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Adriana Galvan



I joined Yoland's lab in the spring of 2000, as a post-doc fellow. I had obtained my PhD in neurosciences a few months before at the Center of Research and Advanced Studies in Mexico City, where I am originally from. I started doing research in neuroscience several years ago, when I was an undergraduate in college. Back then, I worked on behavioral paradigms to explore the reward and reinforcing properties of dopamine and opioids. Afterwards, during my master and doctoral studies, I became interested in the role of the basal ganglia in the modulation of movement.

I became interested in the work done in Yoland's lab because I was puzzled by the very complex circuitry of the basal ganglia. The approach of the lab to try to understand the relations between anatomy and physiology is very appealing to me. The fact that the lab is part of the Yerkes National Primate Research Center provides a unique opportunity to explore these questions in primates.

My research focuses on understanding GABAergic transmission in the basal ganglia, both in normal and pathological conditions, such as parkinsonism.  In the basal ganglia circuitry, GABA is the main inhibitory neurotransmitter. However, the subcellular localization and functions of GABAergic receptors and transporters are still poorly known. The existence evidence indicates the functions of the GABAergic system are altered in pathological conditions, such as Parkinson's disease. For this reason it is important to understand the interactions between these receptors, their uptake mechanisms and the basal ganglia circuitry.  These studies are done with the goal of reaching a deeper understanding of the physiology and pathology of the basal ganglia, which may ultimately help us to improve therapies for movement disorders and other diseases involving these structures.

We employ immunocytochemical techniques, analysis at the EM level, and a combination of in vivo methodologies that include extracellular electrophysiological recordings, electrical stimulation, intracerebral microinjecitions and microdialysis procedures.  All these experiments are result of a collaborative effort between the labs of Yoland Smith and Thomas Wichmann.


An example of the localization of the GABA transporter type 3 (GAT-3) in the external globus pallidus in the basal ganglia. The GAT-3 labeling is found in glia (densely labeled element, arrows and arrowhead), surrounding axon terminals (t) and dendrites (d). The transporters were not found on GABAergic terminals, sugesting that GABA released from synaptic terminals can diffuse to extrasynaptic before being captured by the transporters.


Here are some examples of recent published papers, book chapters and conference abstracts:

Galvan, A., Hu, X, Smith, Y and Wichmann, T (2010). Localization and Function of GABA-B Receptors in the Globus Pallidus of Normal and Parkinsonian Monkeys. X International Basal Ganglia Society

Ma, Y., Hu, X., Jinnah, H.A., Galvan, A., Smith, Y., Wichmann, T. (2010)  Induction of abnormal movements by MPTP treatment in infant rhesus monkeys. Society for Neurosciences.

Galvan, A., Hu, X, Smith, Y and Wichmann, T. (2010) Localization and function of GABA transporters in the globus pallidus of parkinsonian monkeys. Exp Neurol. 223, 505-515. PMID: 20138865

Galvan A. and Smith Y (2010) Basal Ganglia. In “Encyclopedia of Movement Disorders, vol. 1 “  Kompoliti, K. and  Verhagen, L. (eds) pp 113-118 Academic Press

Smith Y, A Galvan, D Raju and T Wichmann (2010) Anatomical and Functional Organization of the Thalamostriatal Systems. In “Handbook of Basal Ganglia Structure and Function” Steiner, H. and Tseng, K. (eds). Academic Press. ISBN : 978-0-12-374767-9

Bogenpohl, J., Galvan, A., Hu, X, Wichmann, T. and Smith. Y. (2010). Electrophysiological and behavioral effects of activation of group III metabotropic glutamate receptors in the striatopallidal complex of parkinsonian monkeys. Federation of European Neuroscience Forum.

Nanda B., Galvan A., Smith Y and Wichmann T (2009) Effects of stimulation of the centromedian nucleus of the thalamus on the activity of striatal cells in awake rhesus monkeys. Eur J Neuroscience 29, 588-598. PMID: 19175404 

Galvan, A. and Wichmann, T. (2008) Pathophysiology of Parkinsonism. Clin Neurophys. 119, 1459-74

Galvan A., Kliem, A. M., Smith, Y. and Wichmann T. (2006) GABAergic and dopaminergic modulation of basal ganglia output in primates. In “The Basal Ganglia VIII” Bolam, P., Ingham, C. and Magill, P. (eds.) pp 575-584. Kuwler Academics Publishers. 

Galvan A. and Wichmann, T. (2007) GABAergic circuits in the Basal Ganglia and Movement Disorders. In “Progress in Brain Research, Vol 160, GABA and the Basal Ganglia: From Molecules to Systems” Tepper, J., Abercrombie, E. and Bolam, J.P. (eds.) pp 287-312 Elsevier. PMID: 17499121

Galvan, A., Villalba, R. M., West, S. M.,  Maidment, N. T., Ackerson, L. C., Smith, Y. and Wichmann, T. (2005)  GABAergic Modulation of the Activity of Globus Pallidus Neurons in Primates: In vivo Analysis of the Functions of GABA Receptors and GABA Transporters J Neurophysiol 94, 990-1000. PMID: 15829599