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Elisa Martí: Development of the Spinal Cord in health and disease

Lab Presentation

The spinal cord is the anatomically simplest and most conserved region of the vertebrate central nervous system. Moreover, since the spinal cord is generated over an extended period in a head to tail sequence, not only is instrumental in understanding the mechanisms that control the growing organ, but is also essential to approach neuro-developmental disorders. In the lab, we have a long lasting interest in studying the generation of cell diversity during development of the spinal cord. Recently we have opened new lines aimed at understanding two additional key events; the generation of organ shape and size, two key event with direct implications in human health. Taking advantage of our background on the study of spinal cord development, we are currently engaged in the following main research lines:

We are currently seeking candidates to apply to the “Juan de la Cierva” Spanish Postdoctoral Program
If you are passionate about the nervous system, have recently obtained your PhD, have a strong background in Bioinformatics and Big Data analyses with a competitive track record, and would like to exploit your background to investigate the genomics of CNS development, you might be eligible to apply for a Juan de la Cierva postdoctoral contract to join the IBMB in the Martí lab.
Note that the application period is 12-26/01/2017
If you are interested please send an email to:
Elisa Martí emgbmc@ibmb.csic.es

Research Lines

Current projects on-going in the lab include:

Morphogenesis of the spinal cord and related NTDs
Our aims is to study the generation of the Secondary Neural Tube, as a model to study closed spina bifida. Development of the posterior spinal cord involves the elongation and cavitation of the tail bud in a poorly understood process called secondary neurulation. Importantly, faulty SN is the cause of closed spina bifida. We are combining live imaging and data from transcriptomics and functional genetics, to unveil the gene regulatory networks and tissue dynamics of secondary neural tube formation and to generate computational models with predictive capabilities.
Growth of the CNS and associated primary microcephalies (MCPH)
Our aim is to study the control of cell numbers and organ size at birth, as a model to study primary microcephalies. Tight control of the balance between self-expanding symmetric and self-renewing asymmetric neural progenitor divisions is crucial to control the number of cells in the developing nervous system and brain size at birth, and thus to prevent primary microcephalies. We recently demonstrated that Sonic hedgehog (Shh) and BMP signalling are required for the expansion of the pool of progenitors by maintaining symmetric divisions. We are now combining high resolution imaging and data from transcriptomics and functional genetics, to describe the mechanisms downstream these growth factors that regulate neural stem cell maintenance.
The dynamics of neural crest cells and associated Neuroblastomas
Our aim is to study the dynamics of neural crest cells as a multipotent stem cell-like population that originate from the dorsal spinal cord. Neural crest cells differentiate into a wide range of cell types including the sensory and sympathetic ganglia of the peripheral nervous system, and genetic lesions in these cells generate Neuroblastoma. We have identified a collection of neural crest specific genes which are common in high risk Neuroblastomas and we are currently investigating the function of these genes in normal and pathological neural crest development. This project is currently being financed by AECC
Elisa Martí Gorostiza

