Plan Estratégico/Strategic Plan 2022-2025
Plan Estratégico/Strategic Plan 2022-2025
1. Datos Generales / General Data
Código de cento/Center Code: 050601
Tipo de cento/Center Type: Instituto Investigación
Áreas Científicas / Scientific Areas: Vida, Vida/Materia
Dirección / Address: AVDA DOCTOR ARCE, 37 28002-MADRID
Teléfono / Phone: 91 5854750
Dirección: RICARDO MARTÍNEZ MURILLO
Vicedirección / Deputy Directors: ROSARIO MORATALLA VILLALBA, JOSE MARÍA FRADE LÓPEZ
Gerente / Manager: Mª SAGRARIO SALADO REY
Constituido por / Established by: Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (CSIC)
Departamentos / Departments:DPTO DE NEUROCIENCIA TRASLACIONAL, DPTO DE NEUROBIOLOGIA FUNCIONAL Y DE SISTEMAS DPTO DE NEUROBIOLOGIA MOLECULAR, CELULAR Y DEL DESARROLLO
Unidades Asociadas / Associated Units: NEUROGLÍA, UNIDAD DE NEURO-REHABILITACION, BIOMECANICA Y FUNCION SENSITIVO-MOTORA
2. Reseña Histórica / Historical Outline
2.1 Origen / Origin
Fecha de Constitución / Foundation Date: 12/11/1920
Entidades Fundadoras / Founder Entities: King Alfonso XIII / President of Government Francisco Silvela
Primer Director/a / First Director: SANTIAGO RAMÓN y CAJAL
2.2 Objeto con el que fue creado / Founding aim
Mission: Research at the Cajal Institute aims to provide basic knowledge about brain structure and function during development and in the adult. Providing a better understanding of the physiopathology of brain diseases of great social impact, and development of neurorehabilitation methods to improve the functional or health outcomes of people with physical disabilities is one of our major goals. Comprehension of basic mechanisms of nerve function will certainty provide cutting-edge opportunities to transfer leading-edge knowledge and technologies to society and industry. Following multidisciplinary approaches, the center is committed to promotion, coordination, development, dissemination, advice, personnel training and talent attraction, as well as reinforcement of social awareness about neurological diseases. Disseminating to society the importance of brain research through active collaboration with scientific societies and local associations of patients with neurological conditions is also actively pursued.
Being aware on the social role that any public research center must have, which implies a clear and visible return to society, in addition to fundamental and applied research, the IC considers the following aspects as part of its mission:
1. TRANSFER: Transfer of research results to the clinic and industry, for example, through the creation of spin – off companies to exploit the results or promote trials is one of our priorities. The institute must become a scientific-technological tractor, collaborating with companies (pharmaceutical companies, scientific-medical- clinical equipment, neurorehabilitation technologies) and patient associations. The spaces that the new center has on the University Campus should be complemented by the location, in the facilities provided by the UAH and destined for innovation, of spin-offs and groups with a clear translational orientation, including spaces for the provision of services. In this sense, we understand that a business model can be developed based on the provision of services to third parties in which most of the services listed in the following section could be integrated.
2. TRAINING: Neuroscience training at both undergraduate and postgraduate level is essential for a modern institution to thrive, both in its aspect of offering the knowledge acquired in the formats that society requires for students in training, as well as to connect with the university environment to recruit the best students to be trained in the IC laboratories. Regarding student formation, the Institute has strong links with neighboring universities in the Madrid region and aims to keep the same fruitful level of collaboration with all of them. Most research group leaders (PIs) in the Institute are already involved in different master courses and regularly receive students from national and international institutions. Establishment of new links with academical institutions is being actively pursued as well as keeping the current links. Also, Institute members regularly participate in different types of public events to disseminate our research activities. These include a variety of public activities (science fairs, public lectures, open-door sessions, media interviews etc.). Currently, the IC cooperates in teaching programs of university master’s degree in neuroscience. Also, it welcomes students from foreign institutions (undergraduate internships, final degree projects, end of master, doctorate, Erasmus + program, Fulbright … etc). Of particular interest is our post-graduate research program offering multidisciplinary teaching adapted to the new models of the Europe of knowledge. Also, specialization training for technicians is provided. In accordance with all this, the new IC at the UAH campus plans to lead a new International Master and PhD Program in Neurosciences in collaboration with the International University “Menendez Pelayo”, using when necessary the teaching collaboration of scientists from around the world. We seek to generate new professional opportunities inside and outside the academy, influencing the training not only of tomorrow’s scientists, but also future high-school teachers, journalists, philosophers, historians, etc. These training programs will be open to students from all countries of the world according to a strict selection
IC – 2criterion. We aspire through this program to be recognized by the NENS Committee of the Federation of European Neuroscience Societies-FENS and to achieve collaboration systems that guarantee an associated scholarship program.
3. HISTORY: The IC became heir to the work of Cajal and his Spanish Neurohistological School, receiving in inheritance his Legacy. Thus, the IC is and should be a flagship in neuroscience within our institution. Given the validity and timeliness of the” Cajal Legacy”, both in terms of the history of science and for current research, it is essential to have a “Cajal Museum”. In this regard, it should be pointed out that the “Archives of Santiago Ramón y Cajal and the Spanish Neurohistological School”, are included in the Memory of the World Register in 2017.
4. DISSEMINATION: Quality scientific dissemination must be one of the essential elements of current and future scientific activity. The IC has a section of Scientific Culture as such, and we consider that its support is fundamental. This, without detriment to the already traditional participation of the IC´s personal scientist in outreach activities that seek to reach Spanish society and in particular patient associations related to the world of Neurology and Psychiatry
Vision: To be a reference international center in research, development and innovation in the field of Neurosciences, capable of attracting the best researchers, as a key to the development of its activity and sustainability.
2.3 Reseña histórica extendida / Extended historical outline
2.3.1. Sus primeras sedes / First headquarters
The IC is currently a center of reference in neuroscience, not only in Spain, but also internationally, protected by identity provided by the memory and legacy of Ramón y Cajal (1852-1934). His founder was Santiago Ramón y Cajal, the recognized pioneer of modern Neuroscience. The IC has a history that dates back to the end of the 19th century, when Cajal was recognized abroad, not only for his work on the fine structure of the nervous centers, but also for having received several scientific distinctions and for the accolade obtained after its intervention in the Congress of Anatomy, Berlin in 1889. The IC formally originates from the “Laboratorio de Investigaciones Biológicas” (1901, Laboratory for Biological Investigations, LIB), created to offer Santiago Ramón y Cajal the means with which he could work in Spain in the context of the renewal of scientific-educational policy, by the initiative of the President of the Government, Mr. Francisco Silvela, on the occasion of the Moscow Prize awarded to Santiago Ramón y Cajal, 1897. The LIB was settled in “Ventura de la Vega” street, then moved to the Velasco´s Museum, origin of the Anthropological Museum in Atocha neighborhood. In 1910, the LIB joined the so called “Junta para Ampliación de Estudios e Investigaciones Científicas” (JAE), an institution dependent of the Ministry of Public Education. Following the award of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine (1906), and the creation of the JAE (1907), Cajal was appointed as President of JAE. The IC officially began its journey at the beginning of 1920. A royal decree by H.M. King Alfonso XIII promoted the construction of a new building dedicated to Biological Research and the appointment of Cajal as the first director, an Institute that would be called Cajal Institute. Works for construction began in 1922 on the hill of “San Blas”, next to the Astronomical Observatory and the previous one “Velasco Museum”, next to the “Retiro” Park, in Madrid. The IC incorporated various laboratories of other fields outside neurobiology, and it remained there until 1953. The old LIB, where Cajal had worked for almost thirty years, would move there. Cajal only entered his Institute on the day of its inauguration and little else, due to his precarious state of health. Cajal died in October 1934, a year after finishing the works of the new Institute. The building, of truly spectacular dimensions for the time and due to certain financing problems, was not inaugurated until 1933, more than ten years later, just when Cajal had appointed Jorge Francisco Tello director of the Institute. Following the steps of its founder, research in the IC initially focused in neurohistology and histopathology. On the first floor was the Neurohistology Laboratory directed by Prof. Fernando de Castro. During the Spanish Civil War (1936-39), the IC was badly damaged, even occupied by battle contenders and had to be rebuilt in part. In 1939, following the creation of the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC), the IC was incorporated to this national organization originated from the extinct JAE. José Ibáñez Martín, Minister of National Education and the first president of the CSIC, and José María Albareda Herrera, appointed secretary general of the CSIC, participated actively in his organization. Two years later, the IC was incorporated to CSIC. The Spanish Civil War interrupted the consolidation of a science that had been born under the cultural designs of the JAE . At the end of the War, Jorge Francisco Tello was ceased as director of the institute and from the Royal Spanish Academy of Medicine as well, being replaced by José María del Corral García in the chair of the Institute (1939). Later, Enrique Suñer Ordoñez was appointed director of the IC, holding the position until 1941 when he was replaced by Juan Marcilla Arrazola, professor of Microbiology and Enology at the Madrid School of Agronomists. After the disasters that occurred during the Civil War in Spain, the institutional scrapping of the Cajal School was completed, which practically buried the Institute in oblivion. Many members of the Cajal School went into exile, ie. Lorente de Nó had already went to the United States of America, Nicolás Achúcarro died very young, in 1918, at the only 37 years of age, José María Villaverde was assassinated at the beginning of the war, Gonzalo Rodríguez Lafora and Isaac Costero left for Mexico, Pio del Río Hortega went to Argentina, Ramón Rodríguez Pérez and Juan Miguel Herrera joined the Republican army, and so on. Francisco Tello and Fernando de Castro remained in Spain in the care of the IC and in 1947 Julian Sanz Ibañez was entrusted with the reorganization of the Cajal Institute of Madrid. In 1957, the IC was installed in a new building called “Centro de Investigaciones Biológicas” (Center for Biological Research, CIB), situated in Velázquez 144 street, inaugurated by F. Franco on February 8, 1958. In the CIB, the IC shared space with other newly created research institutes dependent of the CSIC, mostly devoted to Biology. In the brand new CIB building, the IC laboratories and supporting research services were located in the ground floor and portions of the second and third floors facing Velázquez street, and a part of the central tower where the “Animal Facility” (to call it somehow) was located together with the operating room. An electron microscope Zeiss© and old Reichert OMU© ultramicrotomes were located in the same floor of the tower. The Institute also had a space in the ground floor that housed the Cajal Museum. In 1960 the Cajal Institute did not meet the expectations (period 1977-89, H index=22). Professor Sanz Ibáñez died unexpectedly in 1963 and was succeed by Professor Alfredo Carrato, elected between known neuroscientists candidates, Fernández de Molina and Jabonero. Following Prof. Carrato´s retirement in 1981, there was a complete staff´s agreement on the need to appoint an “International Advisory Board” (SAB) to carry out the necessary administrative and scientific restructuration for upgrading of the Institute’s activity.
