Studies of Dr. Ana María Cárdenas, of the CINV, could help to revert some damage at memory level


Studies of Dr. Ana María Cárdenas, of the CINV, could help to revert some damage at memory level.

In Chile 2,4 out of every thousand children are born with Down Syndrome, a large percentage than reported in other countries in Latin America, the United States and Europe, According to the statistics of Estudio Colaborativo Latinoamericano de Malformaciones Congénitas (ECLAMC). 

This syndrome is caused by the total or partial mutation of the 21 chromosome, which generates in the develop and function of the organism, affecting the nervous system – specially in the cognitive aspect – and in the cardiac, motor and endrocrine systmes among others. 




 Estudios de la Dra. Ana María Cárdenas podrían ayudar a revertir algunos daños a nivel de la memoria 



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Germany and Chile sign scientific agreement

Directors of  Centro Interdisciplinario de Neurociencia, of the  Universidad de Valparaíso, and the Max Plack Institute,signed a bi-national agreement .    


Directors of the Centro Intedisciplinario de Neurociencia, of the Universidad de Valparaíso and the Max Planck Institute ,  home to seventeen Nobel Prize winners,  signed a bi-national agreeement between Germany and Chile. The new agreement outlines specific goals, including recruit important scientists from around the world,  bring them to Valparaíso and take part in a new be-national investigation center. 










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III Latin Americanan Zebrafish Network (LAZEN) Course and Meeting – Valparaiso, Chile 2014

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III Latin Americanan Zebrafish Network (LAZEN) Course and Meeting – Valparaiso, Chile 2014


OPEN: November 15, 2014
CLOSE: January 15, 2013 

Candidates are required to send CV, letter of intent expressing their interest in participating in the course and symposium, and a letter of reference.

All materials should be send to both of the following addresses:

Financial Aid is available to cover travel and housing expenses of participants. Students are expected to apply for resources within their countries.

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Organism`s Protein Causes Genetics Deafness

Research from the Centro Interdisciplinario de Neurociencia, of Universidad de Valparaíso:

Organism`s Protein Causes Genetics Deafness

Dr. Agustín Martinez, of the CINV, participated last Sunday in “Hacia la mañana”, the scientific segment of the Puerto de Ideas Festival.

One out of every 1500 people born has hearing problems

Dr. Agustín Martínez seeks to understand the origin of genetic deafness and to search strategies for future therapies. Dr. Martínez, a biologist, is working on the mutations of an organism’s protein which is responsible for 50% of the congenital disorders.

 In his exhibition “De la comunicación intercelular a la sordera genética, un futuro desafiante” (“From intercellular communication to the genetic deafness, a challenging future”) displayed last Sunday, November 10th, in the Parque Cultural de Valparaiso, at the Puerto Ideas Festival, the biologist presented his discovery, which in the words of Dr. Martínez “is a public health problem”.

 Furthermore, Juan Carlos García, CINV Manager, remarked that Dr. Martínez’s work shows – “the role that young researchers play in, addressing different health problems and disease that affect Chile, connecting science and the society, and recognizing the contribution for the human development”

 Hearing problems

According to Dr. Martinez, an estimated one of 1.500 newborns has hearting problems”.  Half of patients with genetic deafness have mutations in a protein called “conexin 26”. The severity of this condition varies. The challenge is to develop future therapies in order to modulate the protein and improve the conditions of patients.

 Two types of deafness

According to Dr. Martínez the problem with this protein is that it can manifest in two types of deafness. One of them is the non-syndromic, which affects about 98% of the cases where the damage is only related to the auditory system. However, the other 2% of people shows a syndromic condition associated with serious skin problem that could cause death.

Our skin has various layers and is a very important organ because it prevents dehydration and protects us from the environment and its pathogens. People with this type of syndromic deafness loose skin layers. When this loss is serious people have to live under insolated conditions, and risk a disease related death. 

To understand the origin of thise typologies, one must recognize the pathological mechanisms of the different mutations of the conexine 26, whose normal function is in some structures called “gap junctions” which allow communication between cells. Dr. Martinez explains that although this mutation has been studied for one decade, we still have much to learn about the pathological mechanism of the mutations.

Nevertheless, in the CINV laboratories, Dr. Martínez together with his Doctoral students have discovered some differences between the mutations of the coexine 26 which causes syndromic deafness and between the one which causes non-syndromic deafness. In the first case, there is a observable loss of the protein function, meanwhile in the second case; there is a “gain” for the function, “which is impulse by the abnormal interaction of the mutant conexine 26 with other protein that is in the skin”.

Medicine creation

With this research, a strategy is being developed to combat deafness using skin alteration, in order to generate a medicine that inhibits the protein function. “This is a midterm challenge, which could prove to be a treatment for patients with this syndromic condition”. Additionally, Dr. Martínez adds they already know some molecules that can “block the protein activity and potentially could be used as therapy for curing the skin illness.

However, to cure the deafness, the situation is more complicated, because elaborate genetics therapies which allow the modulation the mutation directly and/or replace the mutated gene, are necessary. “Our goal is to cure the deafness, but that is a long term plan” admits Dr. Martínez.

