Competition: Latin America & Caribbean
An expert in the physiology of the nervous system and the pathophysiology of its disorders, especially basal ganglia–related disorders such as Parkinson’s disease, Gustavo Murer is not only an instructor-lecturer in the Department of Physiology and Biophysics at the University of Buenos Aires’ School of Medicine and the head of its Laboratory of Neuronal Circuitry Physiology, but he is also a Career Researcher of CONICET. He took up appointments with both institutions after completing his graduate education at UBA (M.D., 1986; Ph.D., 1992) and two postdoctoral fellowships, one at CONICET (1993-95) and another at the French National Institutes of Health (INSERM) (1996-98). While working at INSERM under the supervision of Drs. R. Raisman and Oscar Gershanik, the international collaborative study he was part of made important contributions to the study of the effects of levodopa on Parkinson’s disease. The resultant article in Annals of Neurology (Murer et al., 1998, 43:561-575) is among Dr. Murer’s most highly cited works.
A re-entry grant from the Antorchas Foundation and Young Investigator Awards from the Roemmers Foundation and UBA helped fund his research on his return to Argentina. The results—finding that the normal rhythms of cerebral cortex activity spread abnormally throughout the basal ganglia when the neurotransmitter dopamine is deficient—were presented in Tseng et al., Journal of Neuroscience, 2001, 21:6430-6439. Dr. Murer’s continuing research has been funded by other grants from the Antorchas Foundation, the Argentine National Agency for the Promotion of Science, UBA, CONICET, and the Carrillo-Oñativia Award from the Argentine National Ministry of Health and the Fogarty International Research Collaboration Award from the U.S. National Institutes of Health.
Among his other important publications are the following: "Brain-derived neurotrophic factor in the control of human brain and in Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease" (M. G. Murer et al., Progress in Neurobiology, 2001, 63:71-124); "Turning off cortical ensembles stops striatal UP states and elicits phase locked perturbations in cortical and striatal slow oscillations in vivo" (F. Kasanetz et al., Journal of Physiology, 2006, 577:97-113); and "Functional integration across a gradient of corticostriatal channels controls UP state transitions in the dorsal striatum" (F. Kasanetz et al., Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the U.S.A., 2008, 105:8124-8129). Dr. Murer has also be an invited conferee at Societies of Neurology, Neuropsychiatry, Pharmacology, and Clinical Investigation. He has been an invited lecturer at the Max Planck Institute of Psychiatry in Munich, the University of Bordeaux, the Joint Meeting of the Brazilian Physiological Society and U.K. Physiological Society, and the 2007 Winter Conference on Bran Research held in Colorado.
His many awards include the Bernardo Houssay Prize in Medical Sciences in 2003.
Dr. Murer is a member of the Argentine Physiological Society, the International Brain Research Organization, the International Basal Ganglia Society, and the Society for Neuroscience of the U.S.A.
During his Guggenheim Fellowship term he plans to study the shaping of prefrontal cortex-nucleus accumbens internal activity states by experience.