In the late 1969 and early 1970s the traditional fields of Anatomy, Physiology and Psychiatry, among other disciplines related to the study of the brain and its diseases, experienced unprecedented growth that led to the emergence of a new science that became known as Neurosciences, a discipline that was consolidated mainly due to advances in molecular biology, electrophysiology, pharmacology and pathology, among others. At the beginning of 1980, with a practically new democracy, there was an atmosphere of renewal and change in Spain that, although for different reasons, was reminiscent of the regenerationism movement that occurred in Spain at the end of the 19th century and early 20th century. This renewal movement also meant a substantial change for the CSIC in the organization. At the CIB, CNB, and CBM there were a significant number of researchers who had completed their training abroad, evolving scientifically and incorporating new technologies and cutting-edge lines of research. However, the CI had not incorporated at that time the methods and techniques of state-of-the-art research, having remained anchored in the methodologies of the time of its foundation, so it was considered by the CSIC a renewal of the IC as a priority based on renovation experiences that were giving such good results in other research centers. The CSIC, chaired by Alejandro Nieto (1980-1983) as president, and Emilio Muñoz as vice president, considered that the renewal of the Institute could be a milestone well deserved. As a first step, a commission made up of several IC researchers was appointed, composed by José Gómez-Acebo, Ricardo Martínez (father) and Facundo Valverde. They were commissioned to carry out a detailed study of the situation of the Institute with an evaluation of the possibilities for the future according to the modern scientific trajectories that other research centers had carried out. Among several possible evaluators, they decided to invite W. Maxwell Cowan from the Salk Institute of San Diego, California (USA), and Hendrik van der Loos, professor at the University of Lausanne (Switzerland). They were committed to report proposals to promote the IC activity as a center of excellence. To be fair, it must be said that both reports were devastating for the Institute. However, several recommendations were drawn. Particularly noteworthy was the lack of scientific leadership detected, the isolation of some members of the Institute and the type of obsolete research, working on problems that would have been of interest 30 or 40 years ago, and frozen in procedures and techniques of past times (in words of Facundo Valverde). Both evaluators pointed considerable emphasis on the poor equipment and organization of many laboratories, the lack of space and the lamentable state of the animal facility. In 1985, the Institute was re-organized with the recruitment of scientists from other fields of neuroscience evolving scientifically and incorporating new technologies and cutting-edge lines of research in electrophysiology, cell and molecular biology, genetics, neural development, neuropharmacology and behavior. A complete agreement between staff scientists of the IC was the need to appoint a permanent SAB composed of half a dozen scientists of renowned prestige and knowledge of modern Neurobiology, who would provide assistance and advice in the administrative and scientific restructuring of the Institute and to monitor, through periodic evaluations, the Institute’s activity. In the process of renovating the IC and following the recommendations of the former evaluators, in 1985 an external evaluation committee was appointed composed by E. Costa, from the National Institute of Mental Health. (USA), C. Cuello from Oxford University (UK), H M Gerschenfeld from the École Normale Superieure de Paris (France), F. Reinoso-Suárez from the Faculty of Medicine of the Autonomous University of Madrid (UAM) and H. van der Loos from the Institut of Anatomy of the Faculty of Medicine of Lausanne (Switzerland). Following referee’s suggestions to promote the IC activity as a center of excellence, a new building on Avenida del Dr. Arce, 37 (third headquarters), in the heart of the Chamartín district was built with CSIC´s own funds. The new center was inaugurated in 1989, in Madrid in a building of 4,500 square meters, which is now quite tight owing to the increase of its staff during these last years. In 2020 the IC housed 28 research teams and around 41 researchers (staff, senior and postdoc researchers), with operating costs of 3,062 M€ in 2020. However, weakness of the IC at the present location is that it remains small and geographically and scientifically isolated, especially since the CIB moved to the UCM in 2004. The new IC in the Campus of the Alcala University (UAH) (fourth headquarters) is intended to be the house of a modern center with all the necessary equipment for the development of cutting-edge research in neurobiology. In 2020, the transfer of the IC to the campus of the UAH was announced. A research center called “Centro Internacional de Neurociencias Cajal” (Cajal Neuroscience International Center, CINC) will share space and technical facilities (CI2A) with the IC. IC and CINC will become world reference centers equipped with the most cutting-edge technology to collect the baton of more than a century of scientific efforts in the field of neurosciences. The new building, already finished in 2011, is expected to be occupied on 2022 by both Cajal´s centers.
2.3.3. Among the most relevant scientific-technical milestones in its history, it is worth mentioning:
-1902-41, Domingo Sánchez is one of the main specialists worldwide on the CNS of insects and other invertebrates. He performed prominent studies on the visual system (with Cajal, 1915) and motor system, as well as metamorphosis.
– 1919-20, Pío del Río Hortega identifies the composition of the “third element of the nervous system¨ constituted by microglia and oligodendroglia. Therefore, he discovers two out of the four main cell types of the CNS. Nominated to Nobel Prize for this finding in 1929 and 1937. In the period 1920-28, Pio del Rio Hortega describes the function of oligodendrocytes, homologating them to the Schwann cells at the peripheral nervous system. His disciple Wilder Penfield, an American neurosurgeon who founded the Montreal Neurological Institute and worked at the IC in 1924, contributed to this finding. In addition, Pío del Río Hortega publishes five innovative scientific studies on the pineal gland. Pío del Río Hortega performs the first histogenetic classification of tumors of the nervous system (gliomas), which places him at the forefront of neuropathology. This classification remained in use until the latest biomarkers generation.
-1920-30, Gonzalo Rodríguez Lafora and José María Villaverde published many works in the fields of neuropathology and psychiatry, and toxicology and neuropsychiatry, with great international impact.
– Fernando de Castro devoted himself to the study the structure and organization of sympathetic, parasympathetic, and sensorial ganglia. His work is included in the Treatise on Neurology of Penfield, thus becoming acknowledged as world leader in the field of neuroscience. Described the innervation of the “glomus caroticum”. Although his studies, published between 1926 and 1928, should have led him to obtain the Nobel Prize, it was the Belgian C. Heymans, based on the chemoreceptor function first described by Fernando de Castro, who continued a series of works by which he obtained the Nobel Prize in 1938. It was always considered that Fernando de Castro should have shared this award with C. Heymans himself. He was an honorary member of the Faculty of Medicine of several national and foreign universities, awarded by the Royal National Academy of Medicine and, among other merits and distinctions, in 1966 he received the Grand Cross of the Civil Order of “Alfonso X el Sabio”.
-Pioneering study of Rafael Lorente de Nó on the murine cerebral cortex in 1923, described the cortical columns, fundamental to Hubbel & Wiesel’s Nobel Prize in 1981. Lorente was Nobel nominee four times between 1949-53. Rafael Lorente de Nó publishes three fundamental works on the structure and connections of the labyrinth and audit ory nuclei, and explains ocular movements and labyrinth reflection. The IC enters, with these studies, into physiology.
-1925-31, Francisco Tello stood out for his works on early neurogenesis, the degeneration and regeneration of the nervous system and on the hibernation processes of mammals.
-1933, A year before he died, Cajal published Neuronism or reticularism? (1933), an exhaustive proof in favor of cellular theory in the central nervous system. The reticularists did not recognize their defeat until the 1950s, with the arrival of the electron microscopy.
-1967, Facundo Valverde demonstrated for the first time that sensory deprivation produces morphological variations in dendritic spines (specifically, apical dendritic spines of the visual cortex and light deprivation in the mouse), suggesting their involvement in memory and learning processes: Exp. Brain Res. 3, 337-52, 1967 (up to 500 cites). In 1992, Facundo Valverde got the King Jaume I Award for his relevant studies in the anatomical organization of the cerebral cortex, with special attention to the visual areas.
-1973, Ricardo Martínez Rodriguez, received the “Santiago Ramón y Cajal” award from the CSIC, in recognition of his studies on “Histochemistry of Neurotransmitter Metabolism”.
-1994, Angela Nieto, described that the Snail superfamily of zinc-finger transcription factors is involved in processes that imply pronounced cell movements, both during embryonic development and neural differentiation. Also, in cell survival and in the acquisition of invasive and migratory properties during tumor progression. Science 264, pp.835-839, 1994; Nat Rev Mol Cell Biol, 3, 155-56, 2002; Oncogene, 21, 3241-3246, 2002; Science, 342, 708, 2013; Nat. Cell Biol., 2, 78-63, 2000. Papers with a number of references altogether of up to 4,500 citations.
-1999, José Ramón Naranjo described for the first time that DREAM represents the first known Ca2+-binding protein to function as a DNA-binding transcriptional regulator. Nature, 398, 80-4. Paper with a number of references of up to 500.
-2009, Alfonso Araque provided data supporting that brain function actually arises from the coordinated activity of a network comprising both neurons and glia: the “tripartite synapses”. Trends Neurosci. 32, 421-31. Paper with a number of references up to 1000.
2.3.4. Awards (2018-2021):
– XXVIII Carmen de Burgos Feminist Advertising Award, organized by the Association for Historical Studies on Women of the University of Malaga, for the article entitled: “The invisible scientists of the Cajal school”, published by E. Giné, C Nombela Otero and F. de Castro Soubriet in “Investigación y Ciencia” (Cuadrenos de Mente y Cerebro) 27, 28-35. https://www.investigacionyciencia.es/revistas/cuadernos/cajal-810/las-cientficas-invisibles-de-la-escuela- de-cajal-19101.
-Alberto Rábano Prize 2020. PhD Award 2019-2020 to Sara Mederos Crespo. Merit: Best doctoral tesis granted by Complutense University of Madrid, Faculty of Biological Sciences. PhD director: Gertrudis Perea
– Journal of Clinical Medicine award to Fernando de Castro, distinguished as one of the 10 most meritorious papers: Scientific paper: Bribián, A., et al., Functional heterogeneity of mouse and human brain OPCs: relevance for preclinical studies in Multiple Sclerosis. J. Clin. Med. 9, 1681:1-21; 2020, doi:10.3390/jcm9061681.
– Tecnología Siglo XXI 2020 prizes, Awarded person: Juan C. Moreno. Scientific topic: Rehabilitation of human gait after neurological diseases with special interest in brain injuries and spinal cord injuries.
-Laia Acarín Prize, 2019, Granted by Red Glial Española (RGE). Awarded person: Sara Mederos Crespo. Merit:: Best scientific work related to the study of glia cells (Mederos et al., GABAergic-astrocyte signaling: A refinement of inhibitory brain networks, Glia. 67:1842–1851. 2019, doi: 10.1002/glia.23644).
– “Mi científica” award. Instituto de Ciencias Matemáticas (CSIC;UAM;UC3M; UCM). Awarded person: Marta Navarrete Llinás.
-Alberto Rábano Prize 2018. Awarded person: Oscar Solís Castejón. Merit: Best doctotal thesis in neuroscience, entitled: “MECANISMOS MOLECULARES QUE CONTRIBUYEN AL DESARROLLO DE LAS DISCINESIAS EN LA ENFERMEDAD DE PARKINSON”, directed by Rosario Moratalla.
– FENS EJN Young Investigator Award to Sara Mederos Crespo. Merit: Recognition of outstanding work done by early career researchers who are leading the way in a field. Announced in 2021.
2.3.5. Scientific publications, dissemination of science 2018-2021
“SCIENTIFIC PRODUCTION OF THE CENTRE AS A WHOLE over the 2018-2021 period, AND SCIENTIFIC PERSONNEL EVOLUTION”,. The number of publications (total, first quartile and first decile) and the number of citations in the timeframe from publication are shown. Only publications by IC researchers are taken into account. H index=28
2.3.6. Milestone Publications over the period 2018-21 (times cited)
2.3.7. International projects, project leadership:
– FET Open project, FETOPEN-899616. IC coordinator: Mariano Carrión-Vázquez. Coordinated European project FET Open of the H2020 program. 2020-2023. Title: New Blue Revolution through a pioneering pathogen-trapping technology based on bioselective hydrogel-forming proteins. PathoGelTrap consortium. Scientific Coordinator IC: Mariano Carrión-Vázquez. Individual endowment: € 866,500. Consortium endowment: € 3 million.
– UE Horizon 2020, H2020-SC1-BHC-2018-2020, AND-PD/848002/H2020-HEALTH/0647 grant agreement n°848002. Coordinator IC: Rosario Moratalla. Title: Comorbidity mechanisms of anxiety and Parkinson’s disease (AND-PD), Entities: CSIC; Fondazione Instituto Italiano di Tecnologia; Karolinska Institutet; Universite de Bordeux; The Hebrew University of Jerusalem; Modus Research and Innovation Limited; Transine Therapeutics Limited; University College London; King´s College London; Motac France Fundación para la Investigación Médica Aplicada. Rosario Moratalla. Individual endowment: € 800.000
– FET-OPEN, Grant Agreement nº 828972. IC responsible Liset Menendez de la Prida, Tithe: Bringing nano- photonics into the brain. Entities: Instituto Cajal CSIC, Istituto Italiano di Tecnología, Laboratoire Kastler Brossel CNRS, CNIO. Inividual endowment: € 683.125,00.
