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Miquel Vila Bover

I am an ICREA Professor and I lead the Research Group on Neurodegenerative Diseases at the Vall d'Hebron Research Institute (VHIR)

Institutions of which they are part

Head of group
Neurodegenerative Diseases
Vall Hebron Institut de Recerca
Miquel Vila Bover

Miquel Vila Bover

Miquel Vila Bover

Institutions of which they are part

Head of group
Neurodegenerative Diseases
Vall Hebron Institut de Recerca

I am an ICREA Professor and I lead the Research Group on Neurodegenerative Diseases at the Vall d'Hebron Research Institute (VHIR)

I have a degree in Medicine and Surgery from the University of Barcelona (1993) and a PhD in Neuroscience from the University of Paris 6 (1998). My doctoral work carried out in the laboratory of experimental neurology at the Salpetriere Hospital in Paris (1993-98) contributed to establishing the subthalamic nucleus as the main therapeutic target for the surgical treatment of Parkinson's disease with deep brain stimulation. From 1998 to 2005 I worked at the Movement Disorders Unit of Columbia University in New York (USA), initially as a postdoctoral researcher and from 2001 as an Assistant Professor of Neurology, focusing on the study of the mechanisms of neuronal death in Parkinson's disease to identify new therapeutic targets for this currently incurable neurodegenerative disorder.

In 2006 I moved to Barcelona as a Professor at ICREA (Catalan Institute of Research and Advanced Studies) to create and lead a new research group in neurodegenerative diseases at the Vall d'Hebron Research Institute (VHIR). Our group is now part of the Center for Networked Biomedical Research on Neurodegenerative Diseases (CIBERNED) and the Aligning Science Across Parkinson's Collaborative Research Network (ASAP-CRN).

I am also an Associate Professor at the Autonomous University of Barcelona, Principal Investigator at CIBERNED, Coordinating Lead PI at ASAP-CRN and member of the Steering Committees of the World Parkinson Coalition and the Basic Science Special Interest Group of the International Parkinson and Movement Disorder Society.

Research lines

Identification of biomarkers of prodromal Parkinson's disease

Despite intensive efforts towards understanding the aetiology/pathogenesis of Parkinson's disease (PD) and the development of novel therapeutic approaches for this neurodegenerative condition, the current treatment for PD remains symptomatic and yet far from modifying disease onset or progression. Before the manifestation of the classical motor symptoms, PD patients present with non-motor symptoms in a prodromal phase. The identification of deregulated molecular pathways or genes in peripheral blood and/or cerebrospinal fluid from these prodromal patients may help develop potential biomarkers for the early detection, diagnosis, risk assessment and/or progression of PD, which are currently lacking, as well as to stratify patients at very early stages to apply more specific, personalized disease-modifying treatments.

IP: Miquel Vila Bover, Ariadna Laguna Tuset

Regeneration of dopaminergic neurons in Parkinson's disease via cell fusion-mediated reprogramming

Co-PI: Pia Cosma, CRG.


Given the current lack of disease-modifying therapies for Parkinson’s disease (PD), we are exploring whether cell-fusion-mediated regeneration of dopaminergic neurons can be achieved, for therapeutic purposes, in experimental animal models of PD after transplantation of Wnt-activated haematopoietic stem and progenitor cells (HSPCs).

IP: Miquel Vila Bover

Pathogenic role of autophagic/lysosomal dysfunction in Parkinson's disease

Autophagy is the degradation of intracellular components inside the lysosomes and it is essential for the maintenance of cellular homeostasis and neuronal viability. Alterations in the autophagy process have been associated with neurodegenerative diseases including Parkinson’s, Huntington’s and Alzheimer’s disease and has been shown to be one of the main causes that contribute to neuronal death in these pathologies.


Our efforts are currently directed to:

- Development of new therapies for Parkinson’s disease based in the restoration of lysosomal glucocerebrosidase (GBA) activity.

