Slide3 Background

Doctoral Program in Neurobiology
The knowledge in neurobiology to multiple complexity levels

Slide3 Background

Doctoral Program in Neurobiology
Due to the integrative and interdisciplinary nature of the program


The PhD in Neurobiology of the Universidad Mayor is a disciplinary academic program that seeks to train scientists with a comprehensive education and interested in studying the inherent complexity of the nervous system from its cellular and molecular determinants. Students in our program will address topics such as neurodevelopment, cellular and molecular neurobiology, neurodegeneration and neurodegeneration, aging of the nervous system, neuroimmunology and cognitive and motor neurophysiology.

Regular teachers of the program work on different models and levels of experimental analysis, providing an enriched environment in both thematic and complementary technologies to respond effectively and novelly in the area of ​​neurobiology. The biological models we work with include cell cultures, C. elegans, Drosophila, teleost fish (zebrafish and medaka) and mice. In addition, the inclusion of omic analyzes at the complete genome level allows the study of biological problems associated with the nervous system in health and disease, enriching the knowledge of this system at a more transversal level. Students of this program will also have the opportunity to interact closely with clinical research, which will favor the search for therapies and biomarkers associated with neurodegenerative diseases and cognitive impairment, thus connecting basic science and translational medicine. The program is formulated so that the student is incorporated early into the lines of research offered by the PhD so that, from the first semester of the curriculum, students begin with research units.

General Objective:

The PhD program in Neurobiology has as a general objective the training of researchers with a robust base in neurobiology, providing the necessary skills for graduates to integrate and apply these concepts through the development of original, independent and high impact researches that contribute to broadening the frontier of knowledge about the formation, function and pathological alterations of the nervous system

Specific Objectives:

- Train researchers capable of integrating and applying knowledge in neurobiology to identify the biological problems associated with the nervous system's function in health and disease.

- Train researchers prepared to design and develop research projects independently that contribute to the generation of basic-clinical knowledge in the area of ​​neurobiology with national and international projection.

- Train researchers who have the skills to integrate multidisciplinary research groups, and participate in the training of new researchers.

Graduation profile:

The graduated of the PhD program in Neurobiology will be able to:

- Identify problems and develop cutting-edge research in the area of ​​neurobiology, with national and international projection.

- Generate original knowledge, basic scientific and clinical advances in neurobiology independently.

- Integrate multidisciplinary collaborative research groups that allow addressing the challenges of current neurobiology from a synergistic perspective.

- Conduct research projects in the area of ​​neurobiology, actively participating in the training of new researchers.

Program Structure

                                                                   The Sequential structure of the Doctoral Program in Neurobiology is as follows: 


7th semester:
  • Thesis.
  • Participation in CIB and CGB seminars (once a month).
8th semester:
  • Thesis.
  • Participation in CIB and CGB seminars (once a month).
  • Thesis Defense

Lines of investigation

Research Lines, Ph.D. Neurobiology Universidad Mayor

Nervous system development

Topics: neurogenesis and gliogenesis; visual system development; axonal growth; autism and pathologies associated with the development of the nervous system; Non-coding DNA and neurodevelopment.

Cellular and molecular neurobiology

Topics: intercellular communication; neuron-glial cell interaction; mitochondrial neuronal and glial metabolism; autophagy and reticulum stress in nervous system cells; ion channels

Degeneration and regeneration of the nervous system

Topics: axonal degeneration; neuronal death mechanisms; neuropathic pain; neurodegenerative diseases; systems biology in neurodegeneration; study of Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, Huntington, ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis), and tumors of the nervous system.

Aging of the nervous system and neuroimmunology

Topics: gerocience; neurodegenerative diseases associated with aging; inflamging; glial and neuronal senescence; effect of the intestinal microbiome on brain function.

Neurophysiology of cognitive and motor functions

Topics: regulation of the locomotive function; memory and learning; motor diseases; interoceptive system; enteric nervous system; neural circuits.


Academic Cloister 

Felipe Court Goldsmith. 
Bachelor in Biology, PUC. PhD en Neurosciences, University  of  Edinburgo. Research Line: Degeneración axonal, regeneración axonal, comunicación. 

René Vidal Gomez. Biochemical, Austral University of Chile. PhD in Sciences, mention Moleculal and Celular Biology, Austral University of Chile. Research Line: Neurodegenerative diseases, gene and pharmacological therapy, Parkinson's disease and Huntington's disease

Patricio Manque. Medical Technologist, University of Antofagasta. Phd in Microbiology and Inmunology, University of Sao Paulo. Research Line: Genomics, Interaction networks, Neurodegeneration, systems biology, microbiome, mesenchymal stem cell therapy. 

Melissa Calegaro Nassif. Pharmaceutical Chemestry, UFRGS, Brasil. PhD in biomedical Sciences, Univeristy of Chile. Research Line: Autophagy, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis of Alzheimer's disease, neurodegeneration. 

Ute Woehlbier.M.Sc. (Dipl. Biol.), Molecular Biology, University of Heidelberg. Ph.D. (Dr. rer. nat.), Nature Sciences, University of Heidelberg. Research LineNeurodegeneration, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, cell death, mesenchymal stem cell therapy, new proteins in disease.

Gonzalo I. Cancino. Bachelor in Biology , PUC. Phd in Biology Sciences, mention cellular and molecular biology, PUC. Research Line: Neurodevelopment, Autism, neurogenesis, gliogenesis. 

