Jeffrey Lopez-Rojas

Assistant Professor

Dr. Lopez-Rojas will recruit new graduate students for Fall 2024 admissions for the Clinical PhD, Neuroscience PhD and Health Masters programs.

Degree: Ph.D, Otto von Guericke University Magdeburg, Germany


Identifying and adequately reacting to social signals is crucial for the survival of humans and many other species living in frequent interaction with conspecifics. For rodents, social recognition heavily depends on olfaction, but it ultimately relies upon multisensory integration of olfactory, auditory and somatosensory cues. The lateral entorhinal cortex (lateral EC) is a multimodal association area that provides the major non-spatial sensory input to hippocampus. As one of the largest hubs in the brain connecting with a wide range of cortical and subcortical regions, it is well suited for playing a central role in social cognition. I recently found that the lateral EC sends critical social information to the dorsal CA2 region of the hippocampus, an area that is specialized for social memory. My research program aims to understand the brain core mechanisms supporting social cognition, with a focus on the entorhinal-hippocampal network and how alterations in this circuit result in impaired social behavior, intending to find more specific interventions to treat neuropsychiatric and neurodegenerative disorders. We use a variety of experimental approaches, including different kinds of behavioural tasks, large-scale optical recording of neuronal activity in freely moving animals, optogenetics, pharmacogenetics, electrophysiological recordings, circuit tracing, among others.

Selected Publications:

Lopez-Rojas, J* , de Solis CA, Leroy F, Kandel ER, Siegelbaum SA*. (2022) A direct lateral entorhinal cortex to hippocampal CA2 circuit conveys social information required for social memory Neuron 110(9): 1559–1572.e4.

Oulé M, Atucha E, Wells TM, Macharadzea T, Sauvage MM, Kreutz MR and Lopez-Rojas J*. (2021) Dendritic Kv4.2 potassium channels selectively mediate spatial pattern separation in the dentate gyrus. iScience 24(8):102876. doi: 10.1016/j.isci.2021.102876.

Andres-Alonso M, Ammar MR, Butnaru I, Gomes GM, Acuña Sanhueza G, Raman R, Yuanxiang P, Borgmeyer M, Lopez-Rojas J, Raza SA, Brice N, Hausrat TJ, Macharadze T, Diaz-Gonzalez S, Carlton M, Failla AV, Stork O, Schweizer M, Gundelfinger ED, Kneussel M, Spilker C, Karpova A, Kreutz MR. (2019) SIPA1L2 controls trafficking and local signaling of TrkB-containing amphisomes at presynaptic terminals. Nat Commun. 10(1):5448. doi: 10.1038/s41467-019-13224-z.

Lombino FL, Muhia M, Lopez-Rojas J, Brill MS, Thies E, Ruschkies L, Lutz D, Richter M, Hausrat TJ, Lopes AT, McNally FJ, Hermans-Borgmeyer I, Dunleavy JEM, Hoffmeister-Ullerich S, Frotscher M, Misgeld T, Kreutz MR, de Anda FC, Kneussel M. (2019) The Microtubule Severing Protein Katanin Regulates Proliferation of Neuronal Progenitors in Embryonic and Adult Neurogenesis. Scientific Reports 9(1):15940. doi: 10.1038/s41598-019-52367-3.

Dumenieu M, Senkov O, Mironov A, Bourinet E, Kreutz MR, Dityatev A, Heine M., Bikbaev A*, Lopez-Rojas J*. (2018 ) The Low-Threshold Calcium Channel Cav3.2 Mediates Burst Firing of Mature Dentate Granule Cells. Cerebral Cortex. 28(7):2594-2609.

Mikhaylova M, Bär J, van Bommel B, Schätzle P, YuanXiang P, Raman R, Hradsky J, Konietzny A, Loktionov EY, Reddy PP, Lopez-Rojas J, Spilker C, Kobler O, Raza SA, Stork O, Hoogenraad CC, Kreutz MR. (2018) Caldendrin Directly Couples Postsynaptic Calcium Signals to Actin Remodeling in Dendritic Spines. Neuron. 97(5):1110-1125.e14.

