The scientific interest of Dr. Juan Larrain is focused on the study of the genetic and cellular mechanisms implicated in the development and regeneration of the nervous system. The of Developmental and Regenerative Biology has discovered one gene that is responsible for regulating the process of neural tube closure, one of the main congenital malformations during pregnancy and the cause of spina bifida, a disability that affects 1-2 of every 1000 births. The regeneration of the spinal chord in response to severe damage is another area of important research in this laboratory. From studies in the African frog, Xenopus laevis, they have discovered some of the genes responsible for the regenerative capacity present in frog tadpoles. At the anatomical, histological, and functional levels, tadpoles completely regenerate their spinal chords in a period of 20 days. The genetic and cellular responses that reestablish regeneration are excellent candidates to understand this process.

Investigator in charge: Juan Larraín