J. Fernando Garcia-Diaz, Ph.D.

Fernando Garcia-Diaz, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Physiology & Biophysics

Licenciado en Ciencias Fisicas
Universidad de Zaragoza, Spain
MS, Medical Biophysics, Indiana University
Ph.D., Universidad de Malaga, Spain

Phone: (617) 358-8477
Fax: (617) 358-8758
E-mail: fgarcia@bu.edu
Address: see below
Link to BU Faculty Profile
Link to ORCID


Expression and Modulation of Ion Channels

Phase-contrast micrograph of isolated chick cochlear ganglion neurons in culture.

Research in this lab centers on the regulation of ion channel expression during neuronal differentiation and on the modulation of ion channel activity by certain neurotransmitters. We use cell culture techniques, electrophysiology and fluorescence microscopy to analyze the expression pattern and regulation of ion channels in cochlear ganglion (CG) neurons during development. Spiral or cochlear ganglion neurons are responsible for the faithful transmission of sound information from the hair cells in the organ of Corti (the sound transducing elements) to the cochlear nucleus in the brain and, thus, are endowed with a set of fast activating voltage-gated ion channels. We have analyzed the temporal pattern of expression of voltage-gated sodium, calcium and potassium channels in chick embryo CG neurons and found functionally relevant correlations between the development of membrane currents and the innervation pattern of the cochlea (Garcia-Diaz et al., 1998; Garcia-Diaz, 1999). We are also investigating whether certain members of the nerve growth factor family of proteins (neurotrophins), released by the target cells of neurons, regulate the expression of ion channels during embryonic development (Jimenez et al., 1997; Garcia-Diaz, 1999). On the other hand, efferent innervation acting through muscarinic and purinergic receptors modulates the firing response of CG neurons to sound information. We are presently investigating whether the activation of these receptors, and the ensuing signaling events, modulate a cloned non-inactivating potassium channel transfected in a heterologous system.

Cell calcium oscillations in response to muscarinic stimulation.


Potassium currents activated by voltage depolarizations.
Patch-clamp recording mode.


Selected Publications:

Jimenez, C., Giraldez, F., Represa, J. and Garcia-Diaz, J.F. (1997) Calcium currents in dissociated cochlear neurons from the chick embryo and their modification by neurotrophin-3. Neuroscience 77: 673-682.

Garcia-Diaz, J.F., Jimenez, C., Vazquez, E., Represa, J. And Giraldez, F. (1998) Neurotrophic factors and development of ionic channels in primary sensory neurones of the ear. In Ion Channel Pharmacology, B. Soria and V. Ceña, eds. pp.: 3-20. Oxford University Press, Oxford, U.K.

Garcia-Diaz, J.F. (1999) Development of a fast transient potassium current in chick cochlear ganglion neurons. Hearing Research 135:124-134.


Course Director: Advanced Human Physiology A & B (GMS PH 730-731)

Advisor, M.A. in Medical Sciences

Contact Us

J. Fernando Garcia-Diaz, Ph.D.
Department of Physiology and Biophysics
Boston University School of Medicine
700 Albany Street, W408J
Boston MA 02118-2526

Phone:(617) 358-8477
Fax: (617) 358-8758
e-mail: fgarcia@bu.edu