Currently, the CINV scientists are working at a basic level with cellular lines and transgenic animals samples. However, various international examples provide hope for this cure, because the studies of others genes related to deafness are being developed.  

But beyond the contribution to future therapies, Dr. Martínez recognizes the importance of understanding this alteration. “An understanding about how illnesses occur and the mechanisms involved in it, create a better understanding of the physiology of those organs. But also, this is a matter of public health we want people understand that scientists must investigate these problems and the state must continue to support financially these initiatives. . 

Scientific Profile

Agustin Martínez received his Doctorate in Biologics Sciences from Universidad Católica de Chile, and his post doctorate at  the Chicago University. Currently he works in Conexine and Intercelullar communication Laboratory of Centro Interdisciplinario de Neurociencia of Valparaíso, where he develops different lines of research, mainly orientated to understand the pathological mechanisms of genetics deafness. Furthermore, he is a professor and Director of the Master in Neuroscience program at the Universidad de Valparaíso. 


Source:  El Mercurio de Valparaíso, martes 12 de noviembre


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Chile´s Cuttlefish is used to study the epilepsy and muscular paralysis


“The cuttlefish is a squid with the biggest axons of all animals”, explained Dr. Miguel Holmgren, a Chilean currently living in United States. 

Through the study of the cuttlefish which inhabit the coast off of Valparaíso, Chileans Scientifics look into the electrical properties of neurons and the importance of this property for an organism´s multiple functions, such as the muscular movement.

 “Electricity generates life” stated Miguel Holmgren, a Chilean scientific living in United State, who participated in the VIII Ibero American Congress of Biophysics in Valparaíso. This characteristic is vital for the human beings, who are a risk of experiencing some type of epilepsies, muscular paralysis and migraine when electrical transmission fails to occur. Due to this importance, Dr. Holmgren explained that an understanding of bioelectricity mechanisms and species, like the cuttlefish, can contribute to the knowledge of pathologies and its therapeutic handling.

The exploration of this giant cuttlefish is a milestone for the Chilean Biophysics and in the world. This animal, besides being “full of electricity”, possesses the biggest axons in nature – 1 mm approximately – and that can be noticed by the human eyes.

“When the electrical signal is generated, neurons have the property to conduct it through extensions called axons, which, in a way, is the electrical circuit” said Dr. Holmgreen, President of the Sociedad de Biofísicos Latinoamericanos (SOBLA).

Experts determined this process occurs, because of the permeability of cellular membrane which contains proteins that allow the constant flow of electrical charges from the interior. 

Electricity, live motor

Regarding electric   power, D. Holmgren explains that each cell of our body is a kind of electrical battery of approximately 0.1 volts and with a negative pole that is located inside of each   cell. “Moreover, almost all cells use the electricity to live and eliminate toxins, among others functions, plants also use the electricity to survive” state the visiting lecturer.

The new impulse of Montemar

The laboratory of Montemar, a leading center of science and study of bioelectricity in Chile, has dedicated more than 50 years to the study of cuttlefish and electrical mechanisms.   

Montemar is located on the way to Concón, in front of the Ciencias del Mar Faculty of the Universidad de Valparaíso. Mario Luxoro, the first Chilean Biophysicist and winner of the National Prize of Science, founded the lab in the 60`s as a part of the Universidad de Chile.  Interested in this squid, . Ramón Latorre, National Prize of Natural Science winner and Dr. Francisco Bezanilla both member of National Academy of Science of United State visited the lab along with Dr. Cecilia Hidalgo, winner of the National Prize of Natural Science, and others foreign specialists, mainly from California University

When the lab opened, ten researchers conducted research, usually in summer because is the season when the cuttlefish appear in the coast. However one decade later, the decline of this species ‘population combined with a reduction in the resources allocated for investigations halted almost all activities at Montemar.

Nevertheless, years later, Monemar. As Miguel Holmgren, remembers:

 “In the 2006, I came to Chile and found out that local markets were selling cuttlefish, so I called Francisco Bezanilla, who was also in the United State, and proposed going to Chile to investigate what was going on there. We returned together in 2008 supported by the Centro Interdisciplinario de Neurociencia and its Director Ramon Latorre, who also took part in this adventure. We had such a good time, that we continued our investigation in Montemar. Twice a year, we spend a season here doing different experiments that are impossible to do in other places. We have brought Montemar back to life”


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“Casa Verde” Opening, the new home of Ciencia Al Tiro

An innovator program allows public school students of vulnerable sectors in Valparaíso, to develop scientific projects in acuaponia, neuroscience, genetics, solar oven, energy efficiency, biogas made of organic garbage and many more.   



Mercurio de Valparaíso: Equipan casa para que niños aprendan ciencia entretenida 

Televisión Nacional de Chile: Valparaíso: Inauguran “edificio verde” para estudiantes.

