Ramón Jorquera Ph.D.


Dr. Jorquera is natural from the Copiapo Valley, located in the Atacama region of the North of Chile. He graduated as a Biochemist from the Catholic University of Valparaiso in 1999, received his Ph.D. in Cellular and Molecular Biology from the Universidad Austral de Chile in 2008, and his postdoctoral training at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) between 2008 to 2011. In 2012 he started a lab in Puerto Rico working in the molecular regulation of vesicle fusion and synaptic plasticity. He has been back in Chile since 2019 at the ICB, UNAB. He awards MECESUP, Conicyt, IBRO, and PEW fellowships. As faculty, grants the U54 and the RO1 mechanism from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke from the National Institute of Held. He has been a faculty at the Medical Schools in the US since 2011 and in Chile since 2012. He mentored dozens of graduate students, a few postdocs, and junior faculties funded by a Specialized Neuroscience Research Program of NIH-NINDS #U54NS083924. Also, he established an independent and competitive research Laboratory funded by NIH-NINDS #R01NS108778. In addition, he served at the reviewer panels at the National Science Foundation and as a Latin-American partner at the Center for Brain, Mind + Machines, MIT. He served as a scientific reviewer for journals PloseOne; European Journal of Biophysics; IEEE Transactions on Molecular, Biological, and Multi-Scale Communications; Scientific Report, eNeuro, PNAS, and Journal of Neuroscience.


Research Description

The focus of the laboratory’s work is to understand how synaptic connections form, how synapses transmit information, and how synapses undergo plastic changes in their structure and function. To complement this basic research in neuroscience, the lab also studies how alterations in neuronal signaling underlie several neurological and myasthenic diseases. The lab combines Behavior, Electrophysiology, Fluorescence Imaging, Electron Microscopy, Molecular Biology, and Protein Biochemistry with Drosophila Genetics to address these questions. The successful applicant will join a dynamic and growing biomedical community with access to a broad range of the latest scientific technologies.

Key Publications

1. Hartwig, C., Macías Méndez, G., Bhattacharjee, S…Jorquera, R.A. and Faundez, V. (2021)
Golgi-Dependent Copper Homeostasis Sustains Synaptic Development and Mitochondrial Content
The Journal of Neuroscience. Jan.2021
2. Guan Z, Bykhovskaia M, Jorquera RA, Sutton RB, Akbergenova Y, Littleton JT A synaptotagmin suppressor screen indicates SNARE binding controls the timing and Ca2+ cooperativity of vesicle fusion. Elife. 2017 Sep 12
3. Jorquera, R.A., Huntwork-Rodriguez, S., Akbergenova, Y., Cho, R.W, and & Littleton, J.T. (2012) Complexin Controls Spontaneous and Evoked Neurotransmitter Release by Regulating the Timing and Properties of Synaptotagmin Activity .The Journal of Neuroscience. Dec 12;32(50):18234-45
4. Rodal, A.A., Blunk, A.D., Akbergenova, Y., Jorquera, R.A., Buhl, L.K., and Littleton, J.T. (2011).
A presynaptic endosomal trafficking pathway controls synaptic growth signaling. The Journal of Cell Biology. Apr 4; 193 (1):201-17.
5. Barber, CF., Jorquera, RA., Melom JE. and Littleton, JT. (2009). Postsynaptic Regulation of Synaptic Plasticity by Synaptotagmin 4 Requires Both C2 Domains. The Journal of Cell Biology. Oct 19; 187 (2): 295-310.