Duménieu M, Oulé M, Kreutz MR, Lopez-Rojas J*. (2017) The Segregated Expression of Voltage-Gated Potassium and Sodium Channels in Neuronal Membranes: Functional Implications and Regulatory Mechanisms. Front Cell Neurosci.;11:115.

Kravchick DO, Karpova A, Hrdinka M, Lopez-Rojas J, Iacobas S, Carbonell AU, Iacobas DA, Kreutz MR and Jordan BA. (2016) Synaptonuclear messenger PRR7 inhibits c-Jun ubiquitination and regulates NMDA mediated Excitotoxicity. EMBO Journal 35(17): 1923–1934.

Bikbaev A, Duménieu M, Lopez-Rojas J, Heine M. (2016) Localising Receptors and Channels Across the Dendritic Arbour, in: Emoto K, Wong R, Huang E, Hoogenraad C (Eds.), Dendrites: Development and Disease. Springer Japan, Tokyo, pp. 387-424.

Spilker C, Nullmeier S, Grochowska KM, Schumacher A, Butnaru I, Macharadze T, Gomes GM, Yuanxiang P, Bayraktar G, Rodenstein C, Geiseler C, Kolodziej A, Lopez-Rojas J, Montag D, Angenstein F, Bär J, D'Hanis W, Roskoden T, Mikhaylova M, Budinger E, Ohl FW, Stork O, Zenclussen AC, Karpova A, Schwegler H, Kreutz MR. (2016) A Jacob/Nsmf Gene Knockout Results in Hippocampal Dysplasia and Impaired BDNF Signaling in Dendritogenesis. PLoS Genet. 12(3):e1005907.

Lopez-Rojas J* and Kreutz MR. (2016) Mature granule cells of the dentate gyrus—Passive bystanders or principal performers in hippocampal function? Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews 64 167–174.

Lopez-Rojas J*, Heine M*, Kreutz MR*. (2016) Plasticity of intrinsic excitability in mature granule cells of the dentate gyrus. Scientific Reports 6:21615 | doi: 10.1038/srep21615.

Kudolo J, Tabassum H, Frey S, López J, Hassan H, Frey JU, Bergado J. (2010) Electrical and pharmacological manipulations of the nucleus accumbens core impair synaptic plasticity in the dentate gyrus of the rat. Neuroscience 168: 723-731.

Almaguer-Melián W, Bergado JA, López-Rojas J, Frey S, Frey JU.(2010) Differential effects of electrical stimulation patterns, motivational behavioral stimuli and their order of application on functional plasticity processes within one input in the dentate gyrus of freely moving rats in vivo. Neuroscience 165: 1 546-1558.

Bergado JA, Scherf T, Almaguer-Melian W, Frey S, López J, Frey JU. (2009) Stimulation of the nucleus raphe medialis modifies basal synaptic transmission at the dentate gyrus, but not long-term potentiation or its reinforcement by stimulation of the basolateral amygdala. Neuroscience Letters 464): 179-183.

López J, Almaguer W, Pérez H, Frey JU, Bergado JA. (2008) Opposite effects of shell or core stimulation of the nucleus accumbens on LTP in dentate gyrus of anesthetized rats. Neuroscience 151(2): 572-578.

Bergado JA, Frey S, López J, Almaguer W, Frey JU. (2007) Cholinergic afferents to the locus coeruleus and noradrenergic afferents to the medial septum mediate LTP-reinforcement in the dentate gyrus by stimulation of the amygdala. Neurobiology of Learning and Memory 88: 331-341.

López-Rojas J*, Almaguer-Melián W, Bergado-Rosado J. (2007) Synaptic tagging and memory trace. Rev Neurol 45(10): 607-614.

López J*, González ME, Lorigados L, Morales L, Riverón G, Bauza Y. (2007) Oxidative stress markers in surgically treated patients with refractory epilepsy. Clinical Biochemistry 40: 292-298.