Principal Investigators

Xavier Altafaj

Associate Professor

Neurobiology and translational medicine of the NMDA receptor

Gerard Callejo

Assistant Professor

Neurobiology of pain and painful disorders

Nuria Comes

Associate Professor

Neurophysiology of ocular pain and itch

Xavier Gasull

Full Professor

Regulation of sensory neuron’s excitability and pain sensitivity

David Soto

Associate Professor

Neurophysiology of ionotropic glutamate receptors

Mar Puigdellivol

Assistant professor

Microglia biology in health and disease

Research team


Arcadi Gual

Full Professor


Roberto Garcia

Early Stage Researcher


Silvia Locubiche

Early Stage Researcher


Federico Miguez

Early Stage Researcher


Federico Ponente

Early Stage Researcher


Anna Pujol

Early Stage Researcher


Lenin Reyes

Early Stage Researcher


Ana Santos

Early Stage Researcher


Sara Abello



Anna Priscil·la Perez


Research Interest


This programme is interested in the physiology of the nervous system and the pathophysiology of different central and peripheral pathological states. In particular, establishing the role of different ion channels implicated in shaping the excitability of sensory neurons of the dorsal root and trigeminal ganglia, and determining which alterations occur during injury, inflammatory, neuropathic or ocular pain and itch. Another research area of the group is glutamatergic signaling. This research is mainly focused on the study of the functional interaction between AMPARs and auxiliary subunits and other interacting proteins, which determine this glutamate receptor function at the synapse. Other lines of research includes functional studies on NMDARs with newly synthesized blocking compounds and positive allosteric modulators in the framework of neurodevelopmental conditions resulting from de novo mutations of NMDAR-encoding genes. Finally, the signaling between microglia and neurons and their involvement in neurodegenerative diseases is also studied.

Technologies & Methods


  • Electrophysiology (patch-clamp in cell lines, primary neurons, ex vivo hippocampal slices, field recordings, intracellular recordings)
  • Molecular biology
  • Biochemistry
  • Calcium imaging
  • Behavioural neuroscience (i.e. rotarod, open field, novel object recognition, Barnes test, Morris water maze, Sociability, …)
  • Animal models of pathology
  • Neuropharmacology
  • Ex vivo slices
  • Primary neuronal cultures
  • Primary glial cultures
  • Immunofluorescence
  • Histology
  • Confocal microscopy
  • Gene therapy

Featured Projects


    • Bases neurofisiológicas del picor y dolor crónico: canales iónicos en neuronas sensoriales implicados en enfermedades inflamatorias y oculares. Ministerio de Economia y Competitividad. PI17/00296. Xavier Gasull


    • Comprehensive delineation and personalised medicine of GRIN-related disorders, a rare paediatric encephalopathy. Fondo de Investigación Sanitaria (PS19/00348). Xavier Altafaj


    • Estudio funcional del proteoma de los receptores AMPA. Ministerio de Economia y Competitividad. BFU2017-83317-P. David Soto


    • Molecule-to-man pain network (PAIN-Net). EUUN – European Union. ITN network. 721841. Xavier Gasull


    • Red Temática de Investigación Cooperativa en Salud – Enfermedades oculares. Instituto de Salud Carlos III. Ministerio de Economia y Competitividad. RD16/0008/0014. Xavier Gasull


    • Spanish Excellence Network: “Synaptic Role in Cognitive Dysfunction” Network (MINECO). Xavier Altafaj

Featured Publications


    • Santos-Gómez, A., Miguez-Cabello, F., García-Recio, A., Locubiche-Serra, S., García-Díaz, R., Soto-Insuga, V., Guerrero-López, R., Juliá-Palacios, N., Ciruela, F., García-Cazorla, À., Soto, D., Olivella, M., & Altafaj, X. (2021). Disease-associated GRIN protein truncating variants trigger NMDA receptor loss-of-function. Human Molecular Genetics, 29(24), 3859–3871.


    • Mannara, F., Radosevic, M., Planagumà, J., Soto, D., Aguilar, E., García-Serra, A., Maudes, E., Pedreño, M., Paul, S., Doherty, J., Quirk, M., Dai, J., Gasull, X., Lewis, M., & Dalmau, J. (2020). Allosteric modulation of NMDA receptors prevents the antibody effects of patients with anti-NMDAR encephalitis. Brain, 143(9), 2709–2720.


    • Miguez-Cabello, F., Sánchez-Fernández, N., Yefimenko, N., Gasull, X., Gratacòs-Batlle, E., & Soto, D. (2020). AMPAR/TARP stoichiometry differentially modulates channel properties. eLife, 9, e53946.


    • Castellanos, A., Pujol-Coma, A., Andres-Bilbe, A., Negm, A., Callejo, G., Soto, D., Noël, J., Comes, N., & Gasull, X. (2020). TRESK background K+ channel deletion selectively uncovers enhanced mechanical and cold sensitivity. Journal of Physiology, 598(5), 1017–1038.


    • Coombs, I. D., Soto, D., McGee, T. P., Gold, M. G., Farrant, M., & Cull-Candy, S. G. (2019). Homomeric GluA2(R) AMPA receptors can conduct when desensitized. Nature Communications, 10.


    • Soto, D., Olivella, M., Grau, C., Armstrong, J., Alcon, C., Gasull, X., Santos-Gómez, A., Locubiche, S., Gómez de Salazar, M., García-Díaz, R., Gratacòs-Batlle, E., Ramos-Vicente, D., Chu-Van, E., Colsch, B., Fernández-Dueñas, V., Ciruela, F., Bayés, À., Sindreu, C., López-Sala, A., García-Cazorla, À., … Altafaj, X. (2019). L-Serine dietary supplementation is associated with clinical improvement of loss-of-function GRIN2B-related pediatric encephalopathy. Science Signaling, 12(586), eaaw0936.


    • Royal, P., Andres-Bilbe, A., Ávalos Prado, P., Verkest, C., Wdziekonski, B., Schaub, S., Baron, A., Lesage, F., Gasull, X., Levitz, J., & Sandoz, G. (2019). Migraine-Associated TRESK Mutations Increase Neuronal Excitability through Alternative Translation Initiation and Inhibition of TREK. Neuron, 101(2), 232–245.e6.


    • Hockley, J., Taylor, T. S., Callejo, G., Wilbrey, A. L., Gutteridge, A., Bach, K., Winchester, W. J., Bulmer, D. C., McMurray, G., & Smith, E. (2019). Single-cell RNAseq reveals seven classes of colonic sensory neuron. Gut, 68(4), 633–644.


    • Gasull, X., Castany, M., Castellanos, A., Rezola, M., Andrés-Bilbé, A., Canut, M. I., Estévez, R., Borrás, T., & Comes, N. (2019). The LRRC8-mediated volume-regulated anion channel is altered in glaucoma. Scientific Reports, 9(1), 5392.


    • Petit-Pedrol, M., Sell, J., Planagumà, J., Mannara, F., Radosevic, M., Haselmann, H., Ceanga, M., Sabater, L., Spatola, M., Soto, D., Gasull, X., Dalmau, J., & Geis, C. (2018). LGI1 antibodies alter Kv1.1 and AMPA receptors changing synaptic excitability, plasticity and memory. Brain, 141(11), 3144–3159.