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Dr. Christian Bonansco, PhD
Laboratorio de Neurofisiología, Centro de Neurobiologia y Plasticidad del Desarrollo Depto. Fisiología, Fac. Ciencias, U. Valparaiso, Av. Gran Bretaña 1111, Valparaíso-Chile
Fono: +56-32-508057 FAX:+56-32-281949
E mail: christian.bonansco@uv.cl

About Dr. Bonansco:
Dr. Christian Bonansco, an outstanding research and an expert in Neurobiology from South America was born on December 20, 1962 in Valparaíso, Chile the oldest and most important seaport of Chile that is also an increasingly vital university and cultural centre, actually protected as a UNESCO World Heritage site. As student he could enjoy a comprehensive education, through their passage through different local high schools and colleges. From 1981, admitted to continue the Biology career at the Faculty of Science, University of Chile, he could recognize physiology as a discipline to which he would devote his future. Dr. Manuel Roncagliolo, as director of his first thesis, conveyed him her passion for neurophysiology. In 1986, as the best graduate of his promotion, he was incorporated as assistant of the Department of Biology and Chemistry, Faculty of Science, Universidad de Playa Ancha, Valparaíso. At that time, he started a Master programme in Neurobiology, at the Faculty of Medicine, Universidad de Chile, Santiago. During the second year of this program he obtained a fellowship from the Iberoamerican Cooperation Institute for research training at the Institute "Santiago Ramón y Cajal", Madrid, Spain. Dr. Buño introduces him not only in intracellular electrophysiogical techniques, but really "how to do science".

After returning to the country, he develops his thesis for master degree under the leadership of Dr. Mario Luxoro and Dr. Veronica Nassar, at the Cellular Physiology Lab., Universidad de Chile, characterizing the ionic components of excitability in chromaffin cells. He obtained his Master in Science Degree in 1993. Then, supported by AGCEI (Spain) and MIDEPLAN (Chile) fellowships, he started their Ph.D. studies at the Universidad Complutense de Madrid, again led by Dr. W. Buño. Now, he studied the modulation of electrical properties of central neurons mediated by different neurotransmitters and their relationship into genesis of hippocampal theta rhythm. These studies gave rise to several papers in synaptic plasticity area, obtaining the Ph.D. degree in 1997. In that year he obtained a position at the Department of Physiology, Faculty of Science, Universidad de Valparaíso, for develop an independent research line in synaptic transmission, using intracellular recording in brain slices as a technical approach, representing one of the first labs in the country specialized in electrophysiology of isolated nerve tissue. Since then he conducted various research projects supported by his university and by CONICYT (National Council for Scientific Research and Technology), presenting his work at national and international meetings, and also organizing several workshops in the country.

In 2005, along with other researchers in the department and with initial funding of the university, they created the Center for Neurobiology and Developmental Plasticity. At the present, productive collaborations have been established with several laboratories interested in development of neurodegenerative disease, such as Alzheimer, and recently autism, stress and epilepsy, trying to understand the relationships between disruption of gliotransmission and synaptic transmission involved in the mechanisms early deterioration of neural functions. In parallel, Dr. Bonansco has been dedicated to training both undergraduate and postgraduate students, and supporting the development of M.Sc. and Ph.D. programs in Neuroscience at his University. Actually, as Director of Department of Physiology, Universidad de Valparaiso, he pretends to promote the development of research in basic sciences with relevance in clinical area, particularly in the area of Neurology and Neurobiology.

Center for Neurobiology and Developmental Plasticity (CNPD) Department of Physiology, Faculty of Sciences, University of Valparaíso ,Chile.
The Center for Neurobiology and Developmental Plasticity (CNPD) is a scientific group at the Department of Physiology, Faculty of Sciences, University of Valparaíso (UV; http://www.uv.cl/), Chile. The Faculty of Sciences was established from 1958, as Department of Sciences of Valparaíso, to promote and develop basic research in mathematics, biology and natural sciences, and to train the scientific staff required for university education. The Department of Physiology plays a significant role in teaching integrative concepts to biological and health sciences students and the principles and practice of scientific investigation to M.Sc. and Ph.D. faculty students. In research the Department focuses on cellular physiology, neurophysiology and molecular neurobiology. In 2006, with an initial financial support of the UV Research Office, the group of researchers dedicated to neuroscience in the department gathers around a common goal and create the CNPD.

The mission of CNPD is to generate an environment that encourages the collaboration and interaction of different areas of research involved in one of the most central problem of Neurobiology: the normal brain development and its vulnerability to external factors. Their main goal is to study the cellular and molecular mechanisms by which neurons and glial cells interact to determine the maturation of neural circuits during the critical period of central nervous system development. The knowledge about neurobiological basis of the ability of brain circuits to reorganize during development is fundamental to understanding of chronic and progressive diseases affecting CNS, representing an area of major impact in biomedicine due to therapeutic implications. Actually, the central hypothesis of the Center point out that neuronal activity of immature circuits requires astrocytes depending neurotrophic signaling to induce maturation of neuronal systems.

The CNPD is constituted by several laboratories with expertise in different methods and strategies dedicated to developmental neuroscience. Dr. Christian Bonansco and Dr. Marco Fuenzalida, at Laboratory of Synaptic Physiology, are using electrophysiological methods to evaluate plasticity and developmental properties of central synapses in isolated nervous tissue, particularly hippocampus. At time, these studies are focused to evaluate the glial modulation on the early alterations of synaptic transmission that occur during the development of various neurological and neurodegenerative diseases such as epilepsy, Parkinson's and Alzheimer's. Dr. Esteban Aliaga, at the Laboratory of Cellular and Molecular Neurobiology, is studying how brain derived neurotrophic factor (BNDF) involved in developmental plasticity, determine the critical period and vulnerability of brain maturation depending on the presence and functioning of glial cells. Dr. Eduardo Couve, at the Laboratory of Electron Microscopy and Cellular Neurobiology, contribute with the study of ultrastructural changes occurring during development in normal and altered nervous systems, including that of the neurological glial mutant taiep. Dr. Manuel Roncagliolo, at Laboratory of Neurophysiology, is working with kindling, an animal model of epilepsy, in which daily, brief, and subconvulsant stimulation of brain structures, as amigdala, culminates with generalized seizures after few days, revealing that mechanisms of neural plasticity are working in vivo.

Finally, the Center maintains a close and continuous working relationship with other national and international centers, such as: INTA-UCH (Chile); CRCP-J. Luco, PUC (Chile); Instituto Santiago Ramón y Cajal, CSIC (Spain); B. A. University of Puebla (México) and CNRS/INSERM (France).

Chapter Highlights

  • Australian Chapter:- Dr Pam McGrath and her team, International Program of Psycho-Social Health Research (IPP-SHR), have worked closely with IRPC on a range of research projects.
  • Australian Chapter:- Hamish Holewa, IPP-SHR has contributed to the development of IRPC's journal, the Austral-Asian Journal of Cancer, a HERDC recognised, peer-reviewed, multi-disciplinary cancer journal.

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