– INBOTS/780073//H2020-LEIT-ICT/0377, 2018-21, Title: “Inclusive Robotics for a better society”., Topic ICT 28- 2017: Robotics Competitions, coordination and support. Reference: 780073. Coordinated by CSIC. IP: Dr. Juan C. Moreno. Duration: 01/01/2018 – 30/06/2021. Total funding: 2.982.973,75€. Individual endowment to CSIC: €570.250.
– EUROBENCH, H2020 “European Robotic framework for bipedal locomotion BENCHmarking”. Topic ICT 27- 2017: System abilities, SME & benchmarking actions, safety certification. Reference: 779963. Coordinated by CSIC. IP: Dr. Diego Torricelli. Duration: 01/01/2018 – 31/12/2021. Total funding: 8.190.691,25€. Individual endowment to CSIC: € 643.373,75.
– EXTEND H2020 “Bidirectional Hyper-Connected Neural System”, 01/01/2018 – 31/12/2021, Topic ICT 23-2017: Interfaces for accessibility. Reference: 779982. Coordinated by CSIC. IP: Dr. Filipe Barroso. Individual endowment CSIC: € 800.657,50.
– INDUSTRIAL LEADERSHIP H2020- Leadership in enabling and industrial technologies – Information and Communication Technologies (ICT). 01/01/2021 – 31/12/2023. Title: “Natural Intelligence for Robotic Monitoring of Habitats”. Reference: 101016970. IP: Dr. Diego Torricelli. Individual endowment CSIC: € 398.106,25.
– Human Brain Project, SGA2 (HBP-SP1), 1 April 2018-31 March 2020. Responsible IC: Javier de Felipe Oroquieta (IC-UPM). Individual endowment: € 1 707 055,90.
– ADAPTED. Reference: Grant agreement: 115975-2. EUROPEAN UNION: INNOVATIVE MEDICINE INITIATIVE H2020-JTI-IMI2-2015-05-06. TITLE: “Alzheimer´s Disease Apolipoprotein Pathology for Treatment Elucidation and Development. 01/10/2016 – 30/09/2020. IC responsible: Carlos Vicario Abejón. Individual
endowment: € 383.763. Collaboration with companies participating in the ADAPTED Project, Grant agreement reference: 115975-2, funded by IMI-H2020, to study the role of APOE gene alleles in neurodegeneration and neuroprotection in the context of sporadic Alzheimer’s disease.
– HORIZON 2020, MARIE SKLODOWSKA-CURIE ACTIONS. Project ITN-956325 funded by EU-Marie Curie, a consortium in which a research group headed by Gertrudis Perea participates as a work package leader. “Disruptive materials, technologies & approaches to unravel the role of Astrocytes in brain function and dysfunction: towards to Glial interfaces”
2.3.8. Patents, transfer of results
– PCT/EP2016/057801 patent. Inventor: IP Mariano Carrión Vázquez. Title: Use of QBP1 peptide for the inhibition of memory consolidation. CSIC 2015 (April 10, 2015). Priority patent number: EP15382176.4. International application number PCT / EP2016 / 057801 (8 April 2016). Currently in national phases in Europe (Concessi on: 10/16/2019; 16725038).
– DisruPep SL., CSIC’s technology-based spinoff company. IP Mariano Carrión Vázquez, co-founder. Date of establishment: 04/29/2020. NIF: B88630082. DisruPep SL has acquired the exploitation license of the PCT/EP2016/057801 patent for the prophylaxis and treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder (2020).
– PCT/GB2020/052039, Antidyskinetic potential of the phytocannabinoid Δ 9THCV. Inventors Whalley B, Fernández-Ruiz J, Moratalla R, patent licensed to: GW Research Limited, 2020. Inventors Whalley B, Fernández- Ruiz J, Moratalla R.
– EP2783696B1, Phosphorylation on the thr-248 and/or thr-250 residues of transcription factor e2f4 as a therapeutic target in pathological processes associated with somatic polyploidy. Date: 09/08/2018. Inventor: José Mª Frade López. Registered at: EUROPEAN PATENT OFFICE, Licensed to: Tetraneuron, S.L.
– P200930430, Patent license agreement y know-how. Participants: CSIC, IKERLAN S. COOP, Zaragoza University Spain, MicroLiquid S.L. Inventor: Liset Menéndez de la Prida. Date: current; annual extension.
– TETRANEURON: Title: Phosphorylation on the Thr-248 and/or Thr-250 residues of transcription factor E2F4 as a therapeutic target in pathological processes associated with somatic polyploidy
–EEUU (US9567384 B2). CSIC (100%).Title: Phosphorylation on the Thr-248 and/or Thr-250 residues of transcription factor E2F4 as a therapeutic target in pathological processes associated with somatic polyploidy. Granted: 14/02/2017. IC responsible: José María Frade.
– Japón (JP6100276 B2). CSIC (100%). Title: Phosphorylation of Thr248 and / or Thr250 residues of transcription factor E2F4 as therapeutic target in pathological processes with somatic ploidy. Granted: 27/01/2017. IC responsible: José María Frade.
–UE (EP2783696 B1). CSIC (100%). Título: Phosphorylation of Thr248 and / or Thr250 residues of transcription factor E2F4 as therapeutic target in pathological processes with somatic ploidy. Granted: 09/08/2018. IC responsible: José María Frade.
–ESP (ES2598885 B1). CSIC (50%)/Tetraneuron (50%).Title: Method for determining the risk of developing alzheimer’s disease. Granted: 02/10/2017. IC responsible: José María Frade.
–UE (EP3318874 B1) CSIC (50%)/Tetraneuron (50%).Title: Method for determining the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. Fecha de concesión: 09/09/2020. IC responsable: José María Frade
– Industry contract – . Contract for the development of a system for the experimental study of brain activity in virtual reality (VR) environments. Participants: CSIC, CIBERTEC. 2018-2020. IC responsible: Liset Menéndez de la Prida. – Industry contract 2.- Title: Workshop on chronic rodent experiments using dDrive. Participants: CSIC,
Neuronexus. 2017-2018. IC responsible: Liset Menéndez de la Prida.
– Industry contract 3.- Title: TETRANEURON, AAV-E2FADN, Mulifactorial gene therapy to treat Alzheimer´s disease. The translational nature of THE scientific activity in this regard is materialized in TETRANEURON, a biotechnology spin-off company of our Group that exploits two of our patents. This company, currently resident in JLABS (Johnson & Johnson Innovation), develops gene therapies against Alzheimer’s disease (AD) based on the neuronal expression of a mutant form of the transcription factor E2F4 (E2F4DN) Participants CSIC- TETRANEURON. IC participant: José María Frade.
– Industry contract 4.- APTATARGETS. Purpose: Technological Support Project entitled “Study of the therapeutic agent ApTOLL-Pro in murine model of EAE” (hereinafter, the Project). IC responsible: Fernando de Castro.
3. Organización / Organization
Director: ……………………. Ricardo MARTÍNEZ MURILLO
Vicedirectors …………… … Carlos VICARIO ABEJÓN, Mº Ángeles ARÉVALO ARÉVALO
ADMINISTRATION AND TECHNICAL SUPPORT
General manager ………………………………. Gabriel CATALÁN ESPÁRRAGO
Human resources ……………………………… Yago RODRÍGUEZ CELA
Project management ………………………. Ángeles DE LA IGLESIA PÉREZ, Laura RAMOS DEL ÁLAMO
Economic management……………………………….. Carolina MARTÍN SÁNCHEZ, Sonia MARTÍNEZ ALONSO
Purchasing and supplies: ……………………………. Sonia MARTÍNEZ ALONSO, Cristina PECO MARCO
Information Technologies and Maintenance ……… Raúl MUÑOZ GARCÍA CORE FACILITIES
Unidad de Imagen Científica y Microscopía …….. Ricardo MARTÍNEZ MURILLO, Gabriela DEL ALBA AMO
Unidad de Biología Molecular y Celular (BMC)…… Emilio TEJERA PUENTE
Unidad de Citometría de Flujo y separación celular ……………………….. Laura RAMOS DEL ALAMO
Animal Facility ………………………………. Laudelina MARTÍN GARMENDIA
Unidad de Conducta …………………………. Ana Patricia FERNÁNDEZ FERNÁNDEZ
Unidad de Imagen Cerebral ………………… Maria LOPEZ DE CEBALLOS LAFARGA
Unidad de unidad de tecnologías ómicas ….. Jaime PIGNATELLI
Juan Manuel LUQUE SÁNCHEZ Eva SACRISTÁN HORCAJADA
Unidad de Cultivos Celulares ……………… Marta JIMÉNEZ BALLINA
Unidad de Cultura Científica …………………. Laura RAMOS DEL ALAMO
Library ………………………………………M. Victoria GARRIDO MARTÍNEZ
Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Neurobiology ………..Head: Juan A. de CARLOS SEGOVIA
Functional and Systems Neurobiology …………………….….… Head: Eduardo MARTÍN MONTIEL
Translational Neuroscience …………………………………… …Head: José Luis TREJO PÉREZ
3.2. Programs/ research lines: The research of the center is structured in 2 programs / 7 lines of research, described in detail later (see sections 5.3. and 7.1.), and summarized below
The IC is organized in Departments covering wide range of research topics that operate on a devolved research basis, based upon a Research Group structure. Each Research Group has its own subject and strategy matched to the cutting edge of contemporary neuroscience. Collaborative projects between groups are strongly encouraged (39 published papers in the period 2017-20). The past institutional Strategic Plan (2018-2021) was implemented in a principal investigator (PI)-oriented fashion, according to the CSIC mandatory guidelines. For this reason, adscription to each department was individually decided and flexible. The Head of each department is merely a representative of the common interests of all its members at the Joint Committee of the Institute, a governing body consultant to the Director. The head of the department also forms part of the Scientific Committee that advises the Director of the institute in all scientific matters. While it can be truly said that researchers at the IC tackle the great majority of topics in current neuroscience research, for the sake of brevity their objectives can be succinctly defined in 6 general research lines as
A1- Brain development: mechanisms of neural stem cell maintenance, neuronal and glial specification and of developmental disorders.
A2- Neurovascular unit: Neuron-glia-endothelial interactions, including the glia-neuron dyad, blood-brain-barrier physiology, and related pathology.
A3- Processing of neural signals: mechanisms of synaptic function, signal transduction and intracellular pathways. Analysis of neural circuits, memory and behavior, and neuronal synchrony. Common organization principles in the nervous system. Computational neuroscience is also an evolving strong aspect of this line of research.
A4- Neurodegeneration, neuroprotection and regeneration: with particular focus on early detection of pathology for disease prevention, neurogenesis, cell, molecular and gene therapy, disease mechanisms, and exploitation of endogenous neuroprotective loops. Systemic modulators of brain function: directing efforts to the understanding of the intense cross-talk between the periphery and the brain and its consequence in brain diseases
A5- Systemic regulators of neural function: including identification of mechanisms of actions of systemic regulators, such as immune and endocrine signals with an eye on clinical applications.
A6- Palliation and/or remediation of neural diseases: spinal cord injury, stroke, acquired brain injury, post-traumatic stress disorder and essential tremor, glioblastoma progression.
Groups are integrated in the following two programmes. The programs study normal aspects of structure and function of the CNS, and brain disorders :
P1.-Neocortical, hippocampal, basal ganglia, and olfactory circuits, molecular mechanisms underlying neurogenesis and brain development, physiological myelination, addiction, mood regulation, learning and memory, and deciphering the cross-talk between the periphery and the brain.
The objective is to generate high-quality cellular and microcircuit level data needed for hypothesis and data- driven brain modelling and according to their involvement in brain disorders as well during neural development and ageing. To this purpose, we will use a variety of techniques to generate strategic high- quality structure, neurochemical and physiological data that will be used for modelling and to study changes during abnormal development and ageing, and alterations that may occur in the various brain changes under study in the research groups. P1 has 16 research groups
P2.– Nervous system disorders during development, in epilepsy, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, mood regulation, autism, stroke, after CNS injury, post-traumatic stress disorder, blood- brain barrier implications for brain disease, and Glioblastoma progression.
