Elena Galea

Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona

Life & Medical Sciences

1985: BS Biology, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid. 1990: PhD Biology, Department of Physiology, School of Medicine, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid. 1991-1994: Postdoc/Research Associate, Department of Neuroscience, Cornell University Medical College, New York. 1995-1997: Instructor, Department of Neuroscience, Cornell University Medical College, New York. 1998-2003: Assistant Professor, Department of Anesthesiology, University of Illinois, Chicago. 2004-present: ICREA Research Professor, Institute of Neurosciences, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona. 2008-2010: Vice Director, Institute of Neurosciences, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona. 2012-2013: Visiting scholar, Massachusetts General Institute for Neurodegenerative disease, Harvard Medical School, Boston.

Research interests

I seek to unravel the mechanisms whereby a brain cell called ‘astrocyte’ contributes to higher-brain functions —cognition, memory, emotion— and to establish the pathological consequences of astrocyte dysfunction. Three core ideas guide my research. First, astrocytes not only carry out homeostatic functions in support of neurons, but they also compute, i.e., they process information intelligently, plausibly by way of calcium transients. Second, astrocytes are superior therapeutic targets: increasing their resilience or restoring their malfunction in acute or chronic neurological diseases will have a beneficial impact on multiple pathological processes at once. Three, mathematics and systems biology —which has lately included artificial intelligence— are indispensable tools to clarify astrocyte (dys)function, identify astrocyte-based molecular signatures in human fluids, and develop astrocyte-targeted therapies.  .

Selected publications

– Eraso-Pichot A, Brasó-Vives M, Golbano A, Menacho C, Claro E, Galea E* & Masgrau R* 2018, ‘Gene set enrichment analysis of mouse and human mitochondriomes reveals fatty-acid oxidation in astrocytes‘, GLIA, 66, 8, 1724 – 1735.

– Romeo-Guitart D, Fores J, Herrando-Grabulosa M, Valls R, Leiva-Rodriguez T, Galea E, Gonzalez-Perez F, Navarro X, Petegnief V, Bosch A, Coma M, Manuel Mas J & Casas C2018, ‘Neuroprotective Drug for Nerve Trauma Revealed Using Artificial Intelligence‘, Scientific Reports, 8, 1879.

– Gomez-Arboledas A, Davila JC, Sanchez-Mejias E, Navarro V, Nunez-Diaz C, Sanchez-Varo R, Sanchez-Mico MV, Trujillo-Estrada L, Fernandez-Valenzuela JJ, Vizuete M, Comella JX, Galea E, Vitorica J & Gutierrez A 2018, ‘Phagocytic clearance of presynaptic dystrophies by reactive astrocytes in Alzheimer’s disease‘, Glia, 66, 3, 637 – 653.

Selected research activities

Gordon Research Conference, Neurobiology of Brain disorders, Castelldefels, Barcelona. ApoE4-elicited lysosomal and mitochondrial dysfunction in astrocytes. 5-10 August, 2018.