I did my PhD on chemical neuroanatomy of the visual pathway. Later on, I continued my training as postdoc at the Brain Research Institute in Zurich (1983-1986) on the use of tracers to reveal anatomical pathways, and the development of monoclonal antibodies to glutamate and GABA and its use in immunohistochemistry at the light and electron microscopic level. Then, I did a second postdoc (1986-1988) at the University of California, Irvine, studying glutamate receptors and their biochemistry and function. We then observed that gliomas and glial cells express these receptors. After returning to Spain in 1988, I founded the Laboratory of Neurobiology at the University of País Vasco and followed up those initial studies by developing a new research line investigating the characterizing the neurotransmitter receptors present in glia (astrocytes, oligodendrocytes and microglia) as well as their functional and pathological relevance. Among other findings, we discovered that oligodendrocytes and myelin are highly vulnerable to glutamate and purinergic agonists, a feature which is relevant to multiple sclerosis and brain ischemia.
Currently I am Full Professor of Anatomy and Embriology. Member of the Academia Europaea since 2012, I have also been the Scientific Director of the Achucarro Basque Center for Neuroscience from 2012 to 2020.