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1997-2002: BSc in Biological Sciences; specialized in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. Universidad Autónoma de Madrid (Spain).

2002-2006: PhD in Biological Sciences. Universidad Autónoma de Madrid (Spain)

2007-2013: Postdoctoral training. Dana-Farber Cancer Institute / Harvard Medical School (Boston, US)

Research description

My current research focuses on understanding how signaling cascades impinge on mitochondria to modulate mitochondrial metabolism. Mitochondrial metabolism plays a key role in cellular physiology, which is underscored by the fact that mitochondrial dysfunction and metabolic decline have been linked to several pathologies, such as cancer, diabetes or neurodegeneration. Our previous studies have shown that manipulation of the metabolic program in the brain constitutes a promising strategy to treat neurological disorders such as epilepsy and neurodegeneration. Therefore understanding the signaling mechanisms that modulate mitochondrial function will contribute to gain insight into the molecular underpinnings responsible for the pathogenesis of diseases in which mitochondrial dysfunction is a prominent feature.

In particular, my main interests include:

1) Understanding how nutrients are sensed and utilized in the brain
2) Identification of signaling mechanisms that modulate mitochondria function and metabolism
3) Evaluation of neuroprotective strategies based on modulating mitochondrial metabolism.

To address these questions I am using a multidisciplinary approach that combines cellular neurobiology, state-of-the-art extracellular flux analysis for mitochondrial bioenergetics, biochemistry, proteomics, molecular biology and in vivo studies. These studies may open up new avenues of research to develop novel therapeutic strategies and new diagnostics tools for neurodegenerative disorders.



1. Ribeiro SM, Gimenez-Cassina A, Danial NN, “Measurement of mitochondrial oxygen consumption rates in primary mouse neurons and astrocytes”, Methods in Molecular Biology, 2015, 1241:59-69

2. Gimenez-Cassina A, Garcia-Haro L, Choi CS,  Osundiji MA, Lane EA, Huang H, Yildirim MA, Szlyk B, Fisher JK, Polak K, Patton E, Wiwczar J, Robertson K, Godes M, Kim S, Kulkarni A, Distefano A, Samuel V, Cline G, Kim YB, Shulman GI, Danial NN, “Regulation of hepatic energy metabolism and gluconeogenesis by BAD”, Cell Metabolism, 2014, 19:272-284 

3. Stanley IA, Ribeiro SM, Gimenez-Cassina A, Norberg E, Danial NN, “Changing appetites: The adaptive advantages of fuel choice”, Trends in Cell Biology, 2014, 24(2):118-127
4. § Gimenez-Cassina A, Lim F, § Diaz-Nido J, “Chronic inhibition of glycogen synthase kinase-3 protects against rotenone-induced cell death in human neuron-like cells by increasing BDNF secretion”, Neuroscience Letters, 2012, 531(2):182-187  (§: AGC and JDN: co-corresponding authors)

5. Fu S, Fan J, Blanco J, Gimenez-Cassina A, Danial NN, Watkins SM, Hotamisligil GS, “Polysome profiling in liver identifies dynamic regulation of endoplasmic reticulum translatome by obesity and fasting”, PLoS Genetics, 2012, 8(8):e1002902

6. Gimenez-Cassina A, Martinez-François JR, Fisher JK, Szlyk B, Polak K, Wiwczar J, Tanner GF, Lutas A, Yellen G, Danial NN, "BAD-Dependent regulation of fuel metabolism and KATP channel activity confers resistance to epileptic seizures", Neuron, 2012, 74(4):719-730

7. Gimenez-Cassina A, Wade-Martins R, Gomez-Sebastian S, Corona JC, Lim F, Diaz-Nido J, “Infectious delivery and long-term persistence of transgene expression in vivo by a 135 kb iBAC-FXN genomic DNA expression vector”, Gene Therapy, 2011, 18(10):1015-1019

8. Gimenez-Cassina A, Danial NN. “Noxa: A Sweet Twist to Survival and More”, Molecular Cell, 2010, 40(5):687-688

9. Danial NN, Gimenez-Cassina A, Tondera D. “Homeostatic Functions of BCL 2 Proteins Beyond Apoptosis”, special issue  “BCL2 protein family: Essential regulators of cell death”, Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology, 2010, 687:1-32

10. Simarro M, Gimenez-Cassina A, Kedersha N, Lazaro JB, Adelmant GO, Marto JA, Rhee K, Tisdale S, Danial N, Benarafa C, Orduña A, Anderson P. “Fast kinase-containing domain protein 3 is a mitochondrial protein essential for cellular respiration”, Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications, 2010, 401(3):440-446

11. Corona JC, Gimenez-Cassina A, Lim F, Diaz-Nido J. “Hexokinase II gene transfer protects against neurodegeneration in the rotenone and MPTP mouse models of Parkinson’s Disease”. Journal of Neuroscience Research, 2010, 88(9):1943-1950.

12. Gimenez-Cassina A, Lim F, Cerrato T, Palomo GM, Diaz-Nido J. “Mitochondrial Hexokinase II promotes neuronal survival and acts downstream of glycogen synthase kinase-3”. Journal of Biological Chemistry, 2009,  284(5):3001-3011

13. Simon D, Benitez MJ, Gimenez-Cassina A, Garrido JJ, Bhat RV, Diaz-Nido J, Wandosell F. “Pharmacological inhibition of GSK-3 is not strictly correlated with a decrease in tyrosine phosphorylation of residues 216/279”. Journal of Neuroscience Research, 2008, 86(3):668-674

14. Lim F, Palomo GM, Mauritz C, Gimenez-Cassina A, Illana B, Wandosell F, Diaz-Nido J. “Functional recovery in a Friedreich´s ataxia mouse model by frataxin gene transfer using a HSV-1 amplicon vector”. Molecular Therapy, 2007, 15(6):1072-1078.

15. Gomez-Sebastian A, Gimenez-Cassina A, Diaz-Nido J, Lim F, Wade-Martins R. “Infectious delivery and expression of a 135 kb human FRDA genomic DNA locus complements Friedreich's ataxia deficiency in human cells”. Molecular Therapy, 2007, 15(2):248-254

16. Gimenez-Cassina A, Lim F, Diaz-Nido J. “Gene Transfer Into Purkinje Cells Using Herpesviral Amplicon Vectors in Cerebellar Cultures”. Neurochemistry International, 2007, 50(1):181-188

17. Gimenez-Cassina A, Lim F, Diaz-Nido J. “Differentiation Of A Human Neuroblastoma Into Neuron-Like Cells Increases Their Susceptibility To Transduction By Herpes-Viral Vectors”. Journal of Neuroscience Research, 2006, 84(4):755-767

18. Bhat RV, Xue Y, Berg S, Hellberg S, Ormö M, Nilsson Y, Radesäter AC, Jerning E, Markgren PO, Borgegård T, Nylöf M, Gimenez-Cassina A, Hernandez F, Lucas JJ, Diaz-Nido J, Avila J. “Structural insights and biological effects of glycogen synthase kinase 3 specific inhibitor AR-A014418”. Journal of Biological Chemistry, 2003,  278(46):45937-45945


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