Dr. Palop is interested in systems neuroscience with an emphasis on the neural basis of cognition. Dr. Palop’s research focuses on understanding the neural processes underlying cognitive decline in Alzheimer's disease (AD) and in neurological conditions associated with destabilization of neuronal networks, such as epilepsy, autism, or schizophrenia. His primary goal is to understand the role of impaired inhibitory interneurons in network hypersynchrony, altered oscillatory brain rhythms, and cognitive dysfunction in AD. He aims to identify molecular, circuit, and network mechanisms of cognitive dysfunction and develop novel therapeutic approaches to restore brain functions in AD.
Dr. Palop discovered that mice genetically engineered to simulate AD (hAPP mice) develop aberrant excitatory patterns of neuronal network activity, including network hypersynchrony, epileptiform activity, and seizures. These findings are probably related to the epileptic phenotype of many pedigrees of patients with early-onset familial AD and to the hyperactivation of neuronal networks in patients with sporadic AD and amyloid-positive nondemented subjects. Dr. Palop found that altered inhibitory interneurons critically contribute to network hypersynchrony, abnormal oscillatory activity, and cognitive impairment in mouse models of AD. Importantly, enhancing inhibitory functions by molecular or cell-based approaches restored oscillatory rhythms and cognitive functions in mouse models of AD.
Dr. Palop has received numerous competitive honors and awards, including predoctoral and postdoctoral fellowships from the Spanish Ministry of Education and Science, the Fullbright program, the Hillblom Center for the Biology of Aging and the UCSF Memory and Aging Center. He received the Ramon y Cajal and the S.D. Bechtel Young Investigator Awards. Dr. Palop has published his findings and reviews in many prestigious scientific journals, including Cell, Nature, Science, Nature Medicine, Neuron, Nature Neuroscience, PNAS and The Journal of Neuroscience. He regularly serves as a scientific reviewer for many of these journals and other organizations. Dr. Palop is a reviewing editor of eNeuro, the open access online journal of the Society of Neuroscience.
Dr. Palop earned a PhD in neuroscience (summa cum laude) from the University of Valencia, Spain. He did his postdoctoral training at UCSF and in the laboratory of Lennart Mucke, MD, at the Gladstone Institute of Neurological Disease.