The inner workings of the Quintana lab

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HALLOWINc PUMPKIN CARVING CONTEST 2017

Again this year, Researchers, Students and Administrative Staff of the Institut de Neurociències (INc) were called to participate to the 2nd edition of the HALLOWINc PUMPKIN CARVING CONTEST 2017!!

The topic of this year was to decorate a pumpkin about something related to Science History. So we got creative!!!…  and showed the evolution from monkeys to neuroscientists in a pumpkin (supposedly) expressing GFP gene (isn´t it cool?!!). Hei, we had lots of fun carving the pumpkin and “transfecting” GFP into it!!!

Pumpkin

All teams took the challenge very seriously and there was a high level of creativity.

It was really a tough competition but we are very very very happy and proud to have won an exclusive INc-UAB mug as team work rewarding!!!

quintassa1

The wheels are running!

Wow! what a busy time this past year has been!

Many (good) things and (good) news to explain! New members, new papers, exciting science… here you are a picture of the lab just before summer break!

quintanalab 2017

First of all, we are glad to announce three! new additions to the lab: Kelsey, Fabien and Patrizia. (disclaimer: they have already been with us for some months, but hey, I told you we have been really busy!)

Kelsey Montgomery has re-joined the lab as a part-time research technician/MSc student (Bioinformatics). She graduated (BSc. Genetics) from the University of Georgia (2013) and worked at Seattle Genetics (2013-2015) before joining the Quintana lab in Seattle (2015). We are excited to have her with us again on the other side of the pond!

Fabien Menardy (aka Fab) has joined the lab as a postdoctoral fellow and is our resident optogenetics/in vivo electrophysiology expert. Fabien graduated (PhD Neurosciences) from the University of Paris Sud (2012) under the supervision of Dr. Catherine del Negro, where he worked on elucidating neural responses involved in zebra finch vocal communication signaling. After obtaining his PhD, he joined the lab of Dr. Daniela Popa and Dr. Clément Lena, at the École Normal Supérieure, Institut de Biologie (Paris), as a postdoctoral researcher (2013-2016) where he focused on understanding the role of the cerebellum in Parkinson’s Disease. He is now interested in understanding the electrophysiological alterations (and their implications in circuit signal processing) in neurons with mitochondrial dysfunction. 

Patrizia Bianchi joined the lab as a postdoctoral fellow and is an expert in mitochondrial dynamics. Patrizia graduated (PhD Biomedicine) from the Universitat de Barcelona (2016) under the supervision of Dr. Aurora Pujol (IDIBELL), where she worked on elucidated the alterations in mitochondrial dynamics in X-linked adrenoleukodystrophy. She is now focusing on characterizing the underlying deficits in mitochondrial dynamics in animal models of Leigh Syndrome.

We are glad to have such talented scientists in the lab!

Last, but not least, and even though there will be other posts providing brief summaries, we are glad to have had two articles recently accepted! Hooray!

Here you are the links, for those interested:

Striatal GPR88 modulates foraging efficiency (Journal of Neuroscience)

Loss of mitochondrial Ndufs4 in striatal medium spiny neurons mediates progressive motor impairment in a mouse model of Leigh Syndrome (Frontiers in Molecular Neuroscience). OPEN ACCESS

Will keep you updated!!

 

The lab keeps growing!

Some good news in the lab!

We are extremely happy to welcome our new technician,  Andrea Urpí. andrea

Andrea graduated in 2014 (Biochemistry) from the Universitat  de Barcelona (UB) and obtained a Masters in Clinical Analyses  from the Universitat Pompeu Fabra in Barcelona – UPF in 2015.

Andrea is joining the lab as a research technician but she is also testing to waters to see  which scientific career she pursues… Needless to say, we are pretty sure that it will be a successful one!

We are really excited to have her in the lab!

Welcome!!

Research: Altered protein modifications in mitochondrial disease

Our latest paper is out!

In collaboration with the Frizzell lab at the University of South Carolina we have published the article titled:

Succination is increased on select proteins in the brainstem of the Ndufs4 knockout mouse, a model of Leigh syndrome.” 

in the journal Molecular and Cellular Proteomics.

In this paper, we have been able to identify that the metabolic deficits mediated by mitochondrial dysfunction (we used our Leigh Syndrome mice for this study) lead to permanent modifications in discrete proteins in affected neurons.

These modifications (called succination) have been shown to impair the activity of proteins in other studies, therefore we believe these mitochondrial proteins will also lose function in our model. Interestingly, our study shows that these modifications are only observed in cells residing in areas affected by the pathology, further enhancing the idea that they may mediate the selective damage observed in mitochondrial disease.

The main proteins observed to be altered, VDAC1 and VDAC2, are key factors controlling transport of ions and molecules inside the mitochondria, so these results open a new and interesting line of research in the lab in the overarching goal of finding a cure for mito disease.