El Martutino: Neurobióloga gringa abre centro para hacer ciencia entretenida

Universidad de Valparaíso: Ultiman detalles para inauguración de la nueva sede de Ciencia Al Tiro 

Modern greenhouse where children will develop the Acuaponics program

Seventh-grade students of the Escuela Básico Pacífico, located in Playa Ancha

Authorities at the inauguration   

The opening was well attended  

Ramon Latorre, CINV Director; Aldo Valle, UV President;

Kathleen Whitlock, Director of Ciencia al Tiro; and Jorge Castro, Mayor of Valparaíso. 

Patricia Arancibia,  Principal of Escuela Básica Pacífico with students and a teacher

Kathleen Whitlock, Director of Ciencia al Tiro Program with Patricia Arancibia,principal of Escuela Básico Pacífico 

Kathleen Whitlock with Mabel Keller, Coordinator of the Explora-CONICYT Program of Valparaíso Region.

Student from Escuela Básica Pacífico showing a DNA figure with mutations made of candies.

Student from Escuela Básica Pacífico showing a DNA figure with mutations made of candies.

Front of building with a mural of Eduardo Mena 

Moisés Acevedo and Ana María Navia of the CINV, standing with the antique stained glass window of the La Merced Church.

A beautiful piece made of wood and glass, the window is considered a gem of Valparaíso

Stained glass window made up by Dr. Whitlock: in the right top of the window you can see a part of the logo of Ciencia al Tiro

and at the bottom her beloved fishes.

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Masters in Neuroscience, Call for Applications for 2014

The Masters in Biological Science of Neuroscience aims to give professionals essential neuroscience knowledge, such as the origin, development, and normal and pathological functioning of the nervous system in all the levels of biological organization from the molecular till behavioral.


This part-time program lasts 2 years (22 hours weekly) and includes both theoretical and practical elements.

First Year: Mandatory and elective courses, such as, Nervous System development and general organization, Neuronal Physiology and Synaptic Transmission, Sensorial Physiology, movement and control Motor, Neuropathology, Experimental Methodology in Neuroscience, Microscopy, Biophysics, Biostatistics, Computational Neuroscience, Lab rotations, and Thesis Project.

Second Year: Mainly Thesis work.

This program could last one year, only if the student works in our laboratories, shows full time dedication and if he/she approves all the courses and thesis project within the established time.

Applications requirements

Those who wish to apply to this Masters Program must have an academic degree related with Neuroscience or general science (such as: biology, Biochemistry, phonoaudiology, kinesiology, psychology, etc.).

The applicant must send their résumé, degree, transcript with grades, and letter of interest. Based on their application, selected students must attend an interview with the program committee.

Registration though web page

Start of application period: September 09th, 2013. 

End of applications period: November –December 2013 (In accordance with CONICYT Master Scholarship dates.)

Fee and Scholarships

Year 2014 Fee: 95UF

Conicyt Scholarship:  Selected student in the first call could apply to Conicyt.

AUR Scholarship: (1) Application in

Exemption Fee: 100% for students of Licenciatura en Ciencias UV, with the best rank within the program.

More Info:

Secretary:  Maritza Quiroga,, Phone 56-32-2508395

Director: Agustín Martínez,

Facultad de Ciencias

Universidad de Valparaíso,

Gran Bretaña 1111, Playa Ancha, Valparaíso.










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“Nexos 2013: Fourth Meeting of Chilean Scientists in the United States”

“Nexos 2013: Fourth Reunion of Chilean Scientists in the United States”
The fourth adjournment of the Nexos meeting, which brings together Chilean scientists in United States, will be hosted on October 11th and 12th at Johns Hopkins University, Rockville, Maryland.
The Nexos annual meeting is a place for Chilean scientists to expound on their research projects within the United States. This scientific cooperation not only links different institutions witin the United Sates and Chile but allows space to discuss science and public policy that focuses on the reintegration of advanced human capital.
This year, important presenters include: Dr. Ramon Latorre (CINV), Dr. Rene Vidal (JHU), and Dra. Beatriz Luna (U Pitt), among others. Also other guests will contribute to the discussions including, Fernando Flores of the Consejo Nacional de Innovacion and representatives of CONICYT, ChileGlobal, RedCiencia, +Ciencia para Chile, and Becas Chile.
For further information about this organization and meeting, please visit the web page:


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Call for applications 2014 Graduate Program in Neurosciences





Our Program is designed to train researchers interested in the development, the structure, and the function of the nervous system. The strengths of our Program are in the areas of molecular physiology and biophysics, computational neuroscience, sensory neuroscience, neuronal plasticity and neuropathology, and development and neurogenetics.
Our Program exists since 2002 and is accredited until 2017
Chilean and foreign students accepted into our Program are funded for 4 years by available scholarship programs. The Doctoral Program has a cooperative agreement with the Scuola Internazionale Superiore di Studi Avanzati (SISSA) of Trieste, Italy (, which allows a double Ph.D. degree to be obtained.

The period of applications for the 2014 academic year is open until the November 01st. Applicants must follow the instructions that appear in “For Applicants” of our web page, and apply in:

“Dirección de Postgrado y Postítulo de la Universidad de Valparaíso”.

More Info: 032-2508453


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