Connecting European Neuroscience

Guillermina Lopez-Bendito

Programme Committee Member FENS Forum 2018

Curriculum Vitae

Biology studies, Universidad de Alicante, Spain (1997).

PhD in Neuroscience at the Instituto de Neurociencias, Universidad Miguel Hernández, Alicante, Spain (2000).

Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Department of Human Anatomy & Genetics, Oxford, UK (2001-2004). “Ramón y Cajal” Research Scientist from the Spanish Research Council (2004-2007).

Since 2007, I hold a position as an “Investigador Cientifico” from the Spanish Research Council (CSIC) at the Instituto de Neurociencias in Alicante, Spain.

I am a developmental neuroscientist by training. I have been studying processes of circuit formation and neural connectivity for more than 15-years. My laboratory is addressing fundamental questions - such as the roles of the thalamus in the development and plasticity of sensory cortical areas or the function of spontaneous activity in brain connectivity.

Honours and awards

Awards. 2014: ERC CoG Awardee and Scholar of the FENS-Kavli Network of Excellence.

2013: Young Investigator Prize from Spanish Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Society (SEBBM). 2012: EMBO Young Investigator Award (EMBO YIP).

2011: Olympus Young Investigator Award.

2009: ERC StG Awardee.

2003: Merit Award in Science for Postdoctoral Fellows (University of Oxford). Relevant Oral presentations.

2016: CSHL Meeting “Axon Guidance, Synapse Formation & Regeneration”; ISDN Meeting.

2015: Meeting “Axon Guidance, Circuit Formation & Regeneration”; SENC Meeting; BNA Meeting.

2014: CSHL Meeting “Axon Guidance, Synapse Formation & Regeneration”; BSCB/BSDB Annual Meeting.

2013: Meeting “New Avenues for Brain Repair”; CSHL Meeting “Wiring the Brain”.

2012: CSHL Meeting “Axon Guidance, Synapse Formation & Regeneration”; SFN Nanosymposium "Axon Guidance"; ISDN Meeting. 

General administrative and organisational experience

Organizer of Scientific Meetings.

2016: Scientific Symposium: FENS-KALI Network of Excellence/Severo Ochoa Symposium, Alicante, Spain.

2014: Scientific Symposium, ISDN Meeting, Montreal, Canada.

2011: Meeting: “Development and Plasticity of Thalamocortical Systems”, Arolla, Switzerland.

2010: Meeting: “Formation of Neural Circuits: Activity Dependent Mechanisms for Wiring and Plasticity”, Instituto de Neurociencias, Alicante, Spain. Commissions of trust.

2015 – present: Member of the Programme Committee of the Spanish Society for Neuroscience (SENC).

2010-2016: Scientific Advisory Board of the Spanish National Evaluation Program (ANEP) on Biomedicine and Fundamental Biology.

2015 – present: Journal Editorial Board Member, Scientific Reports.

2013 – present: Journal Editorial Board Member, Neurogenesis.

2008 – present: Journal Contributing Editor, European Journal of Neuroscience. 

Research interests

Our research team runs several related projects studying the principles underlying thalamocortical axonal wiring, maintenance and ultimately the rewiring of connections, through an integrated and innovative experimental programme. The central hypothesis of our laboratory is that thalamocortical (TC) input influences and maintains the functional architecture of sensory cortical areas. At present, we are engaged in three major research lines: i) spontaneous activity-dependent mechanisms involved in TC wiring and cortical plasticity; ii) the role of the thalamus and its connectivity in sensory cortical areas patterning and plasticity; and iii) reprogramming thalamic cells for sensory restoration. We use several experimental programmes including: manipulation of gene expression in vivo, cell and molecular biology, cell culture, sensory deprivation paradigms and in vivo calcium imaging and electrophysiology. 

Selected Publications

1. López-Bendito G*, Cautinat A*, Sanchez JA, Bielle F, Flames N, Garrat AN, Tagmale D, Role LW, Charnay P, Marin O, Garel S (2006) Tangential neuronal migration controls axon guidance: A role for neuregulin-1 in thalamocortical axon navigation. Cell 125: 127-142. Selected as “Excellent” by Faculty of 1000.

2. López-Bendito G, Flames N, Ma L, Di Meglio T, Chedotal A, Tessier-Lavigne M, Marin O (2007) Robo1 and Robo2 cooperate to control the guidance of major axonal tracts in the mammalian forebrain. J. Neurosci 27:3395-3407.

3. Little GE*, López-Bendito G*, Rünker AE, García N, Piñon MC, Chédotal A, Molnár Z, Mitchell KJ (2009) Specificity and plasticity of thalamocortical connections in Sema6A mutant mice. PLoS Biol. 28:e98.

4. Bielle F, Marcos-Mondejar P, Keita M, Mailhes C, Verney C, Nguyen Ba-Charvet K, Tessier-Lavigne M, LópezBendito G, Garel S (2011) Slit2 activity on the migration of guidepost neurons shapes thalamic projections during development and evolution. Neuron 69:1085-1098.

5. Bielle F*, Marcos-Mondéjar* P, Leyva-Díaz E*, Lokmane L*, Mire E, Mailhes C, Keita M, García N, TessierLavigne M, Garel S, López-Bendito G (2011) Emergent growth cone responses to combinations of slit1 and netrin1 in thalamocortical axon topography. Curr. Biol 21:1748-1755.

6. Marcos-Mondéjar P, Peregrín S, Li JY, Carlsson L, Tole S, López-Bendito G (2012) The Lhx2 transcription factor controls thalamocortical axonal guidance by specific regulation of Robo1 and Robo2 receptors. J. Neurosci 32:4372-4385.

7. Mire E*, Mezzera C*, Leyva-Díaz E, Paternain AV, Squarzoni P, Bluy L, Castillo-Paterna M, López MJ, Peregrín S, Tessier-Lavigne M, Garel S, Galcerán J, Lerma J, López-Bendito G (2012) Spontaneous activity regulates Robo1 transcription to mediate a switch in thalamocortical axon growth. Nat. Neurosci. 8:1134-1143.

8. Leyva-Díaz E, Del Toro D, Menal MJ, Cambray S, Susín R, Tessier-Lavigne M, Klein R, Egea J, López-Bendito G (2014) Is a Robo1-interacting protein that determines Netrin-1 attraction in developing axons. Curr. Biol. 18. Selected as “Special Significance” by Faculty of 1000.

9. Castillo-Paterna M, Moreno-Juan V, Filipchuk A, Rodríguez-Malmierca L, Susín R, López-Bendito G (2015) DCC functions as an accelerator of thalamocortical axonal growth downstream of spontaneous thalamic activity. EMBO Rep. 16:851-62.

10. Gezelius H, Moreno-Juan V, Mezzera C, Thakurela S, Rodríguez-Malmierca LM, Pistolic J, Benes V, Tiwari VK, López-Bendito G (2016) Genetic Labeling of Nuclei-Specific Thalamocortical Neurons Reveals Putative SensoryModality Specific Genes. Cereb Cortex. 20. 

Guillermina Lopez-Bendito

CSIC Group Leader
EMBO YIP Investigator
FENS-Kavli Scholar
Instituto de Neurociencias
CSIC & Universidad Miguel Hernández
Av. Ramón y Cajal, s/n
Campus de San Juan
03550 San Juan de Alicante
Alicante, Spain