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Sara Arganda


I studied Biolo gy at the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid (UAM) from 1998 to 2003. The last two years I specialized in Molecular Biology.

During my fourth year at University (2001/02), I learnt general genetic techniques in the lab of Dr. Juan José Gonzalez Aguilera (Biology Department, Genetics section, UAM) in the study of Colorectal Cancer. I enjoyed and learnt a lot during my stay in this lab, although I was always more interested in Neuroscience.

I first met Dr. Gonzalo G. Polavieja in 2002, to make a Last Year Student Collaboration in his lab. This collaboration was my first contact with experiments in a real nervous system and with electrophysiology, and I liked it.  In summer 2003 I spent six weeks in the lab of Dr. Mikko Juusola (Physiology Department, University of Cambridge) learning electrophysiological techniques applied to Drosophila and Calliphora visual system.

In October 2003, I started my PhD under the supervision of Gonzalo and since then I have being studing different neuronal circuits in the leech Hirudo medicinalis: Visual, mechanosensorial, motor and related to learning. From November 2005 to January 2006 I was in Dr. Chrstie Sahley's lab working on learning and regeneration in the leech.

In June 9th, 2009, I defended my Thesis, tittled "Flexibility of neuronal codes: Adaptation to stimulus statistics in a mechanosensorial neuron firing in bursts" and I obteined my PhD in Neurosciences at the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid. If your are interested (or you just feel curious), you can download my Thesis presentation (Part1, Part2, Part3, Part4 and Part5) as well as my Thesis manuscript (pdf). The presentation has been compressed and split with winRAR. You can get a free evaluation version here.

One year later of my Thesis defense, I have been awarded the "Premio Extraordinario de Doctorado" (Excellence PhD Award) by the Faculty of Medicine of the UAM.

Since June 2009, I am collaborating with Gonzalo G. Polavieja and Alfonso Escudero in a new project at the Instituto Cajal (CSIC). We are interested in understanding the mechanisms underlaying decision making. In order to do that, we are starting to study the behavior of zebrafish Danio rerio.

What am I trying to understand here?

  • Sensorial Coding
  • Single neuron adaptation to environment
  • Computational operations in neuronal circuits
  • Neuronal circuits of decision making
  • Animal behavior


Urazaev AK, Arganda S, Muller KJ, Sahley CL. Lasting changes in a network of interneurons after synapse regeneration and delayed recovery of sensitization. Neuroscience. 2007 Oct 5; 150(4):915-25. pdf

Arganda S, Guantes R, de Polavieja GG. Sodium pumps adapt spike bursting to stimulus statistics. Nat Neurosci. 2007 Sep 30; 10(11):1467-73. pdf


Muñiz C, Arganda S, Rodríguez FB, de Polavieja GG, Varona P. Realistic Stimulation Through Advanced Dynamic Clamp Protocols. Lect. Notes Comput Sc. 2005 Jun 9; 3561: 95-105. pdf


Here you can download my CV.


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