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Neurobiology of Ageing & Disease

Ageing, stress and neurodegenerative diseases are among the conditions that contribute to the accelerated loss of cognitive function. Our group's work is focused on understanding the mechanisms inducing this "early-ageing", which render the hippocampus - the brain area related to learning and memory – particularly susceptible.

We focus on characterizing the molecular mechanisms associated to hippocampal loss of function and its outcome in behavior performance and synaptic function, using rodent models. We ensure the translation to the human brain, by testing these molecular imprints in healthy and diseased human brain tissue. We are currently focused into exploring the role of adenosine A2A receptors as potential cognitive modulators both in vitro and in vivo.

Research Team

Cátia Reis
PhD Student

Inês Morgado
PhD Student

Joana Coelho
Senior Post-Doctoral Researcher

Joana Ribeiro
PhD Student

Joana Saraiva
PhD Student

Mariana de Brito Morais
MSc Student

Raquel Madruga da Costa
MSc Student

Rui Gomes
Senior Post-Doctoral Researcher

Research Areas

  • Molecular switches from aging towards neurodegeneration in the hippocampus
  • Impact of circadian modulation on hippocampal-dependent memory
  • Therapeutic actions of caffeine and caffeine analogs against memory deficits
  • Cognitive dysfunction in Alzheimer's mouse models
  • Molecular mechanisms of early cognitive deficits in Parkinson's disease

Ongoing Research Projects

FCT 2018-2021 Neuro-immune interactions - impact on cognitive functions in health and disease (with Julie Ribot)

FCT 2018-2021 The mechanisms of cognition (with Miguel Remondes)

FCT 2016-2019 Microglia dysregulation as trigger for chronic brain inflammation

FCT 2016-2019 Targeting the glycation defenses as a protective strategy for Parkinson’s disease

AIRR 2016-2018  Actions d’Initiative Régionale pour la Recherche; France  -   "Role neuro-glial des récepteurs adénosinergiques dans la cognition"

H2020 Twinning action SynaNet 2016-2019 “Neurologic and Psychiatric Disorders: from synapses to networks”


