Aixa V. Morales

Cajal Institute, Spain


I got my phD in the laboratory of Pr. Flora de Pablo at the “Centro de Investigaciones Biológicas” in Madrid (Spain), where I contributed to the role of insulin as a survival factor during embryonic development and analysed its action on the chaperone protein, Hsc70. In 1997, I moved to London (UK) to work as a postdoctoral research fellow in the Imperial Research Cancer (actually Cancer Research UK) for more than four years. My scientific work in Pr. Ish-Horowicz laboratory focused on the transcriptional regulation of genes of the Delta/Notch signalling pathway involved in the molecular clock controlling vertebrate segmentation. In 2002, I returned to Spain to join the laboratory of Pr. Angela Nieto and the “Instituto Cajal” in Madrid where I contributed on the role of Snail genes in symmetric segmentation using, amongst others strategies, tamoxifen- inducible transgenic mice. Since 2005 I am in charge of my own research group at the “Instituto Cajal”, CSIC. We are interested in the role of Sox genes as key components in the control of neurogenesis, in aspects such as cell cycle exit/progression, control of proneural program and cell-type specific differentiation in the context of the central nervous system using as models the spinal cord and the neuroretina. In the same context, we are exploring the possible role of Sox genes in the refinement of early dorso-ventral patterning and interactions with signalling pathways involved such as Shh, Wnt and RA pathways. Another aim of our research is to understand how the signals that control the timing of neural differentiation along the rostro-caudal axis (FGF and RA signalling pathways) are involved in controlling the specification and migration of the dorsally located neural crest cells and how are those signals integrated with programs specifying dorsal interneurons fate and with the signals more directly involved in the morphological changes required for neural crest migration (BMP and Wnt).

Biography Updated on 28 September 2011

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