Lopez Laboratory - Research and activities

Through a series of innovative concepts, tools and techniques, our laboratory seeks to understand and characterize the molecular mechanisms, cellular circuits, and behavioral correlates, associated with stress-related psychiatric disorders and their treatments.

Schematic overview
Figure 1: Schematic overview of research programme in the Lopez Laboratory. From genes to behaviour: A translational psychiatry approach. Photo: Juan Pablo Lopez.

Using wild-type and genetically modified animal models, our research programme tackles psychiatrically-relevant questions such as:

  • Why does one individual develop psychiatric symptoms, whereas another does not?
  • What are the relevant critical or sensitive periods of development where adversity becomes neurobiologically embedded?
  • What are the neurobiological mechanisms underlying clinical improvement?
  • What are the biological correlates of treatment response?

Our strategy consists of implementing a combination of novel, automated, and high-throughput behavioral and molecular experimental approaches to:

  1. Elucidate the mechanisms by which stressors are perceived and processed into molecular, neuroendocrine and behavioral responses, under healthy and pathological conditions, in males and females.
  2. Characterize critical time windows and neurobiological circuits contributing to the molecular, cellular and behavioral outcomes associated with susceptibility and resilience to stressful stimuli, as well as treatment response.
  3. Identify and characterize “activated” cell populations and circuits involved in the regulation of stress responses and rapid-acting antidepressant effects.
  4. Identify novel behavioral and molecular predictors of stress susceptibility and treatment response.

To achieve these objectives our laboratory implements a wide range of techniques, such as (a) state-of-the-art transcriptomics, including “bulk” and single-cell resolution, (b) behavioral mouse models of stress and anxiety, (c) automated behavioral tracking and analysis systems of complex behaviors for groups of mice, (d) diverse transgenic mouse models, and (e) viral-mediated gene manipulations in behaving mice.

Schematic overview of research methods
Figure 2: Schematic overview of research methods used in the Lopez Laboratory. Increasing the resolution in stress neurobiology: From single cells to complex behaviours. Photo: Juan Pablo Lopez.

Projects

For information about ongoing research projects, please email Juan Pablo Lopez at jpablo.lopez@ki.se.

Research support

Current funding

  • Karolinska Institutet, Starting Grant
  • The Strategic Research Area Neuroscience (StratNeuro) - Starting Funds

Past funding

  • EMBO Long-Term Postdoctoral Fellowship, European Commission
  • Alexander von Humboldt Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship, Germany 
  • CAN-BIND Postdoctoral Fellowship, Canada
  • CIHR Doctoral Award, Canada 
  • FRQS Doctoral Award, Quebec
  • Lloyd Carr-Harris Doctoral Fellowship, Canada

Contact

Juan Pablo Lopez

Principal investigator