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How to find us R.E. (Rodrigo) Moraga Amaro
University Medical Center Groningen

R.E. Moraga Amaro

PhD student
R.E. Moraga Amaro

Academic details

- November 2016-Currently: PhD student (currently) Thesis titled “Brain molecular interplay in depression” at the University of Groningen (RUG), Netherlands.

- March 2013-December 2015: Master in Biotechnology, Thesis title: “Pharmacological development to decrease cerebral ischemia in an animal model of Stroke” at Universidad Nacional Andrés Bello (UNAB), Chile.

- March 2008-March 2013 Biotechnology Engineer, Universidad Nacional Andrés Bello (UNAB), Chile.


- GCP-GLP certification: Basic training for Good Laboratory practice (GLP and Good Clinical practice (GCP) for pre-clinical and clinical studies. (University of Groningen, Groningen, Netherlands, April 2017)

- Radiation protection level 5B: Certificate for the use of radioactivity in medical studies. (University of Groningen, Groningen, Netherlands, February 2017)

- Laboratory animal science (Art.9): Certificate to allow scientist to do animal experiments in Netherlands (University of Groningen, Groningen, Netherlands, January 2017)

-DeepTMS clinical training for multicentric study to obtain FDA approval for medical use of transcranial magnetic stimulation for the treatment of PTSD. (Brainsway inc. Meeting: Las Vegas, USA, February 2015).

- Structural Bioinformatics and drug design (Pontificia Universidad Católica, Chile, 2014): Certification in bioinformatical modeling with applicability on in silico research for pharmacological drug-target interactions.

-Go to market program (CORFO 2013-2014): Finalists on a competition to earn funds and training in Sillicon Valley (USA) to sell scientific ideas.


- Languages:

Spanish: Native

English: fluent

Nederlands: A2 level.

Portuguese: A2 level.

- Experience in writing scientific papers (Manuscripts) and scientific grants.

- Experience in leading workgroups, supervising Master’s thesis, research logistics and research laboratories administration.

- Ample knowledge on rodent handling and experimentation (mice and rats). This includes brain surgical interventions, experience with behavioral models (memory, anxiety-like and depressive-like behavior, stress, social, attention and motor), molecular biology, in silico modelling.

Work and research experience

- Nov 2016 - to date: “Mechanisms of inflammation and neurotransmission associated to depression”. PhD student at the RUG-UMCG.

- Apr 2016 – to Date: “The role of the Insula in Anxiety and Anxiety-related disorders”. Grant coordinator for FONDECYT n° 1160986.

-Jan 2016 – to Date: “The role of gliotransmission in learning and plasticity in the olfactory system”. Associate researcher in CNRS, Paris (ECOS-SUD Grant).

-Jan 2015 – Sep 2016: “Development of potential drugs using astrocites as pharmacologial targets for the treatment of psychiatric disorders”. Grant Coordinator for CORFO L2 14IDL2-30195 in

- Mar 2014 – Mar 2016: “Astrocyte to neuron communication in plasticity, learning and memory”. Researcher in project Nucleo UNAB BvZ-LVN-JS 603-1, Centro integrativo de Biomedicina, Universidad Andrés Bello, Chile.

- Nov 2011 – Oct 2016: “Role of  dopamine neurotransmission and immune system in anxiety, depressive, social and cognitive processes”. Laboratorio de Neurobiología, Universidad Andrés Bello, Chile – Fundación ciencia para la vida, Chile.

- Aug 2015 – Oct 2015: “Insular regulation of pain in a rodent model of Chronic Constriction Injury (CCI) of the Sciatic Nerve”. Research collaborator with Centre for Biomedicine and Medical Technology, Manheim, Germany and Universidad Andres Bello, Chile.

- Mar 2013 – Dec 2014: “Pharmacological development of Connexin modulators: Pharmacological target for ischemic stroke”. Master student Laboratorio de Neurobiología, Universidad Andrés Bello, Chile and Universidad del Desarrollo, Chile.

- Mar 2012- to date: “Research techniques in Neurobiology”. Laboratory and seminar assistant teacher in Universidad Andrés Bello.  

- Mar 2013 – Mar 2016: “Interplay between stress hormones and brain monoamines in Cortex modulates the reaction to emotionally arousing experiences”. Grant coordinator for FONDECYT n° 1130724.

- Nov 2011 – to date: “Development of peptide-based agonist and antagonists for connexin hemichannels”. Research collaboration with Laboratory of Molecular and Cellular Signaling, Department Molecular Cell Biology, K.U. Leuven, Campus Gasthuisberg, Leuven, Belgium.