The objective is to study brain alterations at multiple levels of complexity to better understand the basic mechanisms at the molecular, cellular, circuit and physiological levels that occurs in the human brain as well as in experimental models of brain and motor disorders, including epilepsy, Alzheimer’s disease (AD), Parkinson’s disease (PD), multiple sclerosis, mood regulation, post- traumatic stress disorder, addiction, autism, stroke, after acquired brain injury (ABI), developmental disorders, and primary brain cancer origin and progression, and to investigate new treatments for them. P2 has 17 research groups.
3.3. Proposal of programs development in the new headquarters at the Alcala University:
The IC will reinforce and enhance the translational character of the current lines with a view to developing new ones, including:
1.- Integrative neuroscience;
2.-Mechanisms and disease models;
4.- New therapies;
5.- Cognitive sciences
3.4. Positioning of the IC regarding the scientific challenges CSIC in Strategic Themes:
Thematic 5: AGING AND MIND
5A.-NEURONAL CIRCUITS AND BEHAVIOR: 67,5% 5B.-NEURODEGENERATIÓN: 67,5%
5C.-NEUROREHABILITATION: 11,94% 5D.- MENTAL HEALTH: 11,94%
Thematic 1: NEW BASIS FOR A SUSTAINABLEGLOBAL SOCIETY
1B.- A HEALTHIER AGING SOCIETY: 10,44%
3.5. Data of the staff evolution for the 2014-2021 period, last column shows the number of people on 01
December 2020, as appropriate. Research staff includes Staff Scientist, Senior Researchers and Postdoctoral researchers.
3.6. The scientific advisory board is actually under review. Until next re-structuration it is composed by:
-Dra.Rafael Yuste, Professor of Biology, Columbia University, 906 NWC Building, 550 West 120th Street, Box 4822 New York, NY, 10027. email: firstname.lastname@example.org
-Dr. Oscar Marín, Professor of Neurobiology, Head of Department of Developmental Neurobiology. Director of the MRC Centre for Neurodevelopmental Disorders., email: email@example.com.
-Dr. Eduardo Soriano: Institut de Neurociències, , Department of Cell Biology, Physiology and Immunology Faculty of Biology, Universitat de Barcelona, Av. Diagonal 643 08028 Barcelona . email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Date of creation; 2015
4. Análisis DAFO / SWOT Analysis
The CI aims at leading Neuroscience in Research and Education. The global aim of the IC is to attain the highest standards in science, education and social responsibility. These broad aims include carrying out cutting-edge research in several aspects of neuroscience, to maintain strong links with academic institutions worldwide, and to produce a beneficial impact in society at large. It is our commitment to keep the high profile that our institute enjoys worldwide since its foundation by Cajal a century ago by stretching the frontiers of Neuroscience. A main advantage of the IC is that it is considered a hub of neuroscience nationwide. Despite a regrettable continued loss of research teams, the scientific productivity in the IC is still very high as determined by its main output indicators. A key potential advantage of the IC is its move to a new site with larger space and better facilities that could facilitate consolidation and expansion of its research mission and would attract new faculty.
The challenge is to identify a “realistic” strategy plan by building on the CI’s traditions of independent scholarship and academic freedom while fostering a culture in which innovation and interdisciplinary collaboration plays a critical role. For this purpose, the strategic plan 2022-2025 is mainly focused on developing excellent outcomes and on supporting more excellent researchers. The motivation of this plan is based on the following determinations:
(i) To develop the capacity to generate and share knowledge globally, ensuring significant contributions to society and economic growth.
(ii) To work effectively with other institutions and organisations, where such partnerships can lead to outstanding research and teaching.
(iii) To enhance structures for collaboration across departments, and with international centres.
(iv) To ensure, through a commitment to the personal education of each student, a quality of education and experience which enables students to apply the values, skills, and intellectual discipline they have acquired in their future lives and careers, and which generates a lifelong sense of connection with the CI.
(v) To promote Open Science, research alliances, broader visibility and international leadership.
(vi) To promote gender equality in science.
The scientific mission of this plan is to unravel basic mechanisms of brain structural and functional organization to advance our knowledge in the study of the brain by using an integrated, open science and team-oriented approach. The vision of this plan is focused on accelerating foundational brain research in health and disease, generating novel multiscale data and knowledge. Taking advantage of the expertise and scientific interest of different laboratories of the CI, a major goal would be to apply this strategy to help better understand the major brain disorders that affect millions of people worldwide. Also, this plan represents the opportunity to attract talent, to be involved in high-profile initiatives, to generate research outcomes more visible and to make use of them, to make open science and to promote gender equality, all together to move forward throughout excellence.
The strategic objectives of this plan have been designed after assessing the current position of the IC within the research context. This has been done by using the technique SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats) analysis. In this analysis, Strengths and Weaknesses have been considered as internal factors – to do within the CI, its assets, processes, and people, and Opportunities and Threats as external factors, arising from the research context. The result of this analysis is displayed below:
Debilidades / Weaknesses
- Physical limitation at the current IC’s facilities. The current site of the IC is a building of ~4,500 m2 with insufficient and, in many instances, outdated infrastructures, well below actual needs of IC researchers. This
IC – 13physical limitation has hindered installation of much-needed large core facilities or, more importantly, incorporation of new research groups.
- The present location remains geographically and scientifically isolated, especially since the CIB moved to the UCM in 2004. At present, the IC is located away from any university campus.
- A major characteristic of the institute is its wide research scope. Consequently, its researchers use a wide variety of techniques involving very specialized equipment. Acquisition of equipment of general use through institutional calls is therefore problematic as the varying needs of IC researchers makes it difficult to define which equipment is required, particularly in times when harsh budget restrictions apply. This situation is intrinsic to the very nature of our research but could be overcame when a substantial number of new investigators with common research needs will join the CI.
- Lack of an intramural flexible hiring system.
- Low number of new permanent positions assigned to the CI. By age, 20% of staff will retire in the next 4 years.
- Low Open Science.
- Lack of agile methodologies for management.
Amenazas / Threats
- Delays in the move of the center.
- Continued uncertainty regarding the possible move and characteristics of relocation of the IC to the new site the UAH campus, make it difficult planning, recruiting and remodeling and even planning a weel-founded strategic plan for the CI.
- The existence of an international neuroscience research center (CINC), another CSIC’s own centre, located at the UAH campus next to IC, as a strong competitor in the same area of research.
- Unabated loss of principal investigators (PIs) and trained personnel at large as a consequence of CINC creation. The new CINC plans to incorporate 25% of its staff scientists from the IC (i.e., 10 groups). Thus, the CINC creation will undermine in a considerable proportion the staff of scientists in the IC in the period 2022- 25.
- Delay in implementing the recruitment strategy due to administrative procedures.
- Future increase of scientific staff´s positions by CSIC will be negatively impacted by the current situation promoting CINC´s development.
- In recent years we have lost 5 PIs that moved to other research centers, and 4 PIs that retired. During the term of this strategic plan, 4 more PIs will retire and 2 Pis will move to other centers. At this rate, the future of IC will be seriously compromised. This trend could be reversed if the actions included in this Plan are willfully implemented.
- After years of impending and aborted moves, several new researchers waiting to come to the new site finally declined while various valuable CI supporting personnel have moved to other institutes, or are planning to do so, arguing the move to the new site as the reason to leave the CI.
Fortalezas / Strengths
- The IC is the oldest and most recognized Spanish research center dedicated to Neuroscience, making it a “Brand name” in neuroscience research worldwide.
- The IC is a world reference center in Neuroscience.
- Despite ancillary nuances (as outlined above), a major strength of the IC is the great variety of research interests of its investigators within the broad topic of Neuroscience. This provides the IC with high potential of implementing a new scientific integration strategy across the collaboration of internal and external teams with complementary expertise.
- High capacity of achieving external, competitive and non-competitive, funding.
- Even though the number of PIs of the IC is relatively small when compared to other institutions with similar output and international profile, most of its PIs are either highly competitive or leaders in their respective fields altogether. This translates into a wide impact of the institute in national and international research organizations (European Human Brain Project), evaluation committees (too many to include), and research centers (Yale Univ., Max Planck Institutes, Janelia Farm, NIH, MIT, UNAM. etc.).
- A strong focus in brain diseases and brain computation, singling out the IC among national neuroscience research centers.
- Spite the present location away from any university campus, the IC keeps excellent relationships with the University participating in Master neuroscience programs mainly with the UAM, UAH and UCM. Also with the established industry, well-recognized topics at an international level, groups with strong interdisciplinary collaboration, and recruitment of very relevant young foreigners.
Oportunidades / Opportunities
- Despite ancillary nuances (as outlined above), a timely transfer to a new site under appropriate conditions will eliminate uncertainties and will promote the Institute as a whole.
- To move the IC to the new headquarters in the UAH, particularly close to the Center of Services CI2A and CINC.
- To establish alliances with CSIC´s research groups in centers stablished in the UAH (CINC, IQOG and IQM) as well as with groups implanted in the Principe de Asturias hospital and university centers of the UAH.
- To set up an internal recruitment plan based on overheads funds.
- To include agile methodologies to update the management and organization system.
- To develop an excellent scientific multi-level approach by integrating current and novel research lines and by using the current knowledge and the new data to be generated.
- New competitive funding calls about to be launched.
Ventajas Selectivas / Selective Advantages
The new IC in the Campus of the Alcalá de Henares University (UAH) is intended to be the house of a modern center with all the necessary equipment for the development of cutting-edge research in neurobiology. In 2020, the transfer of the IC to the UAH´s university campus was announced. Now recently, a research international center in neurosciences termed as “Centro Internacional de Neurociencias Cajal” (Cajal´s Neuroscience International Center, CINC) will share space and technical facilities with the IC. The IC and CINC will become world reference centers equipped with the most cutting-edge technology provided by the Interdisciplinary Research Center of Alcalá (CI2A, Centro de Investigaciones Interdisciplinares de Alcalá) to collect the baton of more than a century of scientific effort in the field of neurosciences. The new building, already finished in 2011, is expected to be occupied from 2022 by both Cajal´s centers.
5. Objetivos y Estrategias / Objectives and Strategies
5.1 Objetivos Generales / General Objectives
Since its creation in 1920, the IC has developed cutting-edge scientific research producing a beneficial impact for the society, while maintaining strong links with academic institutions around the world. The leadership of the IC reached its climax in the 1990s, boosted by the move to its current headquarters in Avenída Doctor Arce 37, Madrid, and by the incorporation of numerous young groups that promoted the study of the brain towards the most modern standards of the time. This golden age of the institute, which casts its shadow over an unquestionable international prestige, is currently threatened by the vibrant scientific-technical revolution that Neuroscience is experiencing in the developed world. The need to incorporate new lines of research and management, to update and expand its facilities and to have an impact on this new time from clinical translationality and social commitment make the need for an ambitious strategic plan that consolidates the IC as an imperative international benchmark.
Year of building-up 1989.
2.545 m² built on two floors, which should accommodate:
- 25 RESEARCH GROUPS
- 11 CORE FACILITIES
- 3 UNITS: Administration; General Services and Warehouse
- CAJAL LEGACY
To meet this objective, it has been considered necessary to move the current headquarters of the Institute in Madrid to a new headquarters and thus insert the research capacity of the IC in new niches of innovation, training and transfer through its future neighbor the Cajal International Neuroscience Center (CINC). This project will notably reinforce a University Campus of Biomedicine in which consolidated public organizations (Universit y and University Hospitals, and CSIC) would participate to ensure the success of the project. This multi-institutional and complementary environment in terms of its range of activities (academic, researcher and clinical) allows conceiving a development of an innovation network that, in short, aims to transfer to society the advances that affect the improvement of quality of life, and understanding our own human nature.