Principal Investigator



Past students

  • Tiago Guimaraes

    PhD Student

  • Roberto Álvarez

    PhD Student

  • M. Ángeles Rabadán

    PhD Student

LAST 10 YEARS PUBLICATIONS LIST 

  • M Angeles Rabadán, Antonio Herrera, Lucia Fanlo, Susana Usieto, Carlos Carmona-Fontaine, Elias H. Barriga, Roberto Mayor, Sebastián Pons and Elisa Martí (2016) Delamination of neural crest cells requires transient and reversible Wnt inhibition mediated by DACT1/2. Development. 143(12):2194-205. doi: 10.1242/dev.134981. http://dev.biologists.org/content/143/12/2194.long
  • Jo Richardson, Anton Gauert, Luis Briones Montecinos, Lucía Fanlo Escudero, Alhashem Zainalabdeen, Elisa Martí, Alexandre Kabla, Steffen Härtel and Claudia Linker (2016) Leader cells define directionality of trunk, but not cranial, neural crest migration. Cell Reports. 15(9):2076-88. doi: 10.1016/j.celrep.2016.04.067) http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2211124716305113 
  • Serena Mirra, Fausto Ulloa, Irene Gutierrez-Vallejo, Elisa Martì, and Eduardo Soriano (2016) Function of Armcx3 and Arm10/SVH genes in the regulation of progenitor proliferation and neural differentiation in the chicken spinal cord. Frontiers Cellular Neuroscience. Mar 3;10:47  doi: 10.3389/fncel.2016.00047. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4776218/pdf/fncel-10-00047.pdf 
  • Antonio Herrera, Murielle Saade, Anghara Menendez, Elisa Marti and Sebastian Pons (2014) Pre-neoplastic growth caused by sustained Wnt/β-Catenin depends on the localization and activation of aPKC at the apical pole of neuroepithelial cells. Nature Communications. 5:4168. doi: 10.1038/ncomms5168. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24942669
  • Gwenvael Le Dréau, Murielle Saade, Irene Gutierrez-Vallejo and Elisa Martí (2014) The strength of SMAD1/5 activity determines stem cell fate in the developing spinal cord. Journal of Cell Biology.  204 (4) 591-605) doi: 10.1083/jcb.201307031 http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24515346
  • David G. Míguez, Estel Gil-Guiñón, Sebastián Pons and Elisa Martí (2013) Smad2 and Smad3 cooperate and antagonize simultaneously in vertebrate neurogenesis. Journal of Cell Science. 126(Pt 23):5335-43. doi: 10.1242/jcs.130435. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24105267 
  • Murielle Saade, Irene Gutierrez, Gwenvael Le Dreau, M Angeles Rabadán, David G. Miguez, Javier Buceta and Elisa Martí (2013) Sonic hedgehog signaling switches the mode of division in the developing nervous system. Cell Reports. 4(3):492-503. doi: 10.1016/j.celrep.2013.06.038. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23891002 
  • M. Angeles Rabadán, Susana Usieto, Cinzia Lavarino and Elisa Martí (2013) Identification of a Putative Transcriptome Signature Common to Neuroblastoma and Neural Crest Cells. Developmental Neurobiology. Nov;73(11):815-27. doi: 10.1002/dneu.22099. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23776185 
  • Samuel Tozer, Gwenvael Le Dréau, Elisa Martí and James Briscoe (2013) Temporal control of BMP signalling determines neuronal subtype identity in the dorsal neural tubeDevelopment. 140(7):1467-74. doi: 10.1242/dev.090118 http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23462473 
  • Tiago Ferronha, M Angeles Rabadán, Estel Gil-Guiñón, Gwenvael LeDreau, Carmen de Torres and Elisa Martí  (2013) LMO4 is an essential cofactor in the Snail2-mediated epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition of neuroblastoma and neural crest cellsJournal of Neuroscience. 33(7):2794-2806; doi:10.1523/JNEUROSCI.4062-12.2013  http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23407937 
  • M Angeles Rabadán, Jordi Cayuso, Gwenvael Le Dreau, Catarina Cruz, Mercedes Barzi, Sebastián Pons, James Briscoe and Elisa Martí (2012) Jagged2 controls the switch between motor neuron and oligodendrocyte generation in the spinal cord. Cell Death and Differentiation 19(2):209-19 http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21720386 
  • Catarina Cruz, Vanessa Ribes, Jordi Cayuso, Eva Kutejova, Dominic Norris, Jonathan Stevens, Nicola Powles-Glover, Megan Davey, Ken Blight, Fiona Bangs, Anita Mynett, Elizabeth Hirst, Steven L. Brody, Elisa Martí and James Briscoe (2010) FoxJ1 is required for neural tube morphogenesis and modifies the response of cells to Shh signalling. Development. 137:4271-4282 http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21098568
  • Vanessa Ribes, Nikos Balaskas, Noriaki Sasai, Eric Dessaud, Catarina Cruz, Jordi Cayuso, Elisa Marti and James Briscoe (2010) Distinct Sonic Hedgehog signaling dynamics specify floor plate and ventral neuronal progenitors in the vertebrate neural tube. Genes & Development. 24, 1186-1200 http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20516201 
  • Lidia García-Campmany and Elisa Martí. (2007) The TGFbeta-intracellular effector Smad3 regulates neuronal differentiation and cell fate decisions in the developing spinal cord. Development. 134, 65-75 http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17138664 
  • Jordi Cayuso, Fausto Ulloa, Barny Cox, James Briscoe, Elisa Martí. 2006) The Sonic hedgehog pathway independently controls the patterning, proliferation and survival of neuroepithelial cells by regulating Gli activity. Development 133, 517-528 http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16410413

