1-Syndromes and mechanisms of paraneoplastic and autoimmune encephalitis
Our research is focused in the discovery of autoimmune neurologic diseases, mainly those mediated by antibodies against neuronal cell surface proteins or synaptic receptors. These disorders can be triggered by tumors, infections, or genetic factors. The range of studies includes bedside characterization of syndromes and diseases; identification of novel antibodies and target autoantigens; and determination of the mechanisms of disease at the behavioral, synaptic, and neuronal circuitry levels. For this, we use a wide variety of molecular and electrophysiological techniques in cultured neurons and animal models.
Using these strategies and technical approaches, the group has discovered 16 autoimmune encephalitis including among others, anti-NMDA receptor encephalitis. These findings have led to guidelines on the differential diagnosis and treatment of autoimmune encephalitis, and new concepts on how autoimmunity can affect synaptic function, memory and behavior.
2-Multiple sclerosis and other demyelinating syndromes
This work is leading to a comprehensive understanding of the etiology and pathophysiology of demyelinating disorders including multiple sclerosis, neuromyelitis optica spectrum disorders, and myelin oligodendrocyte glycoprotein associated diseases. Research studies include the development of novel diagnostic and prognostic biomarkers, clinical and epidemiological studies, and the use and validation of advanced techniques (MRI, OCT, electrophysiology). The results of these studies will improve diagnosis, treatment, and outcome, and will lead provide means to better predict better patient outcome and guide personalized medicine approaches.
3-Pediatric neuroimmunologic diseases
This research is focused on identifying new antigens associated with pediatric autoimmune encephalitis and demyelinating diseases, characterizing the associated syndromes, developing diagnostic tests, and determining therapeutic strategies for these patients. Important findings include the identification of anti-NMDAR antibodies as a cause of choreoathetosis post-herpes simplex encephalitis in childhood and the elucidation of novel tumor (teratoma) and antibody (HNK1 and glycine receptor) associations in pediatric opsoclonus myoclonus syndrome. This work is carried out in collaboration with major pediatric hospitals located throughout Spain.