Connecting European Neuroscience

María Luz Montesinos

Communication Committee Member (2016 - 2018)

Curriculum Vitae

Professional and academic career

  • Academic career:

Grade in Biology with Special Awards. July 1992. Universidad de Sevilla (Spain).

PhD cum laude in Biology (Biochemistry and Molecular Biology). October 1997. CSIC-Universidad de Sevilla (Spain). Subject: Amino acid, ammonium and urea transport systems in cyanobacteria.

  • Professional career:

November 1997-September 2003: Postdoctoral Researcher at the UMR 8542 (Unité de Développement et Évolution du Système Nerveux). École Normale Supérieure-CNRS (Paris, France). Supervisor: Dr. Alain Prochiantz.

Positions during that period: Postdoctoral EMBO fellow (1997/99). Associate Researcher CR3 (funded by CNRS, 1999/2000). Postdoctoral fellow from FRM (“Foundation pour la Recherche Medicale”, 2001/01). Assistant Professor (ATER) of Molecular and Cellular Genetics (2001/02). Associate Researcher (funded by Human Frontier Science Program, 2002/03).

Research subjects: Engrailed homeoproteins in vertebrate CNS development.

October 2003-to November 2004: “Ramón y Cajal” Investigator, associated to Dr. Rafael Fernández-Chacón’s group. Dpto. Fisiología Médica y Biofísica. Universidad de Sevilla (Spain).

Research subjects: synaptic proteins involved in neurodegeneration.

From December 2005 to date: Group leader. Dpto. Fisiología Médica y Biofísica. Universidad de Sevilla.

Positions: “Ramón y Cajal” Investigator until February 2008. From March 2008 to date, Associate Professor of Physiology.

Research subjects: mRNA transport and local translation in synaptic pathologies.


Honours and awards

Excellency Awards to the best academic record in Biology (1992) from:

  • the University of Seville
  • the “Real Maestranza de Caballería de Sevilla”
  • the “Ayuntamiento de Sevilla”

“Sevillana de Electricidad” Foundation Award for my research activities as undergraduate student (1992).


General administrative and organisational experience

Chair of the Sociedad Española de NeuroCiencia (SENC) Communication Committee (October 2013 to date).

Academic administrative responsibility as Secretary of the Department of Medical Physiology and Biophysics (Universidad de Sevilla, Spain). February 2010-February 2013.

Organisation Committee Member:

ENI-Net Christmas Meeting. Seville (Spain). 16-18 December 2006.

XXXIII Congress of the Spanish Society of Physiological Sciences, sponsored in association with The Physiological Society and the Dutch Society of Physiology. Seville (Spain). 10-13 February 2005.

Modern Methods in Cell Physiology. Satellite Workshop. (XXXIII Congress of the Spanish Society of Physiological Sciences) Seville (Spain). 11 February 2005.

Public awareness events and expertise in communication:

Chair of the Sociedad Española de NeuroCiencia (SENC) Communication Committee (October 2013 to date).

Regular participation in public awareness events: talks about Neuroscience in primary/secondary schools and coffee shops, sporadic participation in a regional TV program on health ("Salud al día"; CANAL SUR), interviews in local and national newspapers.

Science popularizer expert for the Andalusian Foundation for Dissemination of Innovation and Knowledge (


Research interests

Our lab ( is interested in elucidating the role of local translation in neuronal pathologies, particularly trisomy 21 (Down’s syndrome), but also amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). Local translation of synaptic mRNAs is a key process for axonal growth, dendritogenesis and synaptogenesis during nervous system development, and for synaptic plasticity in the adult brain. Using mouse models, our goal is to translate the obtained results to the corresponding human pathologies. Presently, we are focused on the Akt-mTOR signaling pathway as a therapeutic target for Down’s syndrome, and we are testing the mTOR inhibitor rapamycin at a preclinical level.


Selected Publications

  • JA. Troca-Marín, JJ. Casañas, I. Benito, ML. Montesinos

The Akt-mTOR pathway in Down's syndrome: the potential use of rapamycin/rapalogs for treating cognitive deficits

CNS Neurol. Disord. Drug Targets 13:34-40 (2014)

  • JA. Troca-Marín, A. Alves-Sampaio, ML. Montesinos

Deregulated mTOR-mediated translation in intellectual disability

Prog. Neurobiol. 96:268-282 (2012)

  • JA. Troca-Marín, A. Alves-Sampaio, ML. Montesinos

An increase in basal BDNF provokes hyperactivation of the Akt-mammalian target of rapamycin pathway and deregulation of local dendritic translation in a mouse model of Down’s syndrome

J. Neurosci. 31:9445-9455 (2011)

Highlighted in “This week in The Journal” (TWIJ article)

  • A. Alves-Sampaio, JA. Troca-Marín and ML. Montesinos

NMDA-mediated regulation of DSCAM dendritic local translation is lost in a mouse model of Down's syndrome

J. Neurosci. 30: 13537-13548 (2010)

  • JA. Troca-Marín, A. Alves-Sampaio, FJ. Tejedor and ML. Montesinos

Local translation of dendritic RhoA revealed by an improved synaptoneurosome preparation

Mol. Cell. Neurosci. 43:308-315 (2010)

  • ML. Montesinos, M. Castellano-Muñoz, P. García-Junco-Clemente and R. Fernández-Chacón

Recycling and EH-domain proteins at the synapse

Brain Res. Rev. 49:416-428 (2005)

  • R. Fernández-Chacón, M. Wölfel, H. Nishimune, L. Tabares, F. Schmitz, M. Castellano-Muñoz, C. Rosenmund, ML. Montesinos, JR. Sanes, R. Schneggenburger and TC. Südhof

The synaptic vesicle protein CSP-alpha prevents presynaptic degeneration

Neuron 42:237-251 (2004)

  • I. Foucher, ML. Montesinos, M. Volovitch, A. Prochiantz and A. Trembleau

Joint regulation of the MAP1B promoter by HNF3ß/Foxa2 and Engrailed is the result of a highly conserved mechanism for direct interaction of homeoproteins and Fox transcription factors

Development 130:1867-1876 (2003)

  • ML. Montesinos, I. Foucher, M. Conradt, G. Mainguy, L. Robel, A. Prochiantz and M. Volovitch

The neuronal Microtubule-Associated Protein 1B (MAP1B) is under homeoprotein transcriptional control

J. Neurosci. 21:3350-3359 (2001)

  • G. Mainguy, ML. Montesinos, B. Lesaffre, B. Zevnik, M. Karasawa, R. Kothary, W. Wurst, A. Prochiantz and M. Volovitch

An induction gene trap for indentifying a homeoprotein-regulated locus

Nat. Biotechnol. 18:746-749 (2000)

Highlighted in “This month in Nature Biotechnology”

María Luz Montesinos

Universidad de Sevilla
Department of Medical Physiology and Biophysics
Av. Sánchez Pizjuán, 4
41009 Sevilla (SPAIN)