Dr. Javier Blesa was graduated in Biochemistry and Biology from the University of Navarra, Spain, in 2003. He obtained a PhD in Neurosciences from the Center for Applied Medical Research (CIMA) at the same university (2010) under the expert guidance of Dr. Jose Obeso and Dr. Maria Rodriguez-Oroz. His Doctoral Thesis focused on the study of compensatory mechanisms in Parkinson’s Disease (PD). Dr. Blesa carried out experiments to define the functional states at the basal ganglia level that characterize each stage of the disease, paying special attention to the pre-symptomatic changes compensating for dopamine depletion that keep this disease undetectable for so many years. During his PhD, he joined the laboratory of Dr. Thomas Wichmann (Yerkes National Primate Research Center at Emory University, Atlanta) for a short stay at the beginning of the year 2008 and Dr. Carmen Cavada (UAM, Madrid) and Dr. Oleh Hornykiewicz (Univ. Vienna) labs in 2009 as well. After obtaining his PhD, he moved to New York to Columbia University (2011) under Dr. Serge Przedborski guidance and continued studying the processes implicated in the origin and evolution of PD. In the last years he has focused in the search of specific vulnerability factors of the substantia nigra pars compacta and start new strategies to slow or stop the progression of the disease.


Relevant publications:

  • Blesa J and Przedborski S. Parkinson’s Disease: Animal models and dopaminergic cell vulnerability. Neuroanat. 2014; 8:155.
  • Recasens A, Dehay B, Bové J, Carballo-Carbajal I, Dovero S, Pérez A, Fernagut PO, Blesa J, Parent A, Perier C, Fariñas I, Obeso JA, Bezard E, Vila M. Lewy Body-enriched Nigral Fractions from Patients with Parkinson’s Disease Initiate α-Synuclein-dependent Neurodegeneration in Mice and Monkeys. Ann Neurol. 2014 Mar;75(3):351-62.
  • Gonzalez-Reyes LE, Verbitsky M, Blesa J, Jackson-Lewis V, Paredes D, Tillack K, Phani S, Kramer ER, Przedborski S, Kottmann AH. Sonic Hedgehog Maintains Cellular and Neurochemical Homeostasis in the Adult Nigrostriatal Circuit. Neuron. 2012 Jul 26;75(2):306-19.
  • Blesa J, Pifl C, Sánchez-González M.A, Juri C, García-Cabezas M.A., Adánez R, Iglesias E, Collantes M, Peñuelas I, Sánchez-Hernández J.J, Rodríguez-Oroz M.C, Avendaño C, Hornykiewicz O, Cavada C, Obeso J.A. The nigrostriatal system in the presymptomatic and symptomatic stages in the MPTP monkey model: a PET, histological and biochemical study. Neurobiol Dis. 2012 Oct;48(1):79-91.
  • Blesa J, Juri C, Collantes M, Peñuelas I, Prieto E, Iglesias E, Martí-Climent J, Arbizu J, Zubieta JL, Rodríguez-Oroz MC, García-García D, Richter JA, Cavada C, Obeso JA. Progression of dopaminergic depletion in a model of MPTP-induced Parkinsonism in non-human primates. An (18)F-DOPA and (11)C-DTBZ PET study. Neurobiol Dis. 2010 Jun;38(3):456-63.