Francisco Alvarez, PhD

Professor

Emory University School of Medicine

Office: Department of Physiology

Phone: 404-727-5139 : Lab Number: 404-727-04826

Email: francisco.j.alvarez@emory.edu

Additional Contact Information

Mailing Address:

Emory University School of Medicine

615 Michael Street, Whitehead Research Building, Room 642

Atlanta, , GA 30322

Additional Websites

Biography

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 

Research

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.

  1. 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.  
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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. 

Publications

  • View publications on NCBI