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ONGOING RESEARCH GRANTS (ACTIVE)

BFU2016-77498-P
CONTROL GENETICO DELA FORMACION Y CRECIMIENTO DE LA MEDULA ESPINAL, UN MODELO PARA ESTUDIAR DEFECTOS DEL NEURODESARROLLO
01/01/2017-31/12/2019
PI: Elisa Martí Gorostiza

AECC Cancer Infantil 2016
CARACTERIZACIÓN DEL SISTEMA NXPH/NRXN COMO MARCADOR DE CELULAS MADRE DE NEUROBLASTOMA Y POSIBLE DIANA TERAPEUTICA
01/09/2016 - 30/09/2019
PI: Elisa Martí Gorostiza

BFU2014-55738-REDT
GENERANDO DIVERSIDAD NEURAL
2014-2016
PI: Paola Bovolenta / Elisa Martí Gorostiza

Generalitat de Cataluña 2014 GRC 00161
SENYALITZACIO CEL.LULAR EN DESENVOLUPAMENT NORMAL I PATOLÒGIC DEL SISTEMA NERVIOS
2014-2016
PI: Elisa Martí Gorostiza

BFU2013-46477-P
DESARROLLO DE LA MEDULA ESPINAL, UN MODELO PARA ESTUDIAR FORMACION DE ORGANOS, BIOLOGIA DE CELULAS MADRE Y TRANSICION EPITELIO MESENQUIMA
01/01/2014 - 31/12/2016
PI: Elisa Martí Gorostiza

COMPLETED RESEARCH GRANTS (PAST)

BFU2010-18959
DESARROLLO TEMPRANO DEL SISTEMA NERVIOSO DE VERTEBRADOS CONTROL GENETICO DE LA IDENTIDAD Y LA MORFOLOGIA CELULAR
01/01/2011-1/12/2013
PI Elisa Martí Gorostiza

2009 SGR 1007
SENYALITZACIO CEL.LULAR EN DESENVOLUPAMENT NORMAL I PATOLÒGIC DEL SISTEMA NERVIOS
2009-2013
PI Elisa Martí Gorostiza

CSD2007-00008
From Genes to Shape: analysis of morphogenesis in Drosophila and vertebrates.
10/2007-09/2012
PI Elisa Martí Gorostiza

BFU2007-60487/BMC
Desarrollo temprano del sistema nervioso de vertebrados: control genético del crecimiento, diferenciación y morfología celular en el tubo neural.
12/2007-12/2010
PI Elisa Martí Gorostiza

Fundación La Caixa (BM05-52-0)
Estudio de la señalización celular en la diferenciación de motoneuronas espinales del desarrollo embrionario a la biología de células madre
01/01/2006- 31/12/2008
PI Elisa Martí Gorostiza

Generalitat de Cataluña 2005SGR 00840
SENYALITZACIO CEL.LULAR EN DESENVOLUPAMENT NORMAL I PATOLOGIC
2005-2008
PI Elisa Martí Gorostiza

BFU2004-00455/BMC
Desarrollo temprano del Sistema Nervioso de Vertebrados: control genético de la proliferación, determinación y diferenciación celular en el tubo neural.
13/12/2004- 13/12/2007
PI Elisa Martí Gorostiza

BMC2002-10860-E PI
Genetic Mechanisms that determine neuronal progenitor identity in the ventral Spinal Cord
01/10/2002- 31/09/2005
PI Elisa Martí Gorostiza

EU BioTech-Grant QLRT-2002-01141
Genetic Mechanisms that determine neuronal progenitor identity in the ventral Spinal Cord
27/09/2002- 31/03/2006
PI Elisa Martí Gorostiza

BMC2001-1354
Estudio de la señalización del morfógeno Sonic hedgehog en el desarrollo normal y patológico del cerebelo.
28/12/2001- 27/12/2004
PI Elisa Martí Gorostiza  

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