Leonardo Valdivia.Bachelor in Biology, University of Chile. PhD in Molecular and Celular Biology and Neuroscience, University of Chile. Reseach LineDevelopment of the visual system in zebra fish.

Julio César Cárdenas Matus.Medical Technologist University of Chile. PhD in  Biomedical Sciences, University of  Chile. Research Line: Mitochondrial metabolism, calcium signaling, cancer, cellular senescence.  

Diego Rojas Rivera. Pharmaceutical ChemestryUniversity of Chile. PhD in Biochemestry, University of Chile. Research Line: Neuropharmacology, cell death, TNF signaling, RIPK1-dependent cell death.

Carol San Martín Rovirosa.Bachelor in Sciences Mention BiologyUniversity of Chile. PhD in Biomedical Sciences, University of Chile. Research LineTranslational medicine, Alzheimer's disease, Vitamin D,  peptide clearence, mitochondrial dynamics. 


Joaquín Letelier Undurraga. Bachelor in Science Mention Biology, University of Chile.  PhD in Science mention Neurosciences, University of Valparaíso.  Research Line: Embryonic development nervous system, transcriptional regulation mediated by non-coding DNA

Erick Riquelme. Medical TechnologistUniversity of Chile. PhD in Biology Sciences.  Mention Molecular Genetics and Microbiology, PUC. Research Line: Immuno-Oncology, microbiota and cancer, tumor biology and immunology. 

Marco Contreras Abarca. Bachelor in Biology, PUC. PhD in Biology Sciences, PUC. Research Line: Physiology of the Interoceptive System, and its role in normal and pathological behavior. 

Paola Murgas Alcaino. Biochemical, Austral University of Chile. PhD in Molecular and Celular Biology, PUC.  Research Line: Neuroimmunology, immunology, cell biology, inflammation, aging.

Alenka Lovy. Biologist. University of Massachusetts. PhD in Vegetal Biolology, University of Massachusetts. Research Line: Mitochondrial dynamics, calcium signaling, cytoskeleton, bacterial-host cell interaction, aging. 

Mario Sanhueza. Molecular Biotecnology Engineer, University of Chile. PhD in Biomedical Sciences, University of Edinburgh, United Kindom. Research Line: Neurodegeneration, Drosophila Model, Neural Regeneration. 

Andrea Calixto.B.S. Microbiology, University of Habana, Cuba. PhD in Biological Sciences, Columbia University. PhD of Philosophy, Columbia University. Research LineGenomics, transgenerationality, behavior, neurodegeneration.

Mauricio Saez.Biochemical, Austral University ofChile. PhD in Sciences, mention in Molecular and Celular Sciences, Austral University of Chile. Research LineEpigenetics, gene expression control, neurosciences, autism, Huntington's disease.

Jorge Parodi.Medical Technologist, University of the Frontera. PhD in Sciences, mention in Molecular and Celular Biology, University of Concepción. Research LineCellular Biology, Ionic Channels, Environmental Toxicology. 

External Guests:

  • Dr. Felipe Barros, CECS (Physician, studies of neuronal metabolism). 

Director of the Program:

  • Dr. Melissa Calegaro Nassif (Nassif M.). 

Academic Committee:

  • Dr. Melissa Calegaro
  • Dr. Gonzalo I. Cancino
  • Dr. Felipe Court
  • Dr. Carol San Martin
  • Dr. René Vidal

Program Areas: 

The PhD program in Neurobiology is the only one of its kind in Chile. He delivers solid knowledge in Neurobiology,  using multi - models in his research projects, in order to enhance research on the nervous system in the challenge of developing its physiological and pathophysiological processes. The program has two workshops on transverse or soft skills (Workshop I and II), prioritizing the training of a comprehensive, ethical and capable scientific preofessioanl capable of contributing synergistically in multidisciplinary groups. 


Directed to

The Doctoral Program in Neurobiology is oriented to graduate holding a bachelor or master degrees in Biological Sciences, Biotechnology, Biochemistry, Medicine or an equivalent formation.

Admission Process

The selection process includes:

a) Evaluation of academic documents (30% of final grade)

b) Scientific article discussion with the principal investigators from the CIB (30% of final grade)

c) Interview with principal investigators from the CIB (40% of final grade)

The academic documents that must be sent to the e-mail address until November 30th are:

- Certificate of Bachelor's or Master’s degree in Biological Sciences, Biotechnology, Biochemistry, Medicine or an equivalent or higher professional degree in the area of biological or medical sciences.

- CV (according to the application form)

- Certificate of grades from undergraduate and ranking.

- Universidad Mayor application form

- 1 recommendation letter in the format of Universidad Mayor, sent directly to the e-mail address.


The selected candidates will receive a scholarship that covers the program's fee and includes a monthly maintenance grant from the university for four years. After the approval of the thesis project, the doctoral students can request travel grants destined to the training in other Chilean or foreign research laboratories.

Vacancies: 04
Admission: application until December 8th, 2019.

Application: 2nd Week of December, 2018.
Resolution: December 30th, 2019.
Start of activities:
March 2020.

If you want to apply, please complete the following forms

Download Application Form - Download Recommendation Letter

More information about this, please contact us at:

Ph.D. Program Director:

Melissa Calegaro, Ph.D.