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Manuel Castro-Alamancos

Manuel Castro-Alamancos, PhD


Department: Neurobiology & Anatomy


  • PhD - University Complutense/Cajal Institute of Neurobiology
  • Postdoctoral Fellowship - Brown University

Dr. Castro-Alamancos is a professor in the Department of Neurobiology & Anatomy at Drexel University College of Medicine.

Research Overview

Manuel Castro-Alamancos, PhD, is interested in understanding how neuronal circuits generate behavior. His work studies brainstem, midbrain, thalamic and cortical circuits responsible for sensory information processing and motor output during behavior. A major interest is to reveal the activity of these neural circuits during transitions between behavioral states and how dynamic changes in neural circuits mediate changes in behavior.

Research Interests

Neural circuits and behavior in health and disease


The goal of our laboratory is to elucidate the synaptic, cellular and network mechanisms responsible for the emergence of neural activities that underlie normal and abnormal behaviors. The laboratory studies the mechanisms involved in the regulation of sensory information during different behavioral states. These studies attempt to define 1) the synaptic, cellular and network properties of brainstem and forebrain neural circuits that process sensory information, 2) how those circuits dynamically change their activity and responsiveness during different levels of arousal and attention to allow information processing, 3) the mechanisms by which the significance of attended sensory stimuli is modified through associative learning, and 4) how and where that information is stored. These projects are accomplished using a multidisciplinary approach that spans cellular, systems and behavioral neurophysiology.

Castro Lab Wiki (external site)


Recent Selected Publications

"Synaptic cooperativity regulates persistent network activity in neocortex."
Favero M, Castro-Alamancos MA.
J Neurosci. Feb 13;33(7):3151-63, 2013.

"The motor cortex: a network tuned to 7-14 Hz."
Castro-Alamancos MA.
Front Neural Circuits. Feb 21;7:21, 2013.

"The state of somatosensory cortex during neuromodulation."
Favero M, Varghese G, Castro-Alamancos MA.
J Neurophysiol. Aug;108(4):1010-24, 2012.

"Superior colliculus cells sensitive to active touch and texture during whisking."
Bezdudnaya T, Castro-Alamancos MA.
J Neurophysiol. Jul;106(1):332-46 2011.

"Effects of cortical activation on sensory responses in barrel cortex.
Hirata A, Castro-Alamancos MA.
J Neurophysiol. Apr;105(4):1495-505, 2011.

"Behavioral state dependency of neural activity and sensory (whisker) responses in superior colliculus."
Cohen JD, Castro-Alamancos MA.
J Neurophysiol. Sep;104(3):1661-72, 2010.

"Neural correlates of active avoidance behavior in superior colliculus."
Cohen JD, Castro-Alamancos MA.
J Neurosci. Jun 23;30(25):8502-11, 2010.

"Neocortex network activation and deactivation states controlled by the thalamus."
Hirata A, Castro-Alamancos MA.
J Neurophysiol. Mar;103(3):1147-57, 2010.

"Detection of low salience whisker stimuli requires synergy of tectal and thalamic sensory relays."
Cohen JD, Castro-Alamancos MA.
J Neurosci. Feb 10;30(6):2245-56, 2010.

"Cortical up and activated states: implications for sensory information processing."
Castro-Alamancos MA.
Neuroscientist. Dec;15(6):625-34, 2009.

"Impact of persistent cortical activity (up States) on intracortical and thalamocortical synaptic inputs."
Rigas P, Castro-Alamancos MA.
J Neurophysiol. Jul;102(1):119-31, 2009.

"Influence of subcortical inhibition on barrel cortex receptive fields."
Hirata A, Aguilar J, Castro-Alamancos MA.
J Neurophysiol. Jul;102(1):437-50, 2009.

"Vibrissa sensation in superior colliculus: wide-field sensitivity and state-dependent cortical feedback"
Cohen JD, Hirata A and Castro-Alamancos MA
Journal of Neuroscience 28, 11205-11220, 2008.

"Cortical transformation of wide-field (multiwhisker) sensory responses"
Hirata A, Castro-Alamancos MA
Journal of Neurophysiology 100, 358-370, 2008.

"Early sensory pathways for detection of fearful conditioned stimuli: tectal and thalamic relays"
Cohen JD and Castro-Alamancos MA
Journal of Neuroscience 27, 7762-7776, 2007.

"Thalamocortical Up states: differential effects of intrinsic and extrinsic cortical inputs on persistent activity"
Rigas P and Castro-Alamancos MA
Journal of Neuroscience 27, 4261-4272, 2007.

"Noradrenergic activation amplifies top down and bottom up signal to noise ratios in sensory thalamus"
Hirata A, Aguilar J and Castro-Alamancos MA
Journal of Neuroscience 26, 4426-4436, 2006.

"Spatiotemporal gating of sensory inputs in thalamus during quiescent and activated states"
Aguilar JR, Castro-Alamancos MA
Journal of Neuroscience 25, 2479-2491, 2005.

"Skilled motor learning does not enhance long-term depression in the motor cortex in vivo"
Cohen JD and Castro-Alamancos MA
Journal of Neurophysiology 93, 1486-1497, 2005.

"Dynamics of sensory thalamocortical synaptic networks during information processing states"
Castro-Alamancos MA
Progress in Neurobiology 74, 213-247, 2004.

"Absence of rapid sensory adaptation in neocortex during information processing states."
Castro-Alamancos MA
Neuron 41, 455-464, 2004.

Contact Information

Research Office

Department of Neurobiology & Anatomy
2900 W. Queen Lane
Philadelphia, PA 19129
Phone: 215.991.8287
Fax: 215.843.9082