Atrás Muñoz Lopez, Francisco Jose


Departamento de Medicina y Ciencias de la Vida
Fisiología Molecular y Canalopatías

Personal profile in our Scientific Output Portal (PPC) 

Biography note

Francisco J. Muñoz was born in Talavera de la Reina, the universe's navel, in 1964. He obtained his Bachelor Degree in Biological Sciences at the Complutense University of Madrid in 1990. His doctoral thesis focused on the study of comparative immunology in vertebrates (Complutense University of Madrid, 1995), beginning during that time to research in the pathophysiology of aging and its relationship with oxidative stress. During his first Postdoctoral Fellowship, Dr. Muñoz studied the mechanisms involved in the acceleration of vascular aging (Hospital de la Princesa, Autonomous University of Madrid). He started to investigate in the ethiopathogeny of Alzheimer's disease during his second Postdoctoral Fellowship (Pontifical Catholic University of Chile, 1997-99). Since January 2000 he worked at Universitat Pompeu Fabra (Barcelona), teaching Physiology for the degrees of Human Biology, Medicine and Biomedical Engineering. He also teaches Neurosciences as an optional subject for 3rd year students and Molecular Pathology for Master students. His group has studied the role of nitro-oxidative stress in the pathophysiology of Alzheimer's disease, publishing more than 60 articles and reviews in international journals. Along these years he has performed four research stays abroad as Visiting Professor at the University of Northern Texas (Fort Worth, USA, 2002), P.C. University of Chile (Santiago, Chile, 2003 and 2008) and Hokkaido University (Sapporo, Japan, 2007). Currently he is a tenured Assistant Professor of Physiology and with his group continues to push the frontiers of knowledge.

Academic degree:

  • 1990: Bachelor Degree in Biological Sciences, Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Spain.
  • 1992: Master in Biological Sciences, Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Spain.
  • 1995: Doctor in Biological Sciences (PhD). Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Spain.

Research experience:

  • 1990-1995: Ph.D. student. Department of Physiology. Faculty of Biological Sciences. Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Spain.
  • 1995-1996: Postdoctoral Fellow, Hospital de la Princesa, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, Spain.
  • 1997-1999: Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Neurobiology, Pontificia Universidad Catolica de Chile, Chile.
  • 2000-present:Lecturer in Physiology, Department of Experimental and Health Sciences, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.


Research lines:

  • Alzheimer’s disease, amyloid neurotoxicity, APP processing, glutamatergic activity, nitric oxide and oxidative stress.

  • Aging Brain and Neurodegeneration

The group led by Dr. F.J. Muñoz studies the physiological and pathophysiological regulation of amyloid precursor protein (APP) cleavage by nitric oxide and oxidative stress mainly in glutamatergic hippocampal neurons. They have demonstrated that amyloid toxicity is directly dependent of nitro-oxidative stress in vascular and neuronal cells, establishing a link between extracellular amyloid deposits and intracellular neurofibrillary tangles due to the nitrotyrosination of the triose phosphate isomerase. They also found that oxidative stress triggers in both neurons and vascular brain myocytes the transcription and translation of BACE1 (the key enzyme in Aß production) by JNK and p38 MAPK pathways. They have shown that cellular stress increases BACE1 expression by the activation of PKR kinase. Furthermore they points to a physiological role of BACE1 in the initiation and maintenance of LTP in the hippocampus mediated by the action of the kinase HRI.