Cellular Connectomics Laboratory

Dr. Francisco Clascá & Dr. Lucía Prensa

Brain networks, localized or brain-wide, exist only at the cellular level, between specific pre- and postsynaptic neurons which are connected through functionally diverse synapses located at specific points of their cell membranes. “Connectomics” is an emerging neuroscience field explicitly aimed at elucidating with cellular resolution and a quantified accuracy the wiring of brain networks. Connectomic data are indispensable for realistic modeling of brain circuitry and function. Because of the submicron caliber, 3D complexity and high packing density of somas, dendrites and synapses, as well as the fact that axons frequently extend over long distances to make synapses in remote brain regions, creating connectomic maps is technically challenging and requires innovative, multi-scale approaches.

In our laboratory, we combine state-of-the-art neuron labeling techniques with light and electron microscope 3D tools for reconstruction and measurement and in vivo and in vitro cellular recordings. Our work is focused in resolving the axonal and synaptic architectures of the projection neurons that bind together the thalamus and cerebral cortex into a highly integrated, scale free functional network. 

Lab Researchers

Francisco Clascá
Lucía Prensa
Mario Rubio-Teves
Carmen Alonso
Pablo José Martín Correa
Maria García-Amado
Pablo Rubio-Garrido
Javier Rodriguez
César Porrero
Diana Casas
Enrique Gonzalo-Martín

Lab technicians

Marta Callejo
Begoña Rodriguez

Past Lab Members, current employment

• Verónica Martínez Cerdeño Ph.D.

Associate Professor, University of California Davis, USA.

• María José Galazo Berrendero, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor, Dept. of Cellular and Molecular Biology, Tulane University, New Orleans, LA, USA 

• Tania Ramos Moreno. Ph.D.

Associate Researcher School of Medicine, Lund University (Sweden)

• Javier Bernácer María. Ph.D.

Staff Researcher, Clínica Universitaria, Universidad de Navarra (Pamplona, Spain)

• Carolina Cebrián Parajón. Ph.D.

Supply Chain Specialist, Idipharma (Spain).

• Anushree Tripathi. Ph.D.

Senior Research Engineer, Department of Integrative Medical Biology, Umea University, Umea, Sweden).

• Flor A. Pérez de Manzo. MD. Ph.D.

Profesora Adjunta de Anatomía Humana, Universidad Simón Bolívar, Barranquilla (Colombia).

• Ruthnaldo R.M. de Lima, Ph.D.

Professor Associado, Departamento de Ciências Morfológicas, Universidade Federal de Rio Grande do Norte, Natal (Brasil).

• Expedito S. Do Nascimento Jr. Ph.D.

Professor Associado, Departamento de Ciências Morfológicas, Universidade Federal de Rio Grande do Norte, Natal (Brasil).

• Ana Aransay García. MD. Ph.D.

Neurosurgery Department, Hospital Universitario Fundación Jiménez Díaz, Madrid.

• Mequisedec Santana, Ph.D.

Professor Asociado. Universidade Federal do Vale do Rio São Francisco, Paulo Afonso, BA, Brasil.

• Angélica Córdoba Claros, Ph.D.

Clinical Research Associate, Syneos Health (London, UK).

• Maria Angeles Evangelio Chanzá, Ph.D.

• Felipe Fiuza, Ph.D.

Postdoctoral Researcher. Departamento de Fisiología, Universidade Federal de Rio Grande do Norte, Natal RN (Brasil).

• Paulo Leonardo A. G. Morais. Ph.D.

Postdoctoral researcher. Universidade Estadual do Rio Grande do Norte (Mossoró, RN Brazil)



Rodriguez-Moreno J, Porrero C, Rollenhagen A, Rubio-Teves M, Casas-Torremocha D, Alonso-Nanclares L, Yakoubi R, Santuy A, Merchan-Pérez A, DeFelipe J, Lübke JHR, Clasca F. Area-Specific Synapse Structure in Branched Posterior Nucleus Axons Reveals a New Level of Complexity in Thalamocortical Networks. J Neurosci. 2020 Mar 25;40(13):2663-2679. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.2886-19.2020. Epub 2020 Feb 13.  https://www.jneurosci.org/content/40/13/2663

Casas-Torremocha D, Porrero C, Rodriguez-Moreno J, García-Amado M, Lübke JHR, Núñez Á, Clascá F. (2019) Posterior thalamic nucleus axon terminals have different structure and functional impact in the motor and somatosensory vibrissal cortices. Brain Struct Funct. 2019 May;224(4):1627-1645. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00429-019-01862-4

