Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences
Full Time Faculty
Carlos A. Blanco-Centurion, P.h.D.
Brain Research and Intergrative Neuropsychopharmacology
Dr. Balnco-Centurion completed his postgraduate studies in Physiology and Neurosciences at the National Autonomous University of Mexico and postdoctoral studies at Harvard University. The main focus of hisresearch has been the neural network that modulates the sleep and wake states. His entire research experience has focused on using laboratory rodents as good models for understanding the normal and pathological aspects of sleep neurophysiology. Using selective and multiple lesions, he has discovered how sleep is modulated by a broad network of neurons. Also, he has studied the adenosinergic modulation of sleep in connection to either cholinergic basal forebrain neurons or the endocannabinoid system. In addition, he studied the critical role of exercise restoring healthy sleep-wake patterns in aging. Over the past few years, his focus has shifted to the field of gene therapy and optogenetics although it still tightly linked to sleep research. In particular, he has studied how transfecting the Orexin gene into neurons is feasible to treat the cardinal symptoms of narcolepsy. Secondly and using optogenetics, he is looking at the role of Melanin-Concentrating Hormone (MCH) neurons as a novel and important modulators of sleep. He is also collaborating with basic researchers interested on the neuropathophysiology of alcoholism. Since alcohol dependence often leads to disorders of sleep and vice versa, he has started working with them as to first understand this pathological interaction and also to develop new strategies to correct sleep disturbances associated with alcohol dependence. He is currently investigating whether MCH would treat the sleep disorders observed in an animal model of alcohol dependence.
Clinical and/or Research Expertise
Sleep, Narcolepsy, Orexin, MCH, Gene Therapy, Optogenetics, Alcoholism, Basic Research.