Neuron, 80, 292-311
  • Selak S, Paternain AV, Aller IM, Picó E, Rivera R, and Lerma J. (2009) A role for SNAP25 in internalization of kainate receptors and synaptic plasticity. Neuron 63, 357-71
  • Rivera R, Rozas JL and Lerma J (2007) PKC-dependent Autoregulation of Membrane Kainate Receptors. EMBO Journal, 26, 4359-67
  • Rozas, J. L., Paternain A. V. and Lerma J. (2003) Non-canonical signaling by ionotropic kainate receptors. Neuron 39, 543–553
  • Lerma, J. (2003). Roles and rules of kainate receptors in synaptic transmission. Nature Rev Neurosci 4, 481-95.
  • Rodríguez-Moreno, A., and Lerma, J. (1998) Kainate receptor modulation of GABA release involves a metabotropic function. Neuron, 20, 1211-1218. (Cover Caption)

  • Rodríguez-Moreno, A., Herreras, O. and Lerma, J. (1997) Kainate Receptors Presynaptically Downregulate GABAergic Inhibition in the Rat Hippocampus. Neuron, 19, 893-901.

  • Paternain, A. V., Morales, M. and Lerma, J. (1995) Selective antagonism of AMPA receptors unmasks kainate receptor-mediated responses in hippocampal neurons, Neuron, 14, 185-189.

  • Lerma, J., Paternain, A. V., Naranjo, J. R. and Mellström, B. (1993) Functional kainate-selective glutamate receptors in cultured hippocampal cells, Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA, 90, 11688-11692.


Juan Lerma

Research Professor and Director
CSIC-UMH Instituto de Neurociencias, Spain
Av Ramón y Cajal s/n, Campus de San Juan
San Juan de Alicante, 03550 Alicante, Spain