Jorge Palop’s lab aims to understand the neural processes underlying cognitive decline in Alzheimer's disease and neurological conditions such as epilepsy, autism, and schizophrenia. His team focuses on a type of neuron that stabilizes neuronal networks in the brain, called inhibitory interneurons, and the role they may play in the cognitive dysfunction and abnormal patterns of neuronal network activity that accompany Alzheimer’s. Ultimately, Palop’s group aims to define the mechanisms of cognitive dysfunction at the molecular, circuit, and network level, as well as to develop novel therapeutic approaches to restore brain functions in Alzheimer’s.

Disease Areas

Alzheimer’s Disease
Epilepsy
Dravet Syndrome
Autism
Schizophrenia

Areas of Expertise

Animal Models
Cell-based Therapies
Optogenetics
Electrophysiology
Molecular Pharmacology
Genetic Manipulations
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Lab Focus

Investigating mechanisms of network hypersynchronization in Alzheimer’s disease and testing novel therapies to prevent such deficits.
Understanding the role of inhibitory interneurons and oscillatory brain rhythms in cognitive functions in health and a variety of neurological diseases.
Investigating the potential of inhibitory interneurons as a therapeutic target in Alzheimer’s and tailoring approaches based on cell transplants to different disease conditions.

Research Impact

Palop discovered that mice genetically engineered to simulate Alzheimer's disease (by producing excess beta-amyloid protein) develop aberrant patterns of neuronal network activity, including abnormal synchronisation and seizures. These patterns resemble the epileptic symptoms observed in many patients with early-onset familial Alzheimer’s, the hyperactivation of neuronal networks detected in patients with sporadic Alzheimer’s, and in non-demented people who carry amyloid deposits.

Palop and his team found that in Alzheimer’s mouse models, these symptoms could be attributed to the alteration of inhibitory interneurons. Importantly, they showed that by supplying genetically modified interneurons in the brain of Alzheimer’s mice, or by chemically enhancing the function of resident interneurons, they could restore the cognitive functions and brain oscillatory rhythms in these mice. The findings pave the way for therapeutic interventions targeting the function of inhibitory interneurons, which the lab is currently pursuing through a combination of cell-based and pharmacological approaches.

 

Professional Titles

Associate Investigator, Gladstone Institutes

Assistant Professor of Neurology, UC San Francisco

Bio

Jorge J. Palop is an assistant investigator at the Gladstone Institutes. He is also an assistant professor of neurology at UC San Francisco (UCSF).

Palop has received numerous competitive honors and awards, including predoctoral and postdoctoral fellowships from the Spanish Ministry of Education and Science, the Fulbright program, the Hillblom Center for the Biology of Aging and Memory and Aging Center at UCSF, as well as the Ramon y Cajal and the S.D. Bechtel Young Investigator Awards. He 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. He is a reviewing editor of eNeuro, the open-access online journal of the Society of Neuroscience. 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, at Gladstone.

Why Are You Dedicated to Discovery?

“I’m fascinated by the biological processes that underlie cognition; I think that understanding those processes at the cellular and network level will lead to real breakthroughs in how we treat cognitive decline in neurological diseases.”

Jorge Palop, PhD

Honors and Awards

2016 UCSF Neuroscience Graduate Program, UC San Francisco

2016 UCSF Biomedical Sciences Graduate Program, UC San Francisco

2015 Keynote speaker, 1st National Hispanic Alzheimer’s Conference, San Antonio

2014 Reviewing Editor, eNeuro

2014 New Investigator R01, National Institute of Aging (NIH)

2013 Early Career Review program for the National Institutes of Health

2013 Investigator Initiated Research Grant, Alzheimer’s Association

2008 Ramón y Cajal Investigator Award, the Spanish Science and Education Ministry

2008 S.D. Bechtel Young Investigator Award

2006 McBean Postdoctoral Fellowship, Memory and Aging Center, UC San Francisco

2003 C. Lester and Audrey Hogan Fellowship Award

2003 Postdoctoral Fellowship, Hillblom Center for the Biology of Aging, UC San Francisco

2001 Postdoctoral Fellowship, Spanish Science and Education Ministry

2001 Fulbright Postdoctoral Fellowship

1997 Master Fellowship of the International University of Andalucia, Spain

1996 Predoctoral Fellowship, Spanish Science and Education Ministry

Publications

See More

Contact

Jorge Palop

415.734.2661

Theodora Pak
Administrative Assistant III

415.734.2513


Lab Members

Kevin Chang
Research Associate I
Chun Chen, PhD
Postdoctoral Scholar
Jeff Dorsch
Rotation Student
Rhodora Gacayan
Lab Associate
Kelli Lauderdale, PhD
Postdoctoral Scholar
Keran Ma, PhD
Staff Scientist
John Newman, MD, PhD
Visiting Scientist
Yuechen Qiu
Student Intern
Sandrine Saillet, PhD
Visiting Postdoc
Kevin Shen
Research Associate I
Anagh Sinha
Student Intern (Unpaid)
Allan Villanueva
Lab Associate