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Elena Galea

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

– Sanchez-Mico, Maria V.; Jimenez, Sebastian; Gomez-Arboledas, Angela; Munoz-Castro, Clara; Romero-Molina, Carmen; Navarro, Victoria; Sanchez-Mejias, Elisabeth; Nunez-Diaz, Cristina; Sanchez-Varo, Raquel; Galea, Elena; Davila, Jose C.; Vizuete, Marisa; Gutierrez, Antonia; Vitorica, Javier 2021, ‘Amyloid-beta impairs the phagocytosis of dystrophic synapses by astrocytes in Alzheimer’s disease‘, Glia, 69:997-1011.

– Escartin C*, Galea E*, Lakatos A, O’Callaghan JP, Petzold GC, Serrano-Pozo A, Steinhauser C, Volterra A, Carmignoto G, Agarwal A, Allen NJ, Araque A, Barbeito L, Barzilai A, Bergles DE, Bonvento G, Butt AM, Chen WT, Cohen-Salmon M, Cunningham C, Deneen B, De Strooper B, Díaz-Castro B, Farina C, Freeman M, Gallo V, Goldman JE, Goldman SA, Götz M, Gutiérrez A, Haydon PG, Heiland DH, Hol EM, Holt MG, Iino M, Kastanenka KV, Kettenmann H, Khakh BS, Koizumi S, Lee CJ, Liddelow SA, MacVicar BA, Magistretti P, Messing A, Mishra A, Molofsky AV, Murai K, Norris CM, Okada S, Oliet SHR, Oliveira JF, Panatier A, Parpura V, Pekna M, Pekny M, Pellerin L, Perea G, Pérez-Nievas BG, Pfrieger FW, Poskanzer KA, Quintana FJ, Ransohoff RM, Riquelme-Perez M, Robel S, Rose CR, Rothstein J, Rouach N, Rowitch DH, Semyanov A, Sirko S, Sontheimer H, Swanson RA, Vitorica J, Wanner IB, Wood LB, Wu J, Zheng B, Zimmer ER, Zorec R, Sofroniew MV*, Verkhratsky A* 2021.’Reactive astrocyte nomenclature, definitions, and future directions‘. Nature Neuroscience. 24(3): 312–325. (*) Corresponding and supervising authors.

Selected research activities

Elected Member Academia Europaea 2021

ICREA Memoir 2021