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Adult neural stem cells (NSC) are scarce in humans, but other vertebrates contain several populations of continuously proliferating cells in their brain, which could be used as models to study post-embryonic neurogenesis. Indeed, neurogenesis has been extensively studied in the adults of several teleost fish species and previous research has described multiple neurogenic proliferating cell populations in the anterior central nervous system. An interesting cell population can be found in the optic tectum (OT), since previous BrdU and [3H] thymidine incorporation experiments both in zebrafish (Danio rerio) and medaka (Oryzias latipes) have shown the presence of proliferating cells in the OT. Studies on brain lipids have demonstrated that many lipids, the so-called "bioactive lipids", have critical cell signalling functions. Different studies have shown that lipids act also through a new mechanism, which invokes lipid second messengers as regulators for the energy and redox balance of differentiating NSC. They are also critical for cell fate decisions during stem cell differentiation by inducing apoptosis or sustaining cell survival and polarity. Besides, essential fatty acids have a great relevance in brain health. Since cell membranes are responsible for receiving information and anticipating a response to any factor that perturbs the intracellular organization, changes in their fatty acid composition will directly affect cell function. The aim of this project is to study the effect of LC-PUFA on NSC of OT in vitro and in vivo considering that comparative studies of NSC biology would contribute to the understanding of these cells functioning.
I am a fish nutritionist working as Aquaculture Scientist at Aker BioMarine (Oslo, Norway) with a broad background in lipid metabolism and fish physiology. In 2011 obtained my Ph.D. in the Aquaculture Research Group (Canary Islands, Spain) under the supervision of Dr. Marisol Izquierdo (University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Spain) and Dr. Reiji Masuda (Kyoto University, Japan). The objective of my thesis was to study the effect of polyunsaturated fatty acids on fish neural activity and their implications on behaviour. In 2013 I had the great opportunity to start working as AgreenSkills Postdoct in the Neurobiology and Development Research Unit at CNRS and INRA in Paris (France). In this project I used an innovative hypothesis-driven multidisciplinary approach that aims to explore the links between lipids/fatty acids, neural stem cells and their regenerative capacities, and behaviour. In 2015, I moved to Utah (USA) to work as Postdoctoral Research Assistant at the School of Medicine at the University of Utah. I worked on the role of Liver X Receptors in intestinal lipid handling and it included the designing and performing experiments to assess the effects of dietary manipulations on the various knock-out and transgenic lines relating to the topic in the development of metabolic derangements and atherosclerosis in zebrafish. Since September 2017, I joined Aker BioMarine where I am in charge of all the fish and chicken studies.
Benitez-Santana, T., Hugo, S.E., Schlegel, A, 2017. Role of the intestinal LXR in regulating post-prandial lipid excursion and diet induced hypercolesterolemia and hepatic lipid accumulation. Frontier Physiol. Doi: 10.3389/fphys.2017.00280.
Benitez-Santana, T., Simion, M., Corraze, G., Medale, F. & Joly, JS. 2017. Effect of nutrient availability on neural stem cells in zebrafish (Danio rerio) adults. Developmental Neurobiology. Doi: 10.1002/dneu.22406.
Benitez-Santana, T., Atalah, E., Betancor, Mb., Caballero, M.J., Hernandez-Cruz, C.M. & Izquierdo MS. 2014. DHA not EPA, enhances sound induced escape behaviour and Mauthner cell activity in Sparus aurata. Physiology and Behavior, 124, 65-71.
Benitez-Santana, T., Saleh, R., Betancor, Mb., Mesa, A., Hernandez-Cruz, C.M. & Izquierdo, MS., 2013. Effects of combined phospholipids and selenium dietary contents on patterns of bone formation in the axial skeleton of Sparus aurata. Agricultural and applied biological sciences, 78(4):29-32.
Benitez-Santana, T., Juarez-Carrillo, E., Betancor, Mb., Torrecillas, S., Caballero, M.J. & Izquierdo, MS., 2012. Increased Mauthner cell activity and escaping behaviour in seabream fed polyunsaturated fatty acids. British Journal of Nutrition, 107, 295-301.
Best oral presentation in the Annual International Symposium: The Physiology of Fish Behaviour. July 2012, 9-13. Norwich. UK.