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Dr Arantza Barrios

Dr Arantza Barrios

Associate Professor

Cell & Developmental Biology

Div of Biosciences

Joined UCL
1st Sep 2012

Research summary

One of the most fascinating properties of the brain is its ability to process one sensory stimulus into distinct, sometimes opposite, behavioural outputs. This is the basis of learning and decision-making, and what enables animals to couple behaviour with their ever-changing needs.Our lab studies the mechanisms that provide neural circuits with this functional plasticity. 

We focus on three important factors that influence the way sensory information is processed: reinforcing experiences; internal states of arousal; and sexual dimorphism. At the molecular level we are investigating how information is encoded by neuropeptide release.

 Our experimental system is the free-living nematode C. elegans, a genetic model organism with only 387 neurons (in males) and a high level of behavioural plasticity. We combine behavioral genetic screens, GCaMP recordings and optogenetics to dissect, at the molecular and single-cell level, how complex, integrative behavioural decisions arise from the dynamic properties of neural circuits

Teaching summary

- Lecturer for the MSc in Neuroscience (ANATG002)

- Organiser of the Cell Biology course C. elegans practical (CELL2007 and CELL2008) 

- Personal tutor of Biomedical Sciences BSc students (PHOL1001)

Biography

1996 BSc in Biology – Universitat de Barcelona and Erasmus at King’s College London


2002  PhD in Developmental Biology- University College London - Supervisors Steve Wilson and Nigel Holder


2003-2004- Postdoctoral researcher -MRC LMCB - Supervisor Steve Nurrish


2005-2009- Postdoctoral researcher -Albert Einstein College of Medicine- Supervisor Scott Emmons


2009-2012- Postdoctoral Researcher- Rutgers University- Supervisor Maureen Barr


20012- Present - Research Associate/ Group Leader - University College London




Publications