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Ernesto Griego, PhD

2024 Leon Levy Scholar in Neuroscience

Albert Einstein College of Medicine

Sub-disciplinary Category

Cellular & Molecular Neuroscience

Previous Positions

  • Bachelor’s Degree, Benemérita Universidad Autónoma de Puebla
  • MSc, Cinvestav
  • PhD, Cinvestav (Advisor: Dr. Emilo J. Galván), in collaboration with University of Valparaíso (Advisor: Dr. Marco Fuenzalida)


Dr. Ernesto Griego studied at the Autonomous University of Puebla in Mexico and obtained his BSc in Biological Chemistry. His quest to understand the fundamentals of neuronal communication motivated him to pursue graduate studies at the Center for Research and Advanced Studies in Mexico City. Ernesto obtained his PhD in Neuropharmacology under the mentorship of Dr. Emilio Galvan. His thesis work and multiple collaborations allowed him to investigate alterations in neuronal excitability and synaptic plasticity in neurodevelopmental disorders. During his time as a PhD student, Ernesto completed an academic stay at the University of Valparaiso in the Lab of Dr. Marco Fuenzalida with the support of an IBRO grant. As a Postdoctoral Fellow in the laboratory of Dr. Pablo Castillo at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Ernesto aims to elucidate how experience and disease modify inhibitory circuits in the dentate gyrus, a brain structure crucial for learning and memory.

Research Summary

Mechanisms by which experience and brain disease modify inhibitory circuits in the dentate gyrus, a region of the brain that contributes to memory and learning.

Technical Overview

Inhibitory interneurons (INs), neurons that slow down or inhibit other neurons, play a critical role in shaping the activity of brain circuits. However, how the dynamic properties of inhibitory synapses are affected by experience and disease is poorly understood. The dentate gyrus (DG) plays a crucial role in learning and memory by transforming signals from other regions in the brain into new signals, transmitting them to a region called CA3 in the hippocampus. Inhibitory neurons help ensure these signals are processed correctly. More importantly, alterations in inhibitory circuits have been associated with DG-related disorders such as epilepsy and anxiety. Therefore, understanding how experience and disease modify synaptic inhibition in the DG is crucial. Dr. Ernesto Griego will tackle this exciting question by using mice as a model system and combining complementary approaches, including optogenetic manipulation of specific IN types, conditional knockout (cKO), electrophysiology, confocal and two-photon microscopy, and behavioral analysis. The proposed research may generate novel mechanistic insights into inhibitory synaptic plasticity in a brain region involved in learning and memory. Such knowledge may contribute to a better understanding of neuropsychiatric disorders associated with DG dysfunction, such as epilepsy and anxiety.