Araújo Góis Morais PL, García-Amado M, Lima RRM, Córdoba-Claros A, Souza Cavalcante J, Clascá F, Nascimento ES Jr. (2019) Cyto- and Myelo-Architecture of the Amygdaloid Complex of the Common Marmoset Monkey (Callithrix jacchus). Front Neuroanat. 2019 Mar 27;13:36.  https://doi.org/10.3389/fnana.2019.00036 

Mayer A, Lewenfus G, Bittencourt-Navarrete RE, Clasca F, Franca JGD. (2019) Thalamic Inputs to Posterior Parietal Cortical Areas Involved in Skilled Forelimb Movement and Tool Use in the Capuchin Monkey. Cereb Cortex. 2019 Mar 19. pii: bhz051. https://doi.org/10.1093/cercor/bhz051

Mátyás F, Komlósi G, Babiczky A, Kocsis K, Barthó P, Barsy B, Dávid C, Kanti, V, Porrero C, Magyar A, Szűcs I, Clasca F, Acsády L. (2018) A highly collateralized thalamic cell type with arousal-predicting activity serves as a key hub for graded state transitions in the forebrain. Nature Neuroscience, https://doi.org/10.1038/s41593-018-0251-9

Hoerder-Suabedissen A, Hayashi S, Upton L, Nolan Z, Casas-Torremocha D, Grant E, Viswanathan S, Kanold PO, Clasca F, Kim Y, Molnár Z. (2018) Subset of Cortical Layer 6b Neurons Selectively Innervates Higher Order Thalamic Nuclei in Mice. Cerebral Cortex, 28:1882-1897. https://doi.org/10.1093/cercor/bhy036

Rodriguez Moreno J., J, Rollenhagen A., Arlandis J, Santuy A, Merchán-Pérez A, DeFelipe J, Lubke JHR, Clasca F (2018) Quantitative 3D ultrastructure of thalamocortical synapses from the ‘lemniscal’ ventral posteromedial nucleus in mouse barrel cortex. Cerebral Cortex. https://doi.org/10.1093/cercor/bhx187

Casas-Torremocha D, Clascá F, Núñez Á. (2017) Posterior Thalamic Nucleus Modulation of Tactile Stimuli Processing in Rat Motor and Primary Somatosensory Cortices. Frontiers in Neural Circuits 11:69   https://doi.org/10.3389/fncir.2017.00069

Reillo I, De Juan Romero C, Cárdenas A, Clascá F, Martínez-Martinez MA, Borrell V (2017) A complex code of extrinsic influences on cortical progenitor cells of higher mammals. Cerebral Cortex. 27:4586-4606. https://doi.org/10.1093/cercor/bhx171

Porrero C, Rodríguez-Moreno J, Quetglas J. Smerdou C, Furuta T, Clasca F. (2016) A Simple and Efficient In Vivo Non-viral RNA Transfection Method for Labeling the Whole Axonal Tree of Individual Adult Long-Range Projection Neurons. Frontiers in Neuroanatomy 18 Mar 2016, 10:110. eCollection 2016 https://doi.org/10.3389/fnana.2016.00027

Clasca F, Porrero C, Galazo, M, Rubio-Garrido P, & Evangelio M (2016) Anatomy and Development of Multi-specific Thalamocortical Axons: Implications for cortical dynamics and evolution. In K.S. Rockland, (ed.) Axons and Brain Architecture, Amsterdam: Elsevier. pp. 69-92. ISBN: 978-0-12-801393-9  https://doi.org/10.1016/B978-0-12-801393-9.00004-9

Aransay A, Rodríguez-López C, García-Amado M, Clascá F, Prensa L. (2015) Long-range projection neurons of the mouse ventral tegmental area: a single-cell axon tracing analysis Frontiers in Neuronatomy 2015 May 19;9:59. https://doi.org/10.3389/fnana.2015.00059

Frangeul L, Porrero C, Garcia-Amado M, Maimone B, Mainglier M, Clascá F, Jabaudon D. (2014) Specific activation of the paralemniscal pathway during nociception. European Journal of Neuroscience. 39:1455-1464 https://doi.org/10.1111/ejn.12524

Ramos-Moreno T, Clascá F. (2014) Quantitative mapping of the local and extrinsic sources of GABA and Reelin to the layer Ia neuropil in the adult rat neocortex. Brain Structure and Function. 219:1639-1657 https://doi.org/10.1007/s00429-013-0591-x