The objectives of the strategic plan of the IC 2022-2025 were designed in line with the global challenges of the strategic plan of the CSIC for 2022-2025, the forthcoming National Plan for Research and the EC Program Horizon Europe 2021-2027. The main aim of this alignment is to promote the participation of the research community at the IC in the three main research Pillars – Excellence Science, Global Challenges and Innovation – and to contribute to the Spanish scientific leadership. Based on the above analysis, six strategic objectives have been defined. These objectives (01-06) fulfil CSIC global challenges (GCh) A-C as follows:
O1: Scientific integration. To implement a strategic scientific plan by integrating current and novel research lines to produce high-impact outcomes and to develop our capacity to generate and share data and knowledge globally promoting Open Science. (GCh A)
O2: Strengthening of center facilities. Reinforce the center facilities and services to enhance structures for collaboration across departments and with international centres as well as to facilitate the implementation of the plan to attract and promote talent. (GCh C)
O3: Talent attraction and promotion. Establishment of a strategic plan to attract and promote excellent talent to ensure the quality of education and experience which enables students to apply the values, skills, and intellectual discipline they have acquired in their professional careers, and to generate a lifelong sense of connection with the IC. (GCh B)
O4: Internationalization and research alliances. Increase the capacity of the research teams for participating in high- level initiatives to ensure the International Spanish leadership and to reinforce the current collaborations and to establish novel research alliances. (GCh D)
O5: Dissemination and Exploitation of project outcomes. Promote outreach activities in order to become visible the project results when achieved and to make use of or derive benefit from the projects results. (GCh E)
O6: Ethics and Gender. Ensure an ethically compliant research center and promote gender equality and diversity. A total of 27 main Outputs are expected to be achieved to meet the above objectives. These outputs are listed at the end
of each relevant section of this proposal.
We will monitor progress against our priorities, commitments, and will aim at using relevant performance indicators, specific targets, and milestones to ensure that final quality outputs are released in due time to meet the proposed objectives. This monitoring system will cover all the activities proposed in this strategic plan and will enable us to respond to the external environment to apply contingency measures and to update the process as appropriate.
It is worth to point out that the IC is aware about the importance of the digital resources. Drawing on the COVID19 crisis, the activities proposed in this strategic plan will be able to use the state-of-the-art digital technologies planned in this proposal when needed.
5.1.1. The objectives of the center are mostly related to the Global Challenges A-E
Specifically, the IC addresses five main scientific GLOBAL CHALLENGES (GCh):
-Consolidate the leading role of the CSIC in scientific policy at an international level with eight relevant contributions in the 2022-25 period. (GCh D). The center expects to coordinate four EU (1-4) and one (5) international research projects:
1- We have been coordinating since 2020 in Spain the initiative “FETOPEN-899616. European coordinated FET Open project of the H2020 program, 2020-2023. “New Blue Revolution through a pioneering pathogen-trapping technology based on bioselective hydrogel-forming proteins”. Scientific Coordinator: Mariano Carrión-Vázquez (PathoGelTrap consortium). We will consolidate it by requesting an EIC Transition project to achieve TRLs 3 and 4 in the period 2022-25. (GCh A1, D2)
2- We have been coordinating since 2018 in Spain the initiative “To determine the role of astrocytes in neurodegenerative diseases”, and we will consolidate it in the period 22-25. Furthermore, we plan to ensure the continuation of existing collaborations and to foster the involvement of the IC researchers in other national and international neuroscience projects such as the US BRAIN Initiative, the EC Human Brain Project, Korea Brain Initiative and Japan BrainMINDS. (GCh A1)
3- In 2020 we opened a translational line of research in “New strategies to combat microbial infections in farmed fish” and we are confident that in the period 2022-2025 we will initiate new disruptive initiatives. One of them can be anticipated: “Enhancers of the enzymatic activity based on low complexity domain proteins” in the area of Biocatalisys”. (GCh A2)
4- In 2019 we opened a line of research to the study the “Regulation of neuronal intrinsic properties by gliotransmitters”. Along the period 2022-2025 we will initiate a new disruptive initiative on “New therapeutic alternatives in Epilepsy, in the area of LIFE”. (GCh A3, C2)
5- We intend to lead from 2022 the international initiative: “Role of astrocytes in the pathophysiology of Parkinson’s disease” within the framework of the ASAP Call, Michel J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson´s Research. (GCh A2 C2)
– Attracting and retaining talent: We promote the recruitment of talent by encouraging the incorporation of R&C contracts by providing a €50,000 startup, provision of laboratory space and constitution of an independent group. Two R&C contracts are being incorporated along 2022. (GCh B3).
-Promote the reinforcement of interaction with universities and research centers (GCh A3 and B5). -To promote the scientific infrastructures of CI2A (GCh A4 and B3).
-Encourage the transfer of knowledge to the productive sector (GCh C2)
-To increase the visibility of the IC research results to the society through social communication media, and informative seminars: “Feria de la Ciencia”, “Open Doors Day”, Researchers’ Night. We have settled a Communication Unit in the IC to coordinate the dissemination of our scientific news on social networks: Twitter, Facebook and You -tube). Also, promotion of the Cajal Legacy exhibitions (GCh B6 and E3).
-Participation in research and innovation initiatives at regional, national and European level (GCh C3).
5.2 Actuaciones Generales Propuestas / Proposed General Actuations
To address the above global challenges / objectives, within Initiatives 1-10
In PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT, the IC will participate in the implementation of actions related to the Human Resources Strategy for Researchers (HRS4R), and in particular will address a detailed analysis of its talent map, expressing our commitment to continue improving our Human Resources policy in accordance with the European Charter for Researchers and the Code of Conduct for Hiring Researchers.
Regarding ORGANIZATION AND MANAGEMENT THROUGH DIGITALIZATION, our center is going to formulate an internal communication plan, and to review the form of face-to-face and remote work.
In INFRASTRUCTURE AND EQUIPMENT RENOVATION, the center faces its efforts in the next 4 years to the renovation of the laboratories, including the provision of technical personnel.
In PROMOTION OF COLLABORATION, the IC wants to consolidate and expand its role in the PTI “Blue Brain” and “ALWAYS-UP”. The objective is to collaborate to find answers to challenges related to the knowledge of diseases that progress with chronic neurodegeneration, we aim to provide clues for a more effective intervention or, at least, a better knowledge of their production mechanisms to identify molecular targets for treatment. Likewise, on aging as a global challenge, we intend to better understand aging processes and related diseases.
The center will address in this period the review of its transversal management structures, within the actions of GOVERNANCE, ORGANIZATION AND OPERATION.
We hope to participate in a STRATEGIC ALLIANCE with CINC in the UAH.
Within the KNOWLEDGE TRANSFER initiative, we will establish a specific Awareness action on the management of intellectual property, in collaboration with VATC. In addition, we want to launch a collaboration action with PYMEs in the sector (example of OWN INITIATIVE, NOT COLLECTED AMONG THE GLOBALS)
Our center hopes to participate especially actively in PROSPECTIVE in a review of instrumentation techniques, especially involving technical staff.
The IC hopes to launch an innovative program of INTERACTION OF THE CSIC WITH SOCIETY, taking advantage of the availability of public spaces, in collaboration with higher education institutions.
5.3 Objetivos Científicos / Research Objectives
Based on the scientific lines defined above (A1-A6, see section programs / lines of research), the general objectives of the scientific strategy, as well as the work plan broken down into the P1 and P2 programs that are described below for the study of the normal aspects of the structure and function of the CNS and brain disorders, are:
P1: Neocortical, hippocampal, basal ganglia, and olfactory circuits, molecular mechanisms underlying neurogenesis and brain development, physiological myelination, addiction, mood regulation, learning and memory, and deciphering the cross-talk between the periphery and the brain. (16 research groups)
The objective is to generate high-quality cellular and microcircuit level data needed for hypothesis and data- driven brain modelling and according to their involvement in brain disorders as well during ageing and development. To this purpose, we are using a variety of techniques to generate strategic high-quality structure, neurochemical and physiological data that will be used for modelling and to study changes during ageing, development and alterations that may occur in the various brain changes selected in the present Plan.
P1.1: High-level multiscale datasets at cellular and microcircuit level on the neocortex
P1.2: High-throughput analysis of astrocyte signaling in neocortex-driven cognitive processes.
P1.3: Impact of normal myelination in hippocampus development and physiological brain plasticity.
P1.4: High-throughput analysis of the neuron-astrocyte signaling from local circuits to behavior.
P1.5: Multimodal assessment of cell-type specific hippocampal microcircuits across species.
P1.6: To identify the rules governing striatal emotional and motor functions.
P1.7: Functional dissection of direct and indirect striatal neurons in emotional and motor responses.
P1.8: Brain Development and mechanisms of neuronal specification.
P1.9: Molecular mechanisms of memory consolidation.
P110. Molecular mechanism of adult brain neurogenesis.
P2 Brain disorders during development, in epilepsy, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, mood regulation, autism, stroke, after CNS injury, post-traumatic stress disorder, blood-brain barrier implications for brain disease, and Glioblastoma progression. (17 research groups)
The objective is to study brain alterations at multiple levels of complexity to better understand the basic mechanisms at the molecular, cellular, circuit and physiological levels that occurs in the human brain as well as in experimental models of brain and motor disorders, including epilepsy, Alzheimer’s disease (AD), Parkinson’s disease (PD), multiple sclerosis, mood regulation, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), addiction, autism, stroke, after acquired brain injury (ABI), developmental disorders, and primary brain cancer origin and progression, and to investigate new treatments for them.
P2.1: Molecular therapy for diseases related to ageing.
P2.2: Mood regulation and brain metabolism in aging and Alzheimer disease.
P2.3: Insights into Neuron-glia communication in aging and Alzheimer´s disease.
P2.4: Cellular and molecular mechanisms of neurodegeneration and neuroprotection in AD.
P2.5: Cell-type specific mechanisms underlying hippocampal sclerosis.
P2.6: Role of astrocytes in temporal lobe epileptogenesis.
P2.7: Remote injury (diasquisis) and neurorehabilitation after stroke in animal models and patients.
P2.8: Novel diagnostic tools for ABI.
P2.9: Glial synaptic pruning after ABI in adult and old mouse hippocampus.
P2.10: Role of autophagy in functional recovery after ABI.
P2.11: Astrocyte dysfunction and Parkinson’s disease.
P2.12: To unveil cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying cell dysfunction and neuronal death in PD. P2.13: Strategies to protect dopamine neurons.
P2.14: Brain developmental disorders, neurogenesis alterations such as autism and schizophrenia. P2.15: Molecular bases of neurodegeneartive diseases (AD, PD, ALS, etc.).
P2.16: Nanomedicine approach for the treatment of glioblastoma multiforme
Both general programs P1 and P2 will also exploit the opportunities provided for the Plataforma Cajal Blue Brain of the CSIC (https://www.csic.es/en/research/interdisciplinary-thematic-platform). This platform represents a multidisciplinary strategy to study brain circuits. Among its objectives seeks to understand the causes of diseases that affect the brain, such as AD, by means of a detailed map of its synaptic connections and large-scale reconstruction of neural circuits using structural, physiological and computational approaches.
5.4 Actuaciones Científicas Propuestas / Scientific Proposed Actuations
At present there is a lively debate about how we could overcome the problem of unraveling the extraordinary structural and functional complexity of the brain. For this reason, several big international projects have been established prompted by the magnitude of the mission and based on the great scientific and social importance of the new strategies developed to explore and better understand the normal brain function and dysfunction.
There are literally thousands of very good and important subjects and many excellent scientists that can generate plenty of interesting results. However, the original global problem would remain if we do not focus on strategies for the integration of the different results at the multiple levels of complexity. If this is not achieved, it can be said with absolute certainty that we will publish nice papers but we will lose the unique opportunity to go beyond the state of the art in the study of the brain. The question is what can be done with the data and how can it be interpreted.
