Scientists

Speakers

Juan P. Lopez

Juan P. Lopez

Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden

Juan P. Lopez

Biography

Dr. Juan Pablo Lopez is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Neuroscience. Pablo received his undergraduate degrees in Psychology and Biology from Florida International University in Miami (USA). He received his doctoral degree (Ph.D.) from McGill University in Montreal (Canada), under the supervision of Dr. Gustavo Turecki, where he studied the role of non-coding RNA in major depression, suicide, and antidepressant treatment response. In 2016, Pablo moved to Munich (Germany) for a postdoctoral fellowship in the laboratory of Dr. Alon Chen, at the Max Planck Institute of Psychiatry. During his postdoc, he investigated the neurobiology of stress responses, using single-cell transcriptomics.

In 2022, Pablo was recruited by the Department of Neuroscience at the Karolinska Institutet (Sweden). His laboratory seeks to understand and characterize the molecular mechanisms, cellular circuits, and behavioral correlates, associated with stress-related psychiatric disorders and their treatments, using animal models.

Description of the general focus of the symposium "Spatial transcriptomics in chronic stress"

Cell signaling in the nervous system is primarily driven by electrochemical processes, yet genes and proteins serve as the foundational elements of the intricate biological mechanisms that underlie neural function. The exploration of how these minute molecular components intersect with electrochemical communication in the brain has long presented a challenging task for molecular neuroscientists. However, recent advancements in the realm of "-omics" have transformed this field into an exciting and highly productive avenue of research. The advent of single-cell transcriptomics marked a significant breakthrough, allowing neuroscientists to look at the molecular architecture of the brain with a previously unattained resolution. Subsequently, the development of spatial transcriptomics has enabled the precise mapping of these individual molecular building blocks to their spatial locations within the brain. Spatial trascriptomics are in particular advantegous to study distinctive neuroanatomical structures of the brain associated with different functions. 

Recognizing these groundbreaking achievements, the prestigious journal Nature designated both methods as "method of the year" in 2016 and 2020, respectively. Now is a good timing to delve into the results yielded by these innovative methods. The overarching theme of this symposium is to showcase the most recent data generated through transcriptomics and proteomics, highlighting researchers from Stockholm, where the Visium platform for spatial transcriptomics were developed and early-career researcher from the Maj Institute of Pharmacology, who were one of the first in Poland, who adapted this technique for their own neuroscientific research. However, the scope is not confined to these techniques alone, but extends to include compelling findings obtained through various other tools as well as computational methods that allow us to gain insight from "-omics" data. Presenters are encouraged to contribute insights that enhance our understanding of how environmental factors like stress or drugs alter the molecular landscape of the brain. Furthermore, there is a keen interest in exploring how genes might elucidate complex behaviors, providing a comprehensive perspective on the intricate interplay between molecular processes and neurobiological phenomena. This symposium serves as a platform to unveil and discuss the cutting-edge discoveries that shed light on the molecular intricacies of the brain and its responses to external stimuli. 

Talk

Dr. Juan Pablo Lopez is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Neuroscience at Karolinska Institutet. He is interested in understanding the behavioral language, molecular mechanisms, and cellular circuits associated with stress-related psychiatric disorders and their treatments. His research program tackles psychiatrically relevant questions such as: Why, if exposed to the same trauma, does one individual develop psychiatric symptoms, whereas another does not? What are the critical periods of development where adversity becomes neurobiologically embedded? What are the molecular mechanisms underlying clinical improvement? What are the biological correlates of treatment response? To achieve these objectives, his laboratory implements a combination of state-of-the-art molecular, cellular, and computational neuroscience tools, which ultimately aims to bridge pre-clinical research and human psychiatry. During this talk, he will discuss new findings describing cell-type specific molecular mechanisms underlying the response to chronic stress, the sustained antidepressant effects of ketamine, as well as the implementation of automated behavioral tracking and analysis systems of complex behaviors for groups of mice. 

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