Area 4

Pathophysiology and treatment of neurodegenerative disorders

Team leader

  • Jordi Alberch

Strategic objectives

  1. Study of the cellular and molecular bases involved in neuronal dysfunction and death associated with basal ganglia neurodegenerative disorders, mainly Huntington's disease. Our aim is to identify intracellular pathways - both neuroprotective and apoptotic - that are selectively altered in the affected neuron populations, with the ultimate purpose of identifying new therapeutic targets in the management of these neurodegenerative diseases.
  2. Identification of the mechanisms participating in the cognitive defects seen in Huntington's disease. Knowledge of these mechanisms will make it possible to develop new treatments for avoiding the cognitive disorders induced by the mutated huntington gene.
  3. Characterization of the mechanisms of neuron differentiation of stem cells from different organs. Our aim is to identify different extrinsic and intrinsic factors contributing to neuron differentiation, with the aim of employing stem cells in cell substitution therapies against neurodegenerative diseases.

Main lines of research

  1. Group of neuroprotection and neuronal plasticity in Huntington's disease. Jordi Alberch (UB-IDIBAPS): This group studies the implication of neurotrophic factors in the pathophysiology and treatment of Huntington's disease. The main research goals ares to study the mechanisms that modulate cortico-striatal connectivity, and to understand the mechanisms to develop molecules that modulate neuronal plasticity in the basal ganglia.
  2. Group of kinases and phosphatases in neuronal function and dysfunction Esther Pérez-Navarro (UB-IDIBAPS): The group is interested in studying the involvement of kinases and phosphatases in the control of motor coordination and cognitive processes both in physiological conditions and in Huntington's disease.
  3. Group of neurodegeneration and cognitive dysfunction in Huntington´s Disease. Silvia Ginés (UB-IDIBAPS). The research group is interested in defining the molecular mechanisms involved in cognitive and motor disorders in Huntington's disease with one main objective: identify new therapeutic targets that may be common to treat both motor deficits and memory disorders associated with this disease.
  4. Group of stem cells and regenerative medicine. Josep M. Canals (UBIDIBAPS). The research group is interested in to study of the mechanisms underlying the differentiation of stem cells into neurons, for exploring the cellular mechanisms involved in neurodegenerative diseases research such as Huntington's chorea and Parkinson's disease. Several cell-based therapies for these brain disorders are also focus of our interest. Another line of research is the characterization of extrinsic factors and new transcription factors of human and mouse brain development for application in stem cell differentiation.