NeuroDevelopment Group

Alicia Hidalgo banner imagePrincipal Investigator: Dr Alicia Hidalgo


We investigate structural plasticity in the central nervous system (CNS), in health, in development, regeneration and repair. We use the fruit-fly Drosophila for its powerful genetics and in vivo neurobiology spanning from genes, to cells, circuits and behaviour. We discover gene networks, fundamental principles and in vivo processes with relevance for human brain health & disease.

Our Research

Alicia Hidalgo 2Our projects investigate multiple aspects of structural plasticity, following a molecular-genetic perspective. We tackle these questions with a multidisciplinary approach and generous, exciting collaborations. In our lab, we use genetics, molecular biology, protein biochemistry, microscopy – including laser scanning confocal microscopy in fixed specimens and in time-lapse, transmission electron microscopy, imaging and quantitative analysis, cutting edge approaches to manipulate and visualize neuronal activity using opto- and thermo-genetics and calcium imaging, and a wide range of behavioural assays.

Read more about Alicia Hidalgo's Research Laboratory.


  1. Neurotrophin family ligands and their receptor system in Drosophila
  2. Toll family receptor function in the central nervous system
  3. Glial gene networks driving CNS repair and regeneration


Losada-Perez M, Harrison N and Hidalgo A (2016) Molecular mechanism of central nervous system repair by the Drosophila NG2 homologue kon-tiki. J Cell Biol 214(5):587-601

Kato K, Konno D, Berry M, MatsuzakiF, Logan A and Hidalgo A (2015) Prox1 inhibits proliferation and is required for differentiation of the oligodendrocyte cell lineage in the mouse. PLoS One 10(12):e0145334

McIlroy G, Foldi I, Aurikko J, Wentzell JS, Lim MA, Fenton JC, Gay NJ and Hidalgo A (2013) Toll-6 and Toll-7 function as neurotorphin receptors in the Drosophila melanogaster CNS. Nat Neurosci 16(9):1248-56

Kato K, Forero MG, Fenton JC and Hidalgo A (2011) The glial regenerative response to central nervous system injury is enabled by Pros-Notch and Pros-NFkB feedback. PLoS Biol 9(8):e1001133

Zhu B, Pennack JA, McQuilton P, Forero MG, Mizuguchi K, Gu CJ, Fenton JC and Hidalgo A (2008) Drosophila neurotrophins reveal a common mechanism of nervous system formation. PLoS Biol 6(11):e284

Research Team

Principal Investigator

Dr Alicia Hidalgo - Reader in Developmental Neurobiology, School of Biosciences


Marta Moreira

Postdoctoral Researchers

Dr Neale Harrison

PhD Students

Niki Anthoney
Suzana Benitez
Guiyi Li
Elizabeth Connolly

External Collaborators

Manuel G Forero - University of Ibagué, Colombia
Nicholas J Gay - University of Cambridge, UK
Martin Heisenberg and Reinhard Wolf - University of Würzburg, Germany
Fumio Matsuzaki - RIKEN, Japan