2017 Universidade de Lisboa /Caixa Geral de Depósitos award (Menção Honrosa)

2013 Investigator FCT award,  Fundação para a Ciência e Tecnologia, Portugal

2013 Research Grant, Fritz Thyssen Foundation, Germany

2012 Research grant, EMBO

2010 Research grant, BIAL, Portugal

2010 Award, DANA Alliance Foundation for “What goes on in your mind?”

2008 Ciência 2007 award. Fundação para a Ciência e Tecnologia, Portugal

Selected Publications

  • Diana G. Ferreira, Mariana Temido-Ferreira, Hugo Vicente Miranda, Vânia L. Batalha, Joana E. Coelho, Éva M. Szegö, Inês Marques-Morgado, Sandra H. Vaz, Jeong Seop Rhee, Matthias Schmitz, Inga Zerr, Luísa V. Lopes* and Tiago F. Outeiro* (2017) α-Synuclein interacts with PrPC to induce cognitive impairment through mGluR5 and NMDAR2B. Nature Neuroscience doi: 10.1038/nn.4648 *co-senior author
  • Mariana Temido-Ferreira, Diana G. Ferreira, Vânia L. Batalha, Inês Marques-Morgado, Joana E. Coelho, Pedro Pereira, Rui Gomes, Andreia Pinto, Sara Carvalho, Paula M. Canas, Laetitia Cuvelier, Valerie Buée-Scherrer, Emilie Faivre, Younis Baqi, Christa E. Müller, José Pimentel, Serge N. Schiffmann, Luc Buée, Michael Bader, Tiago F. Outeiro, David Blum, Rodrigo A. Cunha, Hélène Marie, Paula A. Pousinha and Luísa V. Lopes (2018) Age-related shift in LTD is dependent on neuronal adenosine A2A receptors interplay with mGluR5 and NMDA receptors, Molecular Psychiatry 10.1038/s41380-018-0110-9
  • Vicente Miranda H, Szego ÉM, Oliveira LM, Breda C, Darendelioglu E, de Oliveira RM, Ferreira DG, Gomes MA, Rott R, Oliveira M, Munari F, Enguita FJ, Simões T, Rodrigues EF, Heinrich M, Martins IC, Zamolo I, Riess O, Cordeiro C, Ponces-Freire A, Lashuel HA, Santos NC, Lopes LV, Xiang W, Jovin TM, Penque D, Engelender S, Zweckstetter M, Klucken J, Giorgini F, Quintas A, Outeiro TF (2017) Glycation potentiates a-synuclein-associated neurodegeneration in synucleinopathies Brain. 2017 Apr 10. doi: 10.1093/brain/awx056.
  • VL. Batalha, DG. Ferreira, JE. Coelho, JS. Valadas, R Gomes, MT emido-Ferreira, T Shmidt, Y Baqi, L Buée, CE. Müller, M Hamdane, TF. Outeiro, M. Bader, SH. Meijsing, G Sadri-Vakili, D Blum, and Luísa V. Lopes (2016) The caffeine-binding adenosine A2A receptor induces age-like HPA-axis dysfunction by targeting glucocorticoid receptor function. Scientific Reports,1;6:31493. doi: 10.1038/srep31493.
  • VL. Batalha, JM. Pego B Fontinha, AR Costenla, J Valadas, Y Baqi, H Radjainia, C E. Müller, AM. Sebastião and Luísa V. Lopes (2013) Adenosine A2A receptor blockade reverts hippocampal stress-induced deficits and restores corticosterone circadian oscillation. Mol. Psychiatry18, 320-331  
  • Ferreira DG, Batalha VL, Vicente Miranda H, Coelho JE, Gomes R, Gonçalves FQ, Real JI, Rino J, Albino-Teixeira A, Cunha RA, Outeiro TF, Lopes LV (2015)  Adenosine A2A Receptors Modulate a-Synuclein Aggregation and Toxicity. Cereb Cortex.2015 Nov 2. pii: bhv268.
  • C. Laurent, S. Burnouf, B.  Ferry, VL. Batalha, JE. Coelho, Y Baqi, E. Malik, E. Mariciniak, S. Parrot, A. Van der Jeugd, E. Faivre, V. Flaten, C. Ledent, R. DHooge, N. Sergeant, M. Hamdane, S. Humez, CE. Muller, Luisa V. Lopes, L. Buee, D. Blum (2014) A2A adenosine receptor deletion is protective in a mouse model of Alzheimer disease. Mol. Psychiatry, doi: 10.1038/mp.2014.151
  • Coelho JE, Alves P, Canas PM, Valadas JS, Shmidt T, Batalha VL, Ferreira DG, Ribeiro JA, Bader M, Cunha RA, do Couto FS, Lopes LV (2014) Overexpression of Adenosine A2A Receptors in Rats: Effects on Depression, Locomotion, and Anxiety. Front Psychiatry. 2014 doi: 10.3389/fpsyt.2014.00067.
  • MJ Diógenes, RB. Dias, DM. Rombo, H Vicente Miranda, F Maiolino, P Guerreiro, T Nasstrom, HG. Sebastião, Luísa V. Lopes and TF Outeiro (2012) Extracellular alpha-synuclein oligomers modulate synaptic transmission and impair LTP via NMDA-receptor activation. J. Neurosci. 32:11750-11762.
  • Chen JF, Sonsalla PK, Pedata F, Melani A, Domenici MR, Popoli P, Geiger J, Lopes LV, de Mendonça (2007) Adenosine A2A receptors and brain injury: broad spectrum of neuroprotection, multifaceted actions and "fine tuning" modulation. Prog. Neurobiol83, 310-31
  • Trevor W. Stone, Herbert Zimmermann, Luísa V. Lopes & Marloes P. Schaddelee (2001) Purines in Portugal. Trends Neurosci., 24, 629-630

group leader :
Luísa Lopes