It seems that the most appropriate approach is to integrate neuroanatomical information with genetic, molecular and physiological data. This integration would allow the generation of models that present the data in a form that can be used to reason, make predictions and suggest new hypotheses to discover new aspects of the structural and functional organization of the brain (e.g., Markram et al. 2015; DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cell.2015.09.029). Thus, in our opinion, one of the most important aims of the IC would be to promote interdisciplinary collaboration and data sharing and to demonstrate that close collaboration between groups with expertise in quite different areas —like specialists in neuroanatomy, molecular biology, physiology, data analysis, among others— is the best strategy to take advantage of the expertise of the IC. At the same time, this would contribute to accelerate the study of the brain in both health and disease. In this regard, a major strength of the IC is the great variety of research interests of its investigators within the broad topic of Neuroscience. This allows a strong level of in-house collaborations and availability of complementary expertise. Indeed, over the last few years, we have already established collaborations between different laboratories of the IC, and our plan is to foster these in-house collaborations. Also, it is important to point out that even though the number of PIs of the IC is relatively small when compared to other institutions with similar output and international profile, many of its PIs have a good reputation in their respective fields. This translates into a wide impact of the institute at a national and international level. The current IC faculty has been ranked top as either “very good” or “excellent” by CSIC intra-mural scoring. The rate of success of IC researchers in applications at national research funding agencies is 100%, which an outstanding achievement on all counts.
Considering the extraordinary complexity of the brain, we will particularly focus on four major brain regions: neocortex, hippocampus, basal ganglia, and olfactory pathways. These regions have also been selected because they are involved in a number of devastating brain and spinal cord disorders (including Alzheimer’ disease, epilepsy, Parkinson’s disease, stroke and multiple sclerosis) and because research teams of the IC are highly qualified scientists specialized in these regions and brain disorders.
The integration of the research activities is based on the collaborative network between research groups. The general objectives of the scientific strategy as well as the work plan broken-down into tasks were outlined above, see Section 5.3.
As mentioned in the introduction, this plan follows an open-science approach. The research results will be publicly available following the CSIC policy set up at this end. Research results will be uploaded to the institutional repository Digital. CSIC, which organize, preserve and spread the research results produced at CSIC. As well as that, other thematic repositories, such as such as Zenodo, bioRxiv or arXiv, could be used if needed. Specifically, the IC will encourage the Open Access publications of the peer-reviewed publications, as well as other publications, generated within this plan.
Coordination and management
The coordination and management of the strategic plan will be carried out by a Coordination Team that will be led by the director of the IC in close collaboration with the scientific committee of the Institute and the Scientific Faculty.
Reinforcement of the IC: Facilities (GCh B3)
The IC is a well-equipped research center (though in many technologies we are well far from reaching top-notch state- of-the art) to develop the current research activities. To implement the present strategic plan, a reinforcement of these facilities is foreseen to ensure the accomplishment of the planned activities. This effort will be focused on the move, the upgrade of the existing facilities and the acquisition of new equipment. Particularly, The IC will promote the creation of new services, including:
1. Analysis of functional image and chemo/optogenetics;
2. Functional phenotyping;
3. Bioinformatics and Omics Hub TECHNOLOGY UNIT;
5. Mechanics and Electronics Service;
6. Service of neuronal actuators;
The goal of this reinforcement is to facilitate addressing neuroscience challenges by using multidisciplinary approaches. Furthermore, this update will ensure the continuation of existing collaborations and to foster the involvement of the IC researchers in other national and international neuroscience projects such as the US BRAIN Initiative, the EC Human Brain Project, Korea Brain Initiative and Japan BrainMINDS, etc.
The move to a new building is a cornerstone in this plan. This move constitutes a great opportunity to launch the activities proposed and mainly for those related to the Program to attract and retain people as well as for the scientific activities with respect to the scientific facilities. The move will facilitate the incorporation of new staff as well as the setting up of the research facilities. Supporting funds from the CSIC and from this action will cover the update and acquisition of new equipment. Specifically, the state-of the-art technologies, opto-chemo genetics and cutting-edge microscopy (high-resolution, two-photon, clearing, etc.) will be upgraded. In addition, the Imaging Core will be expanded by adding a Functional Unit with dedicated equipment for head-fixed and freely moving live cellular imaging. This upgrade will allow flexible access to an expanding toolbox of cell-specific viral transducers to perform multi- cellular, cell-type specific imaging, and to combine it with optogenetics studies and behavioral tests. Moreover, a Neuroinformatics Tools Unit will be set up in collaboration with IT experts to ensure the accomplishment of the scientific plan. Also, promotion of the Cerebral Image Unit by installing together with the Albira II SPECT-CT a modern transmission electron microscope together with RMI (ICON Bruker) is essential for a modern international research center. A new omics Hub TECHNOLOGY UNIT, equipped with massive genome sequencers, flow cell sorters and specialized bioinformatician personnel will introduce IC and CINC researchers and other collaborators on the biomedical big data research.
Transfer plan to the new headquarters in Alcala University.
In the IC transfer plan, we necessarily have to have new scientific and technical staff, at least the scientific staff should grow by twice the number of researchers and infrastructure.
1.- First phase, Preparation phase: This phase has actually already been developed in recent years, with the organization of three departments.
2.- Second phase: Transfer phase: It will be carried out in the new headquarters and would consist of strengthening the lines of each department by incorporating new researchers. The necessary resources have been identified (necessary laboratory space and equipment), phase of 2 years starting in 2022.
3.- Third phase: Consolidation phase: For this phase, a selection process should have been opened for the recruitment of new groups within the areas to be developed by the departments or scientific programs. Certain lines of work, such as cognitive sciences, should be set in motion together with a process of obtaining infrastructures to develop these new lines. As a goal, recruit at least 15 new groups that allow the development of a new department/program.
The ethical issues that arise from this proposal are related to animal experimental work and human brain tissue. Experimental work will be developed with the relevant permits according to the National and European regulations via the Ethical Committees at the IC and at CSIC. Human brain tissue will be obtained at autopsy from the “Banco de Tejidos Fundación CIEN” (BTFC; Centro Alzheimer, Fundación Reina Sofía, Madrid, Spain) and through the Laboratorio de Neuroanatomía Humana, Facultad de Medicina, Universidad de Castilla-La Mancha, Albacete and Laboratorio Cajal de Circuitos Corticales UPM-CSIC, Madrid —.The tissue will be obtained following national laws and international ethical and technical guidelines on the use of human samples for biomedical research purposes. All ethical issues will be organized, assessed, and updated by the Coordination Team and will be stored in the internal repository of the IC.
The main outputs expected to be achieved from the activities of the Section are as follows:
OP1: High-level datasets on main brain regions (Neocortex, Hippocampus and Basal Ganglia) OP2: Multilevel datasets on main brain regions (Neocortex, Hippocampus and Basal Ganglia)
OP3: Quantitative data on brain disorders (Alzheimer, Epilepsy, Stroke, ABI and Parkinson) in main brain regions (Neocortex, Hippocampus and Basal Ganglia)
OP4: Cutting-edge technology acquired to develop the planned activities
OP5: Existing facilities upgraded to preserve the current research lines
OP6: Center services updated to ensure the support of the research activities
OP7: Data Management Plan ready and updated
OP8: Data generated uploaded in public and digital internal repositories to ensure the data legacy
OP9: Models developed uploaded in public and digital internal repositories
OP10: Work progress monitored and quality control measured
OP11: Risks monitored and contingency plan implemented when needed
OP12: Backlog updated
OP13: Completed and submitted reports (technical, financial, work progress, KPIs)
OP14: Ethical issues checked and in line with the current regulation
To achieve the right leadership, we will promote a project management unit with an expert Project Manager (PM) in large multidisciplinary projects. The PM will be hired to take over the activities related to the main project processes Execution, Monitoring and Control, and Closing. The PM will monitor the activities to ensure that they are implemented as planned and the objectives are met. The PM will also be in charge of the reporting activity of this action and of the Data Management Plan. In addition, the PM will be appointed to take care of the Program to attract and promote talent. This manager will be a scientist who will be working in close collaboration with the internal scientific committee. In addition, this committee will invite external experts (SAB) to assess the progress of this strategic plan.
The IC, in line with CSIC values, is aware about the importance of gender equality in all environments and, especially, in the research context. The IC will set up a Gender Action Plan (CI-GAP) focused on addressing the gender gap and promoting women in science. The IC-GAP plan will promote the equality between women and men in all the activities proposed in this strategic plan via education, information and encouragement. To do so, the IC will put specific measures in place as outlined below:
– Drawing up a specific gender plan for the IC:
A Gender Action Plan (GAP) will be elaborated. This plan will include the structure and processes in terms of the gender equality to be followed during the strategic plan. This plan will be aligned with the practices carried out at the CSIC in the Executive Committee on Equality for the effective implementation of actions leading to the effective equality of CSIC employees.
5.5 Objetivos de Transferencia de Tecnología / Technology Transfer Objectives
In this strategic plan, exploitation will be focused on making use of or derive benefit from the projects results (GCh 2).
Actuaciones en Transferencia de Tecnología / Technology Transfer Proposed Actuations
(i) Within the strategic initiative 7 of reinforcement of knowledge transfer, action 7a will be undertaken by drawing up a strategic exploitation plan for the benefit of innovation, economy and society. This plan will clearly identify the different types of results to be exploited (data, knowledge, skills, methods, technologies, etc.) and the value and impact for the potential users will be considered. It will describe concrete actions to ensure that results meet real needs and they will be taken up by possible, intermediate or final, users. It will also describe the roles and responsibilities of the project stakeholders. Moreover, the main barriers or risks for exploitation will be documented and countered with appropriate measures. This plan will be implemented towards the end of the project, as soon as the action has exploitable results, and beyond.
(ii) Identification of potential technological and strategic partners to be contacted.
(iii) To create an exploitation roadmap based on a technology transfer study of the Cajal research outputs and the results obtain in the above item. This roadmap will include a program designed in line with the exploitation plan.
(iv) Promoting training activities (courses and workshops) for IPR-related topics and networking activities to attend industrial forums and brokerage events.
(v) To set up a regular flow of communication with the experts of the Technology Transfer Office at CSIC. This office is composed of well-skilled staff and it is focused on the main areas of the exploitation process. This office will be the reference of the coordination team to perform the exploitation activities and IPR-related issues.
The main outputs expected to be achieved from the above plans are as follows: OP15: Dissemination Plan released and implemented
OP16: Communication strategy set up and implemented
OP17: Research teams involved in dissemination and outreach activities
OP18: Exploitation plan of research results planned and released, when relevant, and IPR-related training activities carried out
5.6. Actuaciones en Formación / Training Actuations
In the strategic plan, the center will make a special commitment to professional development based on permanent learning, opening initiatives (GCh B2). For this, special attention is paid to the training of the predoctoral and postdoctoral researchers and to the recruiting of talented researchers and technicians. This section of the plan has been organized as an internal program that involves a list of activities to attract and promote talent, ensure high-quality education, and encourage a long-term sense of connection with the IC. The main objectives of this program are as follows:
(i) To implement an innovative and competitive post-graduate training scheme on Neuroscience ensuring adequate support and effective career development.
(ii) To recruit high-profile young researchers to provide the IC with higher scientific capacities to develop this strategic plan as well as the consolidation of the CI.
(iii) To consolidate the IC as an international reference in the Neuroscience field with highly-talented and qualified researchers and technical staff to cover high-level positions in Neuroscience careers.
Actuaciones Propuestas en Formación / Training Proposed Actuations
The specific activities to be carried out to achieve these Outputs are described below:
– Improve the International Master Degree in Neuroscience and PhD Program by adding new training activities:
The IC has promoted, in collaboration with the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid (UAM), the creation of both the Master Degree in Neuroscience and the international PhD Program in Neuroscience. These programs were designed to meet the demand that existed at the time and have been qualified as Excellent by the National ANECA Committee. In the period 2022-2025, both programs will be reinforced and translational research will be promoted to ensure that the demand is increasing. Specifically, this will be achieved by (i) adding flexibility to the elective credits to adapt topics they cover to the current state of the art, (ii) upgrading the laboratory equipment with additional resources to implement ‘hands on’ approaches, (iii) maximizing collaborations between the basic and the clinic research teams to pro mote the concept ‘from the lab to the clinic and back’, (iv) expanding the PhD program to other universities to set up collaborations, and (v) creating a mentoring program in which each student will be able to contact directly with a mentor for career planning guidance.
