Dierssen Lab

Dierssen LabDierssen Lab

Systems and Synthetic Biology

Dierssen Lab
Cellular & Systems Neurobiology
Group leader

Dierssen Lab

Cellular & Systems Neurobiology
Group leader

1989 Ph.D. Department of Physiology and Pharmacology, Universidad de Cantabria (Spain).
1989-1990 Research fellow, Freie Universität Berlin
1990-1993 Postdoctoral work at the Universidad Autònoma de Barcelona (Spain).
1993-1997 Assistant Professor at the Universidad de Cantabria (Spain).
1997-2001 Research position. Medical and Molecular Genetics Center-Institut de Recerca Oncológica (IRO), Barcelona (Spain).
1998-2007 Professor of Psychobiology at the University Ramon Llull
2001-Present Group Leader at the Center for Genomic Regulation, Barcelona (Spain).

Group news

Mara Dierssen, elected fellow of the Royal Academy of Medicine of Catalonia

Connecta Therapeutics starts clinical trials for its Fragile X syndrome drug (June 2023)
A Phase I clinical trial will assess the safety and tolerability of CTH120 in FXS. CTH120 showed very promising results in preclinical studies carried out at Dierssen lab

Antiretroviral drug improves cognition in a mouse model of Down syndrome (28/06/2022)
This study pioneered the discovery of lamivudine as a new therapy for intellectual disability and reveals retrotransposition as an interesting mechanism to pursue in neurodevelopmental disorders

International study finds increased mortality in adults with Down syndrome (22/02/2021)
Findings of the Trisomy 21 Research Society, led by Prof. Mara Dierssen, reiterate the need to prioritise vaccinations for Down syndrome

People with Down syndrome are genetically susceptible to COVID-19 (09/02/2021)
A study by Dierssen's lab reveals the genetic factors involved in the predisposition of people with Down syndrome to SARS-CoV-2 infection

New Down’s syndrome treatment improves cognition through epigenetic changes in the brain (29/09/2020)
CRG researchers describe some of the mechanisms underlying the potential beneficial effects of a new treatment

Dierssen lab discovers a therapy for Down syndrome (Lancet Neurology 07/06/2016)
New research published in Lancet Neurology has found using an inhibitor of DYRK1A , a serine/threonine kinase involved in brain plasticity, improves cognition in subjects with Down syndrome.



The Dierssen lab is centered on understanding the neurobiology of learning and memory and their perturbation in brain disorders. The central question we aim to address is how is memory coded in the brain.

To this aim we use a multi-disciplinary approach to understand how memories are encoded, stored, and retrieved in the brain, using a wide range of experimental techniques including engram tagging techniques, mouse transgenics, electrophysiology, calcium imaging, and behavioral analysis. We are also interested in the structural and functional properties of the neuronal networks underlying cognitive function, and in the molecular landscape sustaining those processes. In recent studies (PROMPT, EraPerMed), we also use multi-omics data (metabolomics, proteomics, transcriptomics, genomics) in an integrated precision medicine approach to major depression. The core objective is to develop a new algorithm for the prediction of treatment response which could be tested and validated in future clinical settings. 


Other Activities

TEDxUPF Tecnocampus Mataro (2023)
Dierssen lab co-organizes the Cajal Conferences 2022

Mara Dierssen elected president of the Spanish Brain Council
A window into the human brain. Mara Dierssen. CCCB
TEDxSantCugat - Mara Dierssen 

Brain Polyphony Concert

TEDxSol - Mara Dierssen 
The Institució CERCA launches a video that walks you through several types of conversation in a mock evaluation panel that hinder objectivity towards candidates 


Funding acknowledgements

Title: Desarrollo de una terapia para el síndrome X frágil
Eligible total cost: 168.330 €
Period: 2020 –2024
Ref.: RTC2019-007230-1, RETOS COLABORACIÓN 2019
Funding agency: Ministerio De Ciencia e Innovación, Agencia Estatal de Investigación

Title: Obtaining antioxidant active ingredients from the carob pod and validation of its therapeutic potential (EURONUTRA)
Eligible total cost: 156.174,70 €
Period: 01/09/2020 to 31/12/2023
Ref.: RTC2019-007329-1, RETOS COLABORACIÓN 2019
Funding agency: Ministerio de Ciencia e Innovación, Agencia Estatal de Investigación

Title: Towards understanding and prediction of treatment resistance in major depression (Coordinator)
Eligible total cost: 399.985,75 €
Period: 01/05/2023 to 31/05/2025
Ref.: 202212-30-31-32
Funding agency: Marato TV3  Foundation

Title: Engramas de memoria en el síndrome de Down: alteraciones celulares y moleculares (PI)
Call: MCIU PE 2017-2020 I+D
Eligible total cost: 266.000 €
Period: 2020 –2023
Ref.: PID2019-110755RB-I00
Funding agency: Ministerio de Ciencia e Innovación, Agencia Estatal de Investigación 

Title: Understanding interneuronopathy in Down syndrome to identify interneuron targeted therapy (INTO-DS)
Eligible total cost: 325.000 €
Period: 2023 to 2025
Ref.: TBC
Funding agency: National Research Agency (Agencia Estatal de Investigación, AEI), from the Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation.

“Psych-STRATA - A Stratified Treatment Algorithm in Psychiatry: A program on stratified pharmacogenomics in severe mental illness” has received funding from the European Union’s HORIZON-HLTH-2021 program under grant agreement No 101057454. 10.748.502.00 €. 2022-2027
Horizon 2020 (H2020-899986) “ICOD Innovative therapeutic approaches for cognitive impairment in Down syndrome” 6.105.089,50  €. 2021-2025,
EraPerMed (SLD044/20/000001) PROMPT “Toward PrecisiOn Medicine for the Prediction of Treatment response in major depressive disorder through stratification of combined clinical and -omics signatures 1.325.555 € 2021-2024
European Commission, Health (GO-DS21-848077) “Gene overdosage and comorbidities in Down Syndrome”, 5.965.967,75 €. 2020–2024
Title: "Ensayo clínico de Fase IIa de una terapia innovadora para pacientes de Síndrome de X Frágil"
Total budget: 271,725 €
Period: 01/05/2023 to 30/04/2026
Ref.: CPP2022-009659
Grant CPP2022-009659 funded by MCIN/AEI/ 10.13039/501100011033 and by “European Union NextGenerationEU/PRTR”.

The Research Project “Stratifying Cognitive Improvements to Reveal the Effect of Allelic Diversity in Trisomy 21” received the financial support of Jerome Lejeune Foundation.
Period: 10/01/2022 to 09/01/2024
Ref.: FJL2021_RCrans_Stratifying Cognitive Improvements to Reveal the Effect of Allelic Diversity in Trisomy 21