The group's research focuses on the study of the amygdala, a very complex brain structure involved in the control of emotions, social behavior and cognition, which is altered in all psychiatric disorders. Currently it is not possible to explain the different outcomes of distinct mental conditions, posing a real challenge on their treatment. To solve this problem, the group is trying to decipher the amygdala at molecular, cellular and circuit levels using an evolutionary development biology approach.
Previous research of the group has shown that the high complexity of the amygdala can be largely explained by the different embryonic origin of its neurons, which conditions their adult phenotype. With this vision in mind, the group is currently developing research to study the transcriptome and the connections of amygdalar neurons with different embryonic origin. Comparison of the results with public databases of genes involved in distinct mental disorders will help to understand the relation between different susceptibility genes to specific amygdalar neurons and networks regulating emotion and social behavior. This will be the first step to design more accurate therapeutic targets for distinct mental disorders and will open the venue for precision medicine in Psychiatry.
Medina, L; Abellan, A; Desfilis, E
Contribution of Genoarchitecture to Understanding Hippocampal Evolution and Development
BRAIN BEHAVIOR AND EVOLUTION 90 25-40. .
Morales L; Castro-Robles B; Abellán A; Desfilis E; Medina L
A novel telencephalon-opto-hypothalamic morphogenetic domain coexpressing Foxg1 and Otp produces most of the glutamatergic neurons of the medial extended amygdala.
Journal Of Comparative Neurology 529 2418-2449. .