– Among the initiatives, the design of a training program in integral project management (CSIC initiative 1b.4) stands out. Implementation of new training and supporting activities for career development: training activities to be implemented are as follows: (i) technical ‘hands on’ courses, (ii) short-term stays for foreign laboratories, (iii) seminar series, (iv) student’s conferences, and (v) launching of the Cajal Alumni Forum.
– Involvement in new Postdoctoral Programs in Neuroscience: the IC will promote the participation of the postdoctoral researchers in novel Postdoctoral Programs in Neuroscience by promoting their benefits.
– Establishment of a Program Committee to monitor the activities of the plan to attract and promote talent (GCh B6): This Committee will be set up at the beginning of the project and will be active throughout. It will be composed by both scientific and management staff and will be led by a Program Manager. The composition of this Committee will be defined in the Kick-off meeting and its main aims will be to closely monitor the activities planned, to ensure that they are implemented appropriately and to apply the relevant mitigation measures if any deviations arise.
– PhD students and postdoctoral researchers involved via the “Subprograma Estatal de Formación” will also participate in the activities of this program. The Program of training and recruiting will be managed by a Program Director and will be closely monitored on a regular basis by the Program Committee and the Project Manager. All the activities scheduled in this program will follow the main considerations of the IC Gender Action Plan that are outlined below.
Outputs expected to be achieved from this Program are as follows:
OP19: The current International IC Master Degree and PhD Program improved by adding new training activities and extended to other universities
OP21: New training activities addressed to both internal stuff and people from foreign laboratories promoted and implemented
OP22: Program Committee to monitor the activities of the plan to attract and promote talent set up
5.7. Objetivos de Divulgación / Outreach Objectives
Dissemination and exploitation of project results are the better part of valorisation, which basically covers all activities that maximise the achievements of a project. This will be done with a view to optimizing the value of the project, strengthening its impact, transferring it to other contexts, and integrating it in a sustainable manner into the broader National, European and International context. The main aims to maximize the impact of the expected results are as follows:
(i) To implement effective plans for dissemination, communication, and exploitation (GCh E)
(ii) To facilitate researchers the application of the processes and procedures for the management of the intellectual property at CSIC
(iii) To promote collaboration with the private and public sector that improves the social and financial impact of the results.
Actuaciones Propuestas en Divulgación / Outreach Proposed Actuations
To achieve these objectives the following actions are proposed: Dissemination
In this strategic plan, dissemination will be a horizontal activity and will concentrate on disseminating the results of the project itself to a wide range of existing or potential users.
(i) Drawing up of a strategic dissemination plan. The general objective of this plan will be to identify and organize the activities to be performed in order to promote the use of the research results and the widest dissemination of knowledge from the CI. The plan will be intended to be expanded (i) towards the communication of results in the scientific community, (ii) towards the promotion activities to enhance the scientific results, and (iii) towards the general public to promote science.
Key audiences will be selected to ensure the appropriate people receive the information. The key audiences will include internal (see internal communication below) and external audiences and will involve scientific community, Neuroscience community, other CSIC centers and structures, general press, science journalists, funding agencies, professional sectors and general public. Key audiences, including type, description, objective, message, indicator, and via/level of dissemination, will be described in detail in the dissemination Plan.
Activities and channels: dissemination activities to be carried out and the channels to be used will be selected according to the audience and will include: Website (IC website), Social media (social networks), media (press media, press visits, media events), sharing information (digital CSIC), news and newsflashes (email, meetings), networking (internal tools), events (project events, IC Cajal Legacy and CSIC events, external events), graphic design and official templates (coordination team). The characteristics and purpose of activities will be also added in the plan and will be linked to the key audiences.
(ii) Open Science: the research results will be made public as they are achieved via Open Access scientific journals and public databases.
(iii) Data Management Plan (DMP): another aspect related to results dissemination is the IC DMP. The DMP will be a useful system to organize the results generated internally and to facilitate further use of them by other research teams, maximizing their impact.
(iv) To set up a regular flow of communication with the Communication and Diffusion Team at CSIC, via the Unit for Scientific Culture and Innovation at IC (UCC+i), to ensure the widest distribution of the project results by using all the digital channels set up by the organization (social networks, YouTube channel, distribution lists, digital magazine and other virtual services), to maximize the impact of research. The PM will be the link between the project and these teams.
The IC is aware that an effective internal communications strategy is a critical aspect of the center daily operations. Thus, the IC will put best practices and procedures in place for communicating well with the teams and other members to build engagement.
The main aims of this strategy are: sharing knowledge, transparency, connecting people, improving participation, keeping people informed, recognizing contributions and achieving collaboration.
The main tools and techniques to be used for communication are as follows:
• Project Tools: Restricted access; to share confidential information internally (meeting minutes, proposals, preliminary scientific results, etc.)
• Meetings Calendar: Scheduled annually; All the project activities included; Includes Kick-off meeting, Coordination, PIs, topical, Lab. meetings, etc.
• Mailing lists: To spread information among teams; Different types depending on the type of information and audience; At Coordination/Tasks/Outputs level
• Presentations: To share the project progress with all the participants and outside the CI; During meetings or similar events
• Cajal Newsletter: A specific newsletter of this action will be designed to disseminate results and ongoing research to inform about the progress of the project to all participants as well as to different targeted audiences
• Networking activities: Internal and external. Topical sessions (Q&A, etc.)
• Events: Internal and external. Meetings; Hackathons; Workshops; Others
As mentioned in the introduction, this plan follows an open-science approach. The research results will be publicly available following the CSIC policy set up at this end. Research results will be uploaded to the institutional repository Digital. CSIC, which organize, preserve and spread the research results produced at CSIC.
5.8. Objetivos de Internacionalización / Internationalization Objectives
Internationalization of research is a fundamental process for the consolidation of an up-to-date and globally engaged community that aims to make a significant contribution regarding increasing the knowledge needed to face complex global challenges in the 21st century.
The CI will launch an internationalization plan focusing on four main components in the internationalization process: (i) the establishment of research collaborations and alliances at European and International levels, (ii) participation in high- level initiatives and large consortia including measures to promote participation in the EU Program Horizon Europe and others, (iii) achieving prominence in the European Research Area (ERA), and (iv) participation in international scientific societies and forums. These components are outlined below.
5.8.1. Actuaciones Propuestas en Internacionalización / Internationalization Proposed Actuations
Reinforce collaborations and establishment of new research alliances at European and International levels (GCh D). Collaborative work is the cornerstone of this component. This component will be focused on both, strengthening existing collaborations led by the IC and on promoting novel collaborations. Many conversations and plans have already been carried out with high-level scientists from world-wide recognized Neuroscience institutions. Existing collaborations are displayed in the Section 2.3.7. of this Plan.
These collaborations will be strengthen implementing networking activities via remote or physical meetings, when possible, to set up partnering projects, to share data, to generate joint publications, to increase the mobility of researchers and to carried out jointly training activities focused on the young researchers.
Regarding the establishment of new collaborations and research alliances, the external funding plan (see below) will act as one of the key aspects to improve collaboration. The participation in new programs and actions will be carried in collaboration with external research teams to assure the setting up of novel collaboration and research alliances. The dissemination plan will also be crucial in the establishment of new collaborations.
126.96.36.199. Participation in high-level initiatives and large consortia including the measures to promote participation in the EC Horizon Europe Program
Because of its size and nature of the CI, the internationalization plan will act as a catalyzer of projects and actions to facilitate the involvement of the research groups in high-level European and international programs and initiatives to increase the success rate obtained in the previous years. This component will be coordinated by the Project Manager (PM) who will be an expert in international projects and actions with demonstrated experience. The PM will follow an external funding plan designed ad hoc to the research groups and that will aim to secure additional funding through participating in research actions mainly at European and International level. Special attention will be paid to the young researcher’s community. A summary of the main international research programs and actions at which this plan is intended to apply in the period 2022-2025 is as follows:
– Horizon Europe (2021-2024):
ERC (Starting, Consolidator, Advance, Synergy Grants), Marie Sklodowska-Curie Actions, Research Infrastructures, Global Challenges and European Industry Competitiveness, Innovative Europe, ERA.
– Human Frontier Science Program (HFSP), Research Grants 2022 and next calls; Postdoctoral Fellowships, 2022 and next calls
– Alzheimer´s Association: 2022 programs and next calls.
– U.S. Brain Initiative, IARPA, MIcRONS, Reverse engineer the circuits, 2022/2023 – U.S. Brain Initiative NIH, 2022/2024
– Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, 2022 – Others (COST, ICSU, etc.)
In addition, via this external funding plan, the IC will intend to participate or improve its participation in other high- level initiatives such as the EC Human Brain Project, Korea Brain Initiative and Japan BrainMINDS. Moreover, this plan will integrate a specific section focused on the private funding sources. This section will contain the main sources to attract private funds such from private foundations, associations, and similar, such as Dana Foundation, The Mcknight fund for Neuroscience, etc.
The expert PM will support the researchers in the proposals preparation and will provide them, mainly the young researchers, with the training needed. The PM will also support them to seek for partners from other scientific organizations, the academia, and also from companies (SMEs or large companies). The external funding will be a flexible plan that will be extended and updated as the project progresses based on needs and new funding opportunities that could arise in the target period. The detailed plan will be released by M3 and will be stored in the project internal repository. At the end of every year, the results of this plan will be reported to the scientific director and the IC Director.
188.8.131.52. Achieving prominence in the European Research Area (ERA)
The current participation of the IC in the ERA will be substantially improved with this strategic plan in the new ERA. This plan will contribute to the free circulation of knowledge with this open science approach in line with the EC vision of the new ERA. Also, the IC will encourage the involvement of its teams in high-level initiatives and international forums and will also reinforce and establish new research alliances (see above) to promote the Spanish leadership. In addition, the activities proposed in this plan will incentivize high-quality researchers and innovators to work in collaboration to become a core attraction for the best talents. Finally, given the COVID-19 pandemic, the IC is aware of the importance of state-of-the-art digital technologies, and has planned a significant update of its digital resources to ensure that in coming years the CI’s activity is included in the Europe Digital Decade. The initiatives to which this strategic plan intends to apply for are displayed in the External Funding Plan summary table (see the above item).
184.108.40.206. Participation in international scientific societies and scientific forums
Due to the international nature of this plan, the continuity of the involvement of the IC researchers in international scientific societies and forums, such as American Epilepsy Society (De la Prida), FENS (F. De Castro, etc.), Alzheimer´s Association (DeFelipe), SfN (DeFelipe, Herreras, Perea, etc.) etc., is ensured. In addition, the plan aims to promote and increase the participation in these actions of the young researchers and PIs who have recently obtained permanent positions at the CI, as well as potential new talent to be recruited via such actions. It is planned to participate in the organization of several scientific international conferences in the areas related to the research performed in the normal brain as well as in alterations of brain circuits in Alzheimer’s disease, epilepsy, Parkinson disease and stroke. The participation in these activities will be carried out throughout the project as one of the mai n aims of the dissemination and collaboration activities.
The main outputs expected to be achieved from the internationalization plan are as follows: OP23: Research teams involved in high-level national, European and International Programs OP24: Research teams involved in specific actions to attract private funding
OP25: Collaborations and research alliances established at International level.
6. Indicadores de Seguimiento (Objetivos Cuantitativos) / Monitoring Indicators (Quantitative Objectives)
6.1 Objetivos Cuantitativos / Quantitative Objectives
7. Grupos de Investigación / Research Groups
1.- Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Neurobiology
Head of Department: Juan A. de Carlos Segovia
GROUP 1A.- Molecular bases of memory and neurodegeneration Head: Mariano Carrión-Vázquez
1. CPEB3/CPEB2 system in memory consolidation: structure/function relationships.
2. Amyloidogenesis inhibitors to treat neurodegenerative diseases.
3. Amyloidogenesis inhibitors to treat type 2 diabetes and associated neurodegeneration: proof of concept and preclinical studies (+ M. Vallejo and A. Novials).
4. Amyloidogenesis inhibitors to treat post-traumatic stress disorder: preclinical studies (+ our spin-off DisruPep SL).
5. Hybrid pathological/functional amyloids: hijacking of functional amyloids by neurotoxic proteins (polyQs, Abeta, TDP-43).
