Roberto de la Torre Martinez
I received my Ph.D. from the University Miguel Hernandez of Elche, Spain, under the supervision of Professor Antonio Ferrer-Montiel. In my thesis, I studied the activity and modulation of several ion channels from the TRP family responsible for the transduction of noxious stimuli (TRPV1, TRPM8, and TRPA1). We described potential analgesics for combating chronic pain using electrophysiological techniques such as in vitro whole-cell patch-clamp and microelectrode array recordings (MEA) in the dorsal root ganglia neurons that led to three patents and multiple publications in high-impact journals.
In my first postdoc, I joined Ramon Reig’s laboratory at the Institute of Neuroscience of Alicante, Spain, where we studied the impact of dopamine on the modulation of sensory responses in the medium spiny neurons (MSNs) located in the dorsomedial striatum (DMS). We found that dopamine enhances the efficiency of striatal MSNs in the DMS to integrate visual and tactile information.
Next, I joined Gilad Silberberg’s laboratory at Karolinska Institutet. Here, we studied sensory-motor interactions in the dorsolateral striatum of awake healthy and parkinsonian mice. Using the patch-clamp recordings in vivo in behaving animals, we showed that neurons respond to both sensory stimuli and spontaneous whisking and that sensory responses are attenuated by whisker-related motor activity. We also showed that dopamine depletion affected both sensory and motor striatal representations in parkinsonian mice. These findings are published in Nat. Communications
Currently, I study the claustrum (CLA), a small brain region implicated in a wide range of functions such as awareness, consciousness, salience reporting, memory consolidation, attention, regulation of cortical sleep waves, and impulse control. Here, we combined in vivo multiunit silicon probe recordings in awake mice, ex vivo paired whole-cell patch-clamp recordings, optogenetics, and pharmacology to investigate the organizing principles and targets of CLA projections to the Anterior Cingulate Cortex.