Arturo Alvarez-Buylla is the Heather and Melanie Muss Endowed Chair in the Department of Neurological Surgery and Professor of the Institute for...
Arturo Alvarez-Buylla is the Heather and Melanie Muss Endowed Chair in the Department of Neurological Surgery and Professor of the Institute for Regeneration Medicine, University of California, San Francisco (UCSF). He received his undergraduate degree from National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM). In 1988 he obtained his PhD from Rockefeller University and after a brief postdoctoral fellowship, becomes Assistant Professor and then Associate Processor-Head of Laboratory at this same Institution. Since 2000, he is at UCSF. His early PhD and postdoctoral work in the laboratory of Dr. Fernando Nottebohm demonstrated the migration of young neurons in adult song birds; showed that long projection neurons continue to form in the high vocal center of adult songbirds, and that radial glial cells in adult birds not only serve as guides for neuronal migration, but are also the precursors of the new neurons.
He and colleagues then identifies in the adult mammalian brain subventricular zone (SVZ) a large population of neuronal precursors; demonstrates long range migration of young neurons from the SVZ to the olfactory bulb; Identified the mechanism of cell translocation as chain migration and uncovered an extensive network of pathways for chain migration in the adult mammalian brain. In a surprising observation, his group has recently shown that the polarization of ependymal cells helps guide neuronal migration in the adult brain. The Alvarez-Buylla laboratory identified the neural stem cells in the adult mammalian brain SVZ and hippocampus. Unexpectedly, these cells correspond to a subpopulation of astrocytes. His laboratory shows that these cells in the SVZ give rise to transit amplifying cells (Type C cells) that generate both neurons and oligodendrocytes during postnatal life. His laboratory revealed the developmental lineage of neural stem cells and identified a subpopulation of astrocytes in the adult human SVZ that can function as neural stem cells in vitro. Work by this group has shown that adult neural stem cells upon stimulation with growth factors (PDGF) give rise to glioma-like masses next to the SVZ. Most recently, the Alvarez-Buylla laboratory discovers that adult neural stem cells are heterogeneous and that different types of neurons in the olfactory bulb are derived from specific locations in the SVZ. The Alvarez-Buylla laboratory has also contributed to our understanding of the origin of cortical interneurons and has shown that cells derived from blood fuse with Purkinje neurons and other cells in the brain, heart and liver.
Work in Dr. Alvarez-Buylla’s laboratory is helping understand the origin of new neurons in adult brain and how these new neurons can be recruited into adult brain circuits. The work also suggests possible culprits in brain cancer initiation.