Head of the group
Francisco Ciruela graduated in Biology at the Universitat de Barcelona. He performed his Ph.D. at the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Faculty of Chemistry, Universitat de Barcelona under the supervision of Prof. E.I. Canela and Dra. J. Mallol (1995). Throughout this period he focused on the study of the mechanisms by which adenosine regulates cell functioning through adenosine receptors. During this period he visited the laboratory of Dr. B. Fredholm at the Karolinska Instituted to learn about the adenosine receptor-associated signalling patways. Interestingly, he described the existence of adenosine A1 receptor homodimers, a pioneering piece of work that contributed to the discovery of GPCR oligomerization. He completed a post-doctoral stage first at the MRC Anatomical Neuropharmacology Unit, University of Oxford (1996-1999) with an EMBO Long Term Fellowship, and then at the Department of Pharmacology, University of Oxford (1999-2000) as a Reader in Pharmacology. In early 2000 he enrolled back to the Universitat de Barcelona as a Ramón y Cajal researcher. During this period he focused on the study of GPCRs oligomerization and developed several fluorescence-based methods for the analysis of receptor oligomerization. Thus, he visited Dr. J.P. Vilardaga at the Harvard Medical School to implement the use of FRET approaches to uncover GPCR biology. In December 2007 he joined the Department of Pathology and Experimental Therapeutics at the Universitat de Barcelona as an Associate Professor of Pharmacology; there he established the Neuropharmacology and Pain Research Group. Currently, his research work focuses on pathological conditions of GPCR oligomerization in the central nervous system. He received the “ICREA Acadèmia” award from the Catalan Institution for Research and Advanced Studies, a foundation supported by the Catalan Government.