6. Functional prionoids as possible mediators of transgenerational epigenetic inheritance (+ JL Trejo).
7. CPEB3/CPEB2-myelination relationships in memory consolidation (+ F. de Castro).
8. Development of a nanotrap for pathogens based on the properties of low complexity domain proteins (+ FET Open consortium).
9. Enhancement of enzymatic activity by using the properties of low complexity domain proteins, proof of concept and applications.
GROUP 1B.- Telencephalic development: Cerebral cortex and olfactory system Head: Juan A. de Carlos Segovia
1. Dynamics and molecular mechanisms used by diencephalon cells in telencephalic invasion.
2. Study and characterization of tonsil populations of diencephalic origin
3. Analysis of migratory patterns during early development of the cerebral cortex. Comparison between control embryos and pax6 mutants.
4. Origin of the Subplate Cells.
GROUP 1C.- Molecular control of neurogenesis Head: Aixa V. Morales
1. Molecular control of adult neurogenesis in the hippocampus.
2. Origin of adult neural stem cells during hippocampal development.
3. Hippocampal involvement in social interactions in genetic models of autism spectrum disorders.
GROUP 1D.- Neuronal Generation and Degeneration in Vertebrates Head: Jose María Frade López
1.- Molecular mechanism underlying the induction of neuronal tetraploidy during aging and neurodegenerative diseases.
2.- Functional characterization of tetraploid neurons in the normal and pathological brain
3.- Role of the transcription factor E2F4 in the regulation of the neuronal cell cycle and brain homeostasis
4.- E2F4 as a therapeutical target in Alzheimer’s disease and other nervous system pathologies.
GROUP 1E.- Axon elongation and axon initial segment function Head: Juan José Garrido Jurado
1. Regulatory mechanisms of Axon Initial Segment development, maintenance and plasticity
2. Alzheimer´s disease and Axon Initial Segment
GROUP 1F.- Cell lineages and neural heterogeneity Head: Laura López Mascaraque
1. Heterogeneity of Neural progenitors
2. Clonal analyses of the cell fate and adult cell lineage of embryonic and postnatal progenitors: Identification and functional validation of clonally related cells.
3. Role of NG2/OPCs progenitors in different experimental murine models of Multiple Sclerosis.
4. Spatiotemporal localization of clonally-related cells in the olfactory epithelium of the mouse after targeting the olfactory placode
GROUP 1G.- Stem cells, neurogenesis and neurodegeneration Head: Carlos Vicario Abejón
1) Regulation of neurogenesis, gliogenesis and cell differentiation in in vitro models and in the in vivo brain.
2) Studying the mechanisms of neurodegeneration and neuroprotection in Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases using technologies based on induced pluripotent stem cells (iPS cells or iPSCs) technology.
GROUP 1H.- Molecular Physiology of Behavior Head: Francisco Martín Castro
1) Functions of the Drosophila PTTH/torso neuro-hormonal axis in adult physiology
2) Neuroendocrine and circadian factors involved in the development of Drosophila glioblastoma
3) Genomic basis of long-term memory
GROUP 1I.- Grupo de Neurobiología del Desarrollo-GNDe Head: Fernando de Castro Soubriet
Oligodendrogliogenesis during development and in the adult CNS:
i) normal development,
ii) cerebral plasticity in the mature brain under normal conditions.
iii) the pathogenesis of demyelination and, iv) therapeutic targets to develop neuro- restorative therapies for multiple sclerosis and other demyelinating diseases (and eventually in secondary demyelinations, like stroke, ABI, SCI, Alzheimer´s disease, etc.).
GROUP 1J.- Direct reprogramming for regenerative medicine and disease modelling. Head: Sergio Gascón Jiménez
1.- To study the molecular and cellular pathways that control cell identity and fate conversion between cellular lineages.
2.- Direct neuronal reprogramming to model and study neurodegenerative diseases. The case of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.
2.- Functional and Systems Neurobiology
Head of Department: Gertrudis Perea Parrilla
GROUP 2A.- Neuron-Glia Networks lab Head: Gertrudis Perea Parrilla
1- Astrocytes and cognition: mechanisms and properties of signaling between different types of interneurons and astrocytes, and their consequences in decision making, memory and learning.
2- Glial bases of depression: study of astrocyte signaling processes in the pathology of major depression.
3- Emerging technologies to unveil the role of astrocytes in brain physiology and pathology.
GROUP 2B.- Microorganization of the normal cerebral cortex and alterations of cortical
circuits in brain pathologies Head: Javier DeFelipe Oroquieta
1.- Microorganization of the normal cerebral cortex (including hippocampus) in various species (particularly humans)
2.- Alterations of cortical circuits in epilepsy and Alzheimer disease.
GROUP 2C.- Neuroactive steroids Head: Mª Angeles Arévalo
1.- Neuroprotective and anti-inflammatory effects of estrogenic compounds on experimental models of degenerative and inflammatory brain diseases. Influence of aging and pre- deprivation time of estrogen on its neuroprotective action.
2.- Cellular and molecular mechanisms of anti-inflammatory estrogen activity in the brain.
3.- Role of Kif21B kinesin as a mediator of increased expression of Ngn3 and neuronal development produced by estradiol in the brain.
GROUP 2D.-Neuronal Circuits Laboratory Head: Liset Menéndez de la Prida
1.- Brain oscillations and memory in health and disease (epilepsy, normal and pathological aging)
2.- Microcircuit mechanisms of hippocampal function and dysfunction
IC – 283.-Development of neurotechnologies, including machine learning, to study the brain
GROUP 2E.- Neurobiology of The Basal Ganglia Head: Rosario Moratalla Villalba
1.- Circuit and neuronal dysfunction shaping anxiety and depression in PD.
2.- Gene expression profiles of vulnerable dopamine neurons: Ethiology of Parkinson’s disease
3.- Immunotherapy to arrest PD disease progression
GROUP 2F.- Neurophysiology and Synaptic Plasticity Laboratory Head: Eduardo Martín Montiel
1.- Regulation of neuronal intrinsic properties by gliotransmission. Implications in Brain’s diseases
2.- Cellular processes and molecular mechanisms underlying the regulation of synaptic plasticity in nucleus accumbens
3.- Brain recovery after traumatic brain injury by implantable neural interfaces using closed- loop devices based in nanotechnology
GROUP 2G.- Laboratory of inhibitory microcircuits Head: Pablo Mendez García
Physiology of inhibitory neuronal circuits
1.- Role of hippocampal inhibitory neurons in learning and memory
2.- Sex chromosomic and hormonal effects on the hippocampal inhibitory neuronal system
GROUP 2H.- Synaptic Plasticity and Astrocyte-Neuron Interactions Head: Marta Navarrete Llinás
1.- Development of new tools for the study of neuron-astrocyte communication.
2.- Decoding how astrocytes communicate with neurons and other cells and addressing their role in memory and learning processes.
3.- Identification of the role of astrocytes in addiction processes.
4.- Analysis of alterations in Tripartite Synapse associated with cognitive diseases.
3. Departamento de Neurociencia Traslacional
Head: Jose Luis Trejo Pérez
GROUP 3A.- Neurovasular research group. Head: Ricardo Martínez Murillo
1.- Study of the role of AM and NO systems in cerebral ischemic pathology, particularly in ischemic stroke, and search for effective molecules capable of reducing the ischemic penumbra.
2.- Research into effective molecules capable of delaying or stopping the neurodegeneration underlying Alzheimer’s disease and aging.
3.- Search mechanisms to slow tumor progression: the use of nanoparticles for hyperthermic treatment (nanohyperthermia).
GROUP 3B.- Neurogenesis in the Adult Animal Head: Jose Luis Trejo Pérez
Physical exercise and neural plasticity
GROUP 3C.- Experimental and computational electrophysiology Oscar Herreras Espinosa
1. Transmission of normal and abnormal activity through cortico-hipocampal circuits: basal irregular or rhythmic activities in identified neuron populations and pathways.
2. Cellular and subcellular bases of LFPs and the EEG: contribution by diverse neuron generators (neuron subtypes and pathways).
3. Application to the electrophysiological study of neuropathology and brain dysfunction in general (Alzheimer, Ictus, Epilepsy, migraine).
4. Computational models of neurons and circuits.
GROUP 3D.- Neural Rehabilitation Group Head: Juan C. Moreno Sastoque
1.- Rehabilitation Robotics
2.- Analysis of human movement
3.- Neural interfaces
4.- Machine learning
GROUP 3E.-Neuropharmacology Javier Garzón Niño
To study the tonus of a variety of signaling proteins (G proteins, RGS protein, protein kinases…) which participate in this cross-talk with the aim of detecting alterations affecting both the glutamatergic transmission and GPCR function.
7.1 Grupos de Investigación: líneas de investigación compartidas / Research Groups: shared research lines
LINEA 1: Brain development: mechanisms of neural stem cell maintenance, neuronal and glial specification and of developmental disorders
Group 1A L. Lopez-Mascaraque
Group 1B C. Vicario
Group 1C Aixa V. Morales
Group 1D F. de Castro
LINEA 2: Neurovascular unit: Neuron-glia-endothelial interactions, including the glia-neuron dyad, blood- brain-barrier physiology, and related pathology.
Group 2A Gertrudis Perea
Group 2B Marta Navarrete
Group 2C Ricardo Martínez
Group 2D F. de Castro
Group 2E Javier de Felipe
LINEA 3: Processing of neural signals: mechanisms of synaptic function, signal transduction and intracellular pathways. Analysis of neural circuits, memory and behavior, and neuronal synchrony. Common organization principles in the nervous system. Computational neuroscience is also an evolving strong aspect of this line of research.
Group 3A Gertrudis Perea
Group 3B Marta Navarrete
Group 3C Ricardo Martínez
Group 3D Oscar Herreras
Group 3E Mariano Carrión
Group 3F Francisco Martín
Group 3G Eduardo Martín
Group 3H Marta Navarrete
Group 3I Juan C. Moreno
Group 3J José María Frade
Group 3K Pablo Méndez
Group 3L Liset M de la Prida
Group 3M Jose Luis Trejo
Group 3N Fernando de Castro
Group 3O Rosario Moratalla
Group 3P Javier de Felipe
Group 3Q Javier Garzón
LINEA 4: Neurodegeneration, neuroprotection and regeneration: with particular focus on early detection of pathology for disease prevention, neurogenesis, cell, molecular and gene therapy, disease mechanisms, and exploitation of endogenous neuroprotective loops. Systemic modulators of brain function: directing efforts to the understanding of the intense cross-talk between the periphery and the brain and its consequence in brain diseases.
Group 4A Mariano Carrión
Group 4B Carlos Vicario
Group 4C Ricardo Martínez…
Group 4D Aixa Morales
Group 4E José María Frade
Group 4F JL Trejo
Group 4G Fernando de Castro
Group 4H Juan José Garrido
Group 4I Rosario Moratalla
Group 4J Sergio Gascón
Group 4K Javier de Felipe
Group 4L Javier Garzón
LINEA 5: Systemic regulators of neural function: including identification of mechanisms of actions of systemic regulators, such as immune and endocrine signals with an eye on clinical applications.
Group 5A Francisco Martín Grupo 5B Gertrudis Perea
Group 5C M. Ángeles Arévalo
Group 5D Jaime Pignatelli
Group 5E Pablo Méndez
LINEA 6: Palliation and/or remediation of neural diseases: spinal cord injury, stroke, acquired brain injury, post-traumatic stress disorder and essential tremor, glioblastoma progression.
Group 6A Oscar Herreras
Group 6B Mariano Carrión
Group 6C Juan C. Moreno
Group 6D Fernando de Castro
Group 6E Diego Torricelli
Group 6F Eduardo Martín
Group 6G Ricardo Martínez
Group 6H Francisco Martín
Neuroscience Research Center dependent on the CSIC. Founded in 1920 and initially directed by Santiago Ramón y Cajal. World reference in the study of the brain. Custodian of the Cajal Legacy.