Francisco Alvarez, PhD
Emory University School of Medicine
Office: Department of Physiology
Phone: 404-727-5139 : Lab Number: 404-727-04826
Additional Contact Information
Emory University School of Medicine
615 Michael Street, Whitehead Research Building, Room 642
Atlanta, , GA 30322
Education: From PhD/MD to current position.
1987 PhD Universidad Complutense / Instituto Cajal CSIC (Madrid)
1988-1990 Postdoc, Department of Physiology, St. Thomas' Hospital London (UK)
1990-1992 Postdoc, Department of Physiology, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, North Carolina
1993-1995 Research Scientist, Department of Anatomy, Wright State University, Dayton, Ohio
1995 - 1997 Research Assistant Professor, Department of Anatomy, Wright State University, Dayton, Ohio
1998 - 2002 Assistant Professor, Department of Anatomy and Physiology, Wright State University, Dayton, Ohio
2003 - 2008 Associate Professor, Department of Neuroscience, Cell Biology and Physiology, Wright State University, Dayton, Ohio
2008 - 2010 Professor, Department of Neuroscience, Cell Biology and Physiology, Wright State University, Dayton, Ohio
2011 - 2016 Associate Professor, Department of Physiology, Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia
2016 to date Professor, Department of Physiology, Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia
Spinal cord motor synaptic circuitry assembly during development and its plasticity in adults after peripheral nerve injury. Role of neuroinflammation.
There are currently four distinct projects in the Alvarez lab all focused on spinal cord motor circuits.
- Development of spinal cord motor interneurons: We study specification of inhibitory interneurons controlling motoneuron activity, the origins of different functional classes and how their different properties (synaptic inputs, axon targeting, electrophysiological properties) are determined by genetic factors and/or develop through activity-dependent mechanisms. We also want to elucidate the functional roles of novel genetically-defined subgroups using genetic manipulations of their activity during development and in adult.
- Alterations in spinal cord motor circuitries after peripheral nerve injury: This project goal is to explain the permanent motor deficits that linger in patients with nerve injuries even after the peripheral nerve successfully regenerates and reinnervates muscle. The focus is on the changes in connectivity of synaptic branches inside the spinal cord of sensory and motor axons injured in the periphery.
- Neuroimmune responses after peripheral nerve injury: Microglia are major effectors of synaptic pruning in the central nervous system during development and neuropathology. Therefore we study the activation and role of microglia in relation to the synaptic alterations that modify spinal motor circuits after nerve injury. A major focus is on microglial-dependent recruitment of peripheral immune cells, like T-cells and monocytes, different cytokine signaling cascades and what their respective roles are in preserving or deleting specific synapses, axonal arbors or neurons inside the “intact” spinal cord after nerve injury.
- Chloride homeostasis in motoneurons axotomized after peripheral nerve injury: The potassium-chloride co-transporter that regulates internal chloride in neurons and thus the strength of inhibitory synapses, is downregulated in motoneurons axotomized after nerve injury. We study the cellular signaling mechanisms that lead to this downregulation and its impact on motoneuron physiology and regeneration.
- View publications on NCBI