Dr Maria Herva Moyano E

Maria  Herva Moyano

University position

NC3R David Sainsbury research fellow


Department of Clinical Neurosciences


Cambridge Centre for Brain Repair



Home page

http://www.linkedin.com/pub/mar... (personal home page)

Research Theme

Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


I have developed a fast and reliable method to form alpha-synuclein aggregates and my aim is to use it as a high content assay to screen for drugs with anti aggregating properties. I am specially interested in the option of repurposing existing drugs for its use in Parkinson's disease.

I am also interested in the prion like spread of alpha synuclein and I am working on a transgenic mouse line that would help us understand better if and how the aggregated alpha synuclein spreads from the perifery to the brain.

My main goals are to try to understand the pathological processes happening withing and between the cells after being challenged with alpha-synuclein fibrils and to find compounds to stop or prevent that pathology.

Electron microscopy of alpha-synuclein fibrils generated by PMCA (protein misfolding cyclic amplification) and cells in the absence (left) or presence (right) of those PMCA fibrils
Electron microscopy of alpha-synuclein fibrils generated by PMCA (protein misfolding cyclic amplification) and cells in the absence (left) or presence (right) of those PMCA fibrils
Click image to view full-size

Research Focus



alpha synuclein



drug screening / repurposing

Clinical conditions


Multiple system atrophy

Parkinson's disease

Prion diseases


Behavioural analysis

Cell culture

Confocal microscopy

Electron microscopy

Enzyme assays

Fluorescence microscopy


Protein purification

Recombinant protein expression



Michel Goedert

Therese Klingstedt

Johanna Rees

Paul Worth


David Eisenberg

Carmen Gil

Ana Martinez

Peter Nilsson

Lorena Saelices

Associated News Items



    Herva ME, Spillantini MG (2014), “Parkinson's disease as a member of Prion-like disorders.” Virus Res Details

    Herva ME, Zibaee S, Fraser G, Barker RA, Goedert M, Spillantini MG (2014), “Anti-amyloid compounds inhibit alpha-synuclein aggregation induced by Protein Misfolding Cyclic Amplification (PMCA).” J Biol Chem Details

    Torres JM, Espinosa JC, Aguilar-Calvo P, Herva ME, Relaño-Ginés A, Villa-Diaz A, Morales M, Parra B, Alamillo E, Brun A, Castilla J, Molina S, Hawkins SA, Andreoletti O (2014), “Elements modulating the prion species barrier and its passage consequences.” PLoS One 9(3):e89722 Details


    Simon D, Herva ME, Benitez MJ, Garrido JJ, Rojo AI, Cuadrado A, Torres JM, Wandosell F (2013), “Dysfunction of the PI3K-Akt-GSK-3 pathway is a common feature in cell culture and in vivo models of prion disease.” Neuropathol Appl Neurobiol Details


    Herva ME, Weissman C (2012), “Cell-specific susceptibility to prion strains is a property of the intact cell.” Prion 6(4):371-4 Details

    Mahal SP, Jablonski J, Suponitsky-Kroyter I, Oelschlegel AM, Herva ME, Oldstone M, Weissmann C (2012), “Propagation of RML prions in mice expressing PrP devoid of GPI anchor leads to formation of a novel, stable prion strain.” PLoS Pathog 8(6):e1002746 Details


    Browning S, Baker CA, Smith E, Mahal SP, Herva ME, Demczyk CA, Li J, Weissmann C (2011), “Abrogation of complex glycosylation by swainsonine results in strain- and cell-specific inhibition of prion replication.” J Biol Chem 286(47):40962-73 Details

    Relaño-Ginés A, Lehmann S, Bencsik A, Herva ME, Torres JM, Crozet CA (2011), “Stem cell therapy extends incubation and survival time in prion-infected mice in a time window-dependant manner.” J Infect Dis 204(7):1038-45 Details


    Herva ME, Relaño-Ginés A, Villa A, Torres JM (2010), “Prion infection of differentiated neurospheres.” J Neurosci Methods 188(2):270-5 Details


    Espinosa JC, Herva ME, Andréoletti O, Padilla D, Lacroux C, Cassard H, Lantier I, Castilla J, Torres JM (2009), “Transgenic mice expressing porcine prion protein resistant to classical scrapie but susceptible to sheep bovine spongiform encephalopathy and atypical scrapie.” Emerg Infect Dis 15(8):1214-21 Details


    Maluquer de Motes C, Grassi J, Simon S, Herva ME, Torres JM, Pumarola M, Girones R (2008), “Excretion of BSE and scrapie prions in stools from murine models.” Vet Microbiol 131(1-2):205-11 Details


    Espinosa JC, Andréoletti O, Castilla J, Herva ME, Morales M, Alamillo E, San-Segundo FD, Lacroux C, Lugan S, Salguero FJ, Langeveld J, Torres JM (2007), “Sheep-passaged bovine spongiform encephalopathy agent exhibits altered pathobiological properties in bovine-PrP transgenic mice.” J Virol 81(2):835-43 Details


    Espinosa JC, Morales M, Herva ME, Torres JM (2006), “Transmission of Bovine Spongiform Ecephalopaty (BSE)” Future Virology 1(3): 393-402

    Martín SF, Herva ME, Espinosa JC, Parra B, Castilla J, Brun A, Torres JM (2006), “Cell expression of a four extra octarepeat mutated PrPC modifies cell structure and cell cycle regulation.” FEBS Lett 580(17):4097-104 Details


    Espinosa JC, Díaz-San Segundo F, Parra B, Rodríguez-Benito JA, Herva, ME, Relaño-Ginés A, Brun A, Cano MJ, Morales M, Torres JM (2004), “Susceptibility and Resistance to Scrapie” Mundo Ganadero 169: 65-70


    Espinosa JC, Morales M, Agudo R, Herva ME, Parra B, Brun A, Torres JM (2003), “Biology of prion protein (PrP) associated diseases” Actualizaciones en Neurología, Neurociencias y Envejecimiento 1(3): 172-179