- Oct 2011: “Effect of stress hormones in neophobia and familiarity”. Research stay at the Department of Neuroscience, University Medical Center Groningen, Groningen, The Netherlands.

- Mar 2011- Jul 2011: “Business coaching for scientists”. Professional Practice at Incubadora Magallanes,

- Jan 2008 : “Characterization of yoghurt isolated Lactobacillus, like L. Rammnosus y L. Pertusis”. Research unit at Laboratorio de Microbiología,  Universidad Andrés Bello.

Prizes and grants

- “Alumni Prize in research”, Universidad Andrés Bello 2016: Recognition for scientific contribution in research.

- “Becas Chile Doctorado en el extranjero 2016-2020”: Chilean scholarship for PhD students abroad.

- “Master internship scholarship RUG”  University of Groningen 2011: Scholarship for 1 month internship at University of Groningen.


- Moraga-Amaro R, van Waarde A, Doorduin J, de Vries EFJ. Sex steroid hormones and brain function: PET imaging as a tool of research. Accepted in Journal of Neuroendocrinology (June 2017)

- Orellana JA, Retamal MA, Moraga-Amaro R, Stehberg J. (2016) Role of astroglial hemichannels and pannexons in memory and neurodegenerative diseases. Frontiers in Integrative Neurosciences 10:26.

- Moraga-Amaro R, González H, Ugalde V, Donoso-Ramos JP, Quintana-Donoso D, Lara M, Morales B, Rojas P, Pacheco R, Stehberg J. (2016) Dopamine receptor D5 deficiency results in a selective reduction of hippocampal NMDA receptor subunit NR2B expression and impaired memory. Neuropharmacology 103:222-235.

- Torres F, Villalón E, Poblete P, Moraga-Amaro R, Linsambarth S, Riquelme R, Zangen A, Stehberg J. (2015) Retrospective Evaluation of Deep Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (dTMS) as Add-On Treatment for Parkinson's Disease. Frontiers in Neurology 6:210.

- Rojas S, Díaz-Galarce R, Jerez-Baraona JM, Quintana-Donoso D, Moraga-Amaro R, Stehberg J. (2015) The insula modulates arousal-induced reluctance to try novel tastes through adrenergic transmission in the rat. Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience 9: 164.

- Orellana JA, Moraga-Amaro R, Díaz-Galarce R, Rojas S, Maturana CJ, Stehberg J and Sáez JC. (2015) Restraint stress increases hemichannel activity in hippocampal glial cells and neurons. Frontiers in Cellular Neuroscience 9:102.

- Moraga-Amaro R, Jerez-Baraona JM, Simon F, Stehberg J. (2014). Role of astrocytes in memory and psychiatric disorders. Journal of Physiology-Paris 108, 240-251.

Moraga-Amaro R, Gonzalez H, Pacheco R, Stehberg J. (2014) Dopamine receptor D3 deficiency results in chronic depression and anxiety. Behavioural brain research 274, 186-193

Moraga-Amaro R, Cortés-Rojas A, Simon F, Stehberg J. (2014) Role of the insular cortex in taste familiarity. Neurobiology of Learning and Memory 109:37-45.

- Stehberg J, Moraga-Amaro R, Salazar C, Becerra A, Echeverría C, Orellana JA, Bultynck G, Ponsaerts R, Leybaert L, Simon F, Sáez JC, Retamal MA. (2012) Release of gliotransmitters through astroglial connexin 43 hemichannels is necessary for fear memory consolidation in the basolateral amygdala. FASEB J. 26: 3649-3657.

- Stehberg J, Moraga-Amaro R, Simon F. (2011) The role of the insular cortex in taste function. Neurobiology of Learning and Memory 96: 130-135.

- Retamal MA, León-Paravic CG, Verdugo CA, Alcaino CA, Moraga-Amaro R, Stehberg J. (2011) Connexin in Lens Physiology and Cataract Formation. Journal of Clinical and Experimental Ophthalmology S1:001.  

Book chapters

- Linsambarth S, Moraga-Amaro R, Quintana-Donoso D, Rojas-Silva S, Stehberg J 2017. The Amygdala in anxiety. Accepted in InTech editorial (May 2017)

- Stehberg J. and Moraga-Amaro R. 2012. The Insular Cortex and the Amygdala: Shared functions and interactions. InTech. ISBN 980-953-307-188-1.

Last modified:14 January 2020 6.24 p.m.

Contact information

Antonius Deusinglaan 1
9713 AV Groningen
The Netherlands