Gemma Guillazo Blanch

Gemma Guillazo Blanch


Gemma Guillazo Blanch

Academic Staff

+34 935 811 173



Department of Psychobiology and Methodology of Health Science
Institut de Neurociències
Faculty  of Psychology (room B5-047)
Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (UAB)
Bellaterra Campus 08193-Cerdanyola del Vallés


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Gemma Guillazo-Blanch is a Tenured Lecturer of the Department of Psychobiology and Methodology at the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (UAB). She finished her Psychology Degree in 1990 and defended her PhD thesis, supervised by Drs. Ignacio Morgado and Margarita Martí, in 1993 at the UAB.  In addition to her work at the UAB, she has also conducted behavioral studies and research at the University of Sevilla (1998), the University of California in San Francisco (2001-2002; 2005-2006) and at the Institute of Biomedical Research of Barcelona (2000-2001). Gemma is also the principal investigator of a research group that has as its main objective, the evaluation of different treatments which could fundamentally enhance attention and memory processes in animal models of cognitive impairment.  In addition, she has been involved in several outreach projects to disseminate public knowledge of Neuroscience.

Dr. Gemma Guillazo is leading her own laboratory within the Memory Potentiation and Recovery in Normal and Brain damaged Rats research group:
Laboratory members:
Gemma Guillazo Blanch (PI)
Margarita Martí-Nicolovius
Marta Portero Tresserra
Divka Rojic  Becker
Anna Vale Martínez
Joan Visa Bombardo
One of the most important problems facing the present society is the progressive aging of the population and the increase of the economic expense that supposes the maintenance of their health and well-being. It has been suggested that brain alterations observed during aging, including increased oxidative stress and neuroinflammation, alterations in intracellular signaling and gene expression, reduced neurogenesis, and/or dysregulation of the glutamatergic mechanisms involved in synaptic plasticity, are associated with the cognitive dysfunction that manifests itself naturally as we age. A clear understanding of the biology of aging could be the turning point critical to the development of novel approaches to strategies that promote healthy human aging.

In this context, we investigate in aged rats the effects of intracerebral administration of compounds modulating NMDA glutamatergic receptor activity, such as D-cycloserine, on working memory, relational memory and cognitive flexibility paradigms. In addition, we also address the study of the influence of environmental factors, such as the caloric restriction diet (CR) on these paradigms. CR, defined as a reduction in calorie intake without malnutrition and with a normal supply of vitamins, minerals and essential biomolecules, has been one of the procedures that has generated a growing interest in recent years as a method to improve health during the aging. It has been proposed that this type of diet may be suitable for therapeutic interventions aimed at improving cognition, given its possible influence on certain epigenetic brain mechanisms. For example, with age, modifications are observed in histones, which have been linked to synaptic plasticity deficits associated with aging. It is for this reason that in our group we also evaluate the effect of the systemic administration of compounds with capacity to induce changes in the acetylation and methylation of such proteins. Altogheter may be useful for the development of behavioral and pharmacological therapies that guarantee reaching advanced ages with the highest possible quality of life.

  • To study the effects of invasive treatments, such as the administration of glutamatergic modulating compounds and inhibitory agents of deacetylation of histones; and noninvasive treatments, such as caloric restriction, on cognitive functions in aged rats.
  • To analyze the neurophysiological mechanisms a) underlying natural aging and b) associated to the prevention and/or the reversal of cognitive deficits associated with the natural process of aging.
The research questions stated above are investigated through c-fos expression assays, deep brain electrical stimulation, neurochemical lesions, intracerebral infusions, receptor autoradiography and in situ hybridization. The behavioral tasks are, among others, the social transmission of food preference, odor-reward discrimination, Morris water maze, visual attention and working memory tests in the skinner-box.
  • Laboratorio de Psicobiología, UNED, Madrid ( Dr. Ambrosio, Dr. Miguéns)
  • División de Neurociencias, Universidad Pablo de Olavide (UPO), Sevilla (Dr. Delgado-García, Dra. Gruart)
  • IDIBAPS (Barcelona) (Dra. Sánchez-Vives)


  • Portero-Tresserra M, Martí-Nicolovius M, Tarrés-Gatius M, Candalija A, Guillazo-Blanch G, Vale-Martínez A. Intra-hippocampal D-cycloserine rescues decreased social memory, spatial learning reversal, and synaptophysin levels in aged rats. Psychopharmacology (Berl). 2018 May;235(5):1463-1477. 
  • Fernández-Cabrera MR, Selvas A, Miguéns M, Higuera-Matas A, Vale-Martínez A, Ambrosio E, Martí-Nicolovius M, Guillazo-Blanch G. Parafascicular thalamic nucleus deep brain stimulation decreases NMDA receptor GluN1 subunit gene expression in the prefrontal cortex. Neuroscience. 2017 Apr 21;348:73-82. 
  •  Portero-Tresserra M, Del Olmo N, Martí-Nicolovius M, Guillazo-Blanch G,Vale-Martínez A. D-cycloserine prevents relational memory deficits and suppression of long-term potentiation induced by scopolamine in the hippocampus.  Eur Neuropsychopharmacol. 2014 Nov;24(11):1798-807. 
  • Portero-Tresserra M, Cristóbal-Narváez P, Martí-Nicolovius M, Guillazo-Blanch  G, Vale-Martínez A. D-cycloserine in prelimbic cortex reverses scopolamine-induced deficits in olfactory memory in rats. PLoS One. 2013 Aug 2;8(8):e70584.
  • Yefimenko N, Portero-Tresserra M, Martí-Nicolovius M, Guillazo-Blanch G, Vale-Martínez A. The AMPA receptor modulator S18986 in the prelimbic cortex enhances acquisition and retention of an odor-reward association. Neurosci Lett.  2013 Aug 26;548:105-9. 
  • Portero-Tresserra M, Martí-Nicolovius M, Guillazo-Blanch G, Boadas-Vaello P, Vale-Martínez A. D-cycloserine in the basolateral amygdala prevents extinction and enhances reconsolidation of odor-reward associative learning in rats. Neurobiol Learn Mem. 2013 Feb;100:1-11. 
  • Villarejo-Rodríguez I, Boadas-Vaello P, Portero-Tresserra M, Vale-Martínez A,  Martí-Nicolovius M, Guillazo-Blanch G. Learning deficits in an odor reward-task induced by parafascicular thalamic lesions are ameliorated by pretraining D-cycloserine in the prelimbic cortex. Behav Brain Res. 2013 Feb 1;238:289-92.
  • Carballo-Márquez A, Boadas-Vaello P, Villarejo-Rodríguez I, Guillazo-Blanch G, Martí-Nicolovius M, Vale-Martínez A. Effects of muscarinic receptor antagonism in the basolateral amygdala on two-way active avoidance. Exp Brain Res. 2011
  • Villarejo-Rodríguez I, Vale-Martínez A, Guillazo-Blanch G, Martí-Nicolovius M. D-cycloserine in prelimbic cortex enhances relearning of an odor-reward associative task. Behav Brain Res. 2010 Nov 12;213(1):113
  • Carballo-Márquez A, Vale-Martínez A, Guillazo-Blanch G, Martí-Nicolovius M. Muscarinic receptor blockade in ventral hippocampus and prelimbic cortex impairs memory for socially transmitted food preference. Hippocampus. 2009 May;19(5):446-55
Institut de Neurociències
Tel: 93 581 3861 / Fax: +34 93 581 3327

Facultat de Medicina. Edifici M-1
Avinguda de Can Domènech - Campus de la UAB · 08193
Bellaterra (Cerdanyola del Vallès) · Barcelona