- Development of new autophagy pharmacological modulators (mTOR-independent) as a therapeutic strategy in neurodegenerative diseases.

IP: Marta Martínez Vicente, Miquel Vila Bover

Role of mitochondria in Parkinson's disease

Mitochondria are highly dynamic organelles with complex structural features that play several important cellular functions, such as the production of energy by oxidative phosphorylation, the regulation of calcium homeostasis, or the control of programmed cell death. Given its essential role in neuronal viability, alterations in mitochondrial biology can lead to neuron dysfunction and cell death. Defects in mitochondrial respiration have long been implicated in the etiology and pathogenesis of Parkinson's disease (PD). However, the role of mitochondria in PD extends well beyond defective respiration and also involves perturbations in mitochondrial dynamics, leading to alterations in mitochondrial morphology, intracellular trafficking, or quality control. Whether a primary or secondary event, mitochondrial dysfunction holds promise as a potential therapeutic target to halt the progression of dopaminergic neurodegeneration in PD.

IP: Miquel Vila Bover

Projects

Red de Investigación MitoNED: (Dis)función mitocondrial en enfermedades neurodegenerativas

IP: Miquel Vila Bover
Collaborators: -
Funding agency: Ministerio de Ciencia e Innovación-MICINN
Funding: 0.01
Reference: RED2022-134786-T
Duration: 01/06/2023 - 31/05/2025

Ministerio de Ciencia

Malalties neurodegeneratives

IP: Miquel Vila Bover
Collaborators: Jorge Hernández Vara, Joan Compte Barrón, Marta Martínez Vicente, Jordi Bove Badell, Eddie Pradas Gracia, Maria Camprodon Gomez, Camille Guillard Sirieix, Marina Lorente Picón, Laura Castillo Ribelles, Oriol de Fabregues-Boixar Nebot, Javier Hoyo Pérez, Ariadna Laguna Tuset, Thais Cuadros Arasa, Jordi Riera Heredia, David Ramos Vicente, Marta Montpeyó Garcia-Moreno, Helena Xicoy Cortada, Alba Nicolau Vera, Marta González Sepúlveda, Joana Margalida Cladera Sastre, Annabelle Parent, Daniela Samaniego Toro, Daniela Samaniego Toro
Funding agency: Agència Gestió Ajuts Universitaris i de Recerca
Funding: 40000
Reference: 2021 SGR 00784
Duration: 01/01/2022 - 30/06/2025

MECANISMOS MOLECULARES DE NEURODEGENERACION LIGADA A LA NEUROMELANINA EN LA ENFERMEDAD DE PARKINSON Y ENVEJECIMIENTO CEREBRAL

IP: Miquel Vila Bover
Collaborators: Gerard Roch Alba, Miriam Izquierdo Sans
Funding agency: Ministerio de Ciencia e Innovación-MICINN
Funding: 99260
Reference: PRE2021-098300
Duration: 01/07/2022 - 30/06/2026

Ministerio de Ciencia

Activity and connectivity drive neuronal vulnerability and disease progression in Parkinson's disease

IP: Miquel Vila Bover
Collaborators: Joan Compte Barrón, Javier Hoyo Pérez, Gerard Roch Alba, Marta González Sepúlveda, Ariadna Laguna Tuset, Joana Margalida Cladera Sastre
Funding agency: Michael J. Fox Foundation
Funding: 1269495.05
Reference: ASAP_MJFF2021
Duration: 01/11/2021 - 31/10/2024

Related news

Vall d'Hebron has participated in a phase III clinical trial which confirmed the efficacy and safety of subcutaneous infusion of levodopa therapy.

This initiative is part of a pioneering study that seeks to assess how the relationship between different age groups can influence the quality of life and mental health of patients.

Dr. Miquel Vila, head of the Neurodegenerative Diseases research group at VHIR, is the co-chair of the local organising committee. And Dr. Ariadna Laguna, principal investigator of the same group, is a scientific ambassador.

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