The scientific work undertaken by our group is related to three fundamental areas:
Cellular mechanisms of oxygen sensing.
Within this area we investigate the nature of the sensors that mediate acute responses to hypoxia, especially in the carotid body and the adrenal medulla. We also investigate the regulation of genes (particularly those that code for ion channels) for chronic hypoxemia (maintained or intermittent). Within the general subject of oxygen homeostasis, we collaborate with other IBIS groups with a view to determining the possible role of aquaporins as oxygen channels. This area of research is related to pathologies derived from cerebral ischaemia or to those that appear in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or other respiratory alterations.
Neurodegeneration and neuroprotection in Parkinson's disease.
We study the mechanisms of cell death in models of Parkinson's disease by means of the generation of genetically modified animals (transgenic and "knock out" animals). In parallel, the way in which the intrastriatal transplants of cells producing dopamine and neurotrophic factors (for example, cells of the carotid body) slow down the progression of Parkinson's disease is investigated. Within this field, the expansion of the adult carotid body from stem cells described in this organ, and the relation between the growth of cells of the carotid body and its tumour-like transformation, are the subject of on-going research. The clinical objective of this research area is to identify new therapeutic targets for Parkinson's disease and to improve cell therapy techniques applicable to this disease. In collaboration with other IBIS groups in this area, we also aim to better understand the mechanism underlying the genesis of paragangliomas.
Pathophysiological mechanisms of hypertension and vascular spasm.
In collaboration with other IBIS groups we are investigating the role of calcium channels as metabotropic mediators in vascular contractility. Within this area, we also study the regulation of the expression of ion channels by oxygen, especially the T-type calcium channel and the beta1 subunit of the maxi-K channel. The association between intermittent hypoxia, the expression of ion channels in vascular smooth muscle, and vascular risk in patients with sleep apnoea also forms part of our research endeavours.
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A full publication record can be found here.
1978 Award of the University of Seville to the M.D and Ph. D. Theses
1993 National Research Award “King Juan Carlos I” in Science and Technology
1994 Medal of the Andalusian Government
1994 Wellcome Visiting Professorship Award. University of Minnesota. USA
1998 National Research Award “King Jaime I” in Science and Technology
2000 National Research Grant of the Juan March Foundation
2002 Research prize "Maimónides" awarded by the Andalusian Government
2003 Honorary Lecture "Teófilo Hernando", Autonomous University of Madrid
2003 National Research Prize of the Lilly Foundation
2003 Medal of the Spanish Ministry of Health
2004 Member of the “Real Academia de Ciencias de Sevilla”
2005 Corresponding member of the “Real Academia Española de Ciencias Exactas y Naturales”
2006 Research prize Javier Benjumea awarded by the Focus-Abengoa Foundation
2009 Prize FAMA to the Research Career by the University of Seville
2010 Award Medal and Lectures “Chair Grisolía”, Foundation “Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias”, Valencia.
2010 Honorary Lecture “Carmen and Severo Ochoa”, Foundation “Carmen and Severo Ochoa”, Madrid
2012 Member of the “Real Academia de Medicina y Cirugía de Sevilla”.