Emerging evidence shows the existence of diverse physical and functional interactions between the immune and nervous systems. The nervous system may regulate the immune response and its potency against viral and bacterial infections and tumour development. Similarly, the immune system appears to be able to regulate some functions of the nervous system including processes involved in behavior, learning and memory. Due to the existence of this bidirectional cross-talk between these two systems, the deregulation of neuro-immune communications could result in immune-related diseases or in neurological/psychiatric associated disorders. The primary aim of our research is to understand the mechanisms operating in neuro-immune communications and thus to determine how stimulation of some pathways in the nervous system may potentiate or inhibit immune responses during infectious diseases, cancer and autoimmunity. We also aim to understand how the activity of specific immunological components may regulate some cognitive tasks or contribute in the physiopathologic scenario of neurodegenerative disorders.


Research Head: Rodrigo Pacheco

Doctoral students: Zulmary Manjarres • Ornella Chovar • Jacob Mora. • Jazmín Castro.

Research Assistants: Valentina Ugalde • María Alexandra Espinoza • Sandra Espinoza.

Post-doctoral Fellows: José Manuel Jimenez

Research Associates: Carolina Prado


Hugo González (former PhD Student and post-doctoral fellow 2009-2014)
Postdoctoral fellow at UCSF, United States of America.

Francisco Contreras (former PhD Student and post-doctoral fellow 2010-2017)
Technical Director at Dolphin Medical, Chile.

María Gabriela Colmenares (former post-doc 2017)
Post-doctoral fellow at Mayo Clinic, United States of America.

Pía Vidal (former post-doc 2018-2019)
Assistant Professor at Universidad Católica de la Santísima Concepción, Chile

Daniela Elgueta (former PhD Student and post-doctoral fellow 2014-2020)
Post-doctoral fellow at Universidad Mayor, Chile.

Andro Montoya (former PhD Student 2011-2019)
Professor at Universidad de las Américas, Chile.

Francisco Osorio-Barrios (former undergraduated student and MSc Student 2013-2016)
PhD Student at Max Plank Institute, Germany.

Nicole Rivera (former MSc Student 2016-2018)
Technical assistant at Laboratorio de Química Clínica Especializada Limitada, Chile.

Pablo Díaz (Undergraduated Student 2009-2010)
Scientific advisor at Instituto de salud pública, Chile.

Dafne Franz (Undergraduated Student 2010-2012)
Postdoctoral fellow at University College London, United Kingdom.

Glenda Fuentealba (Undergraduated Student 2011-2013)
Technical assistant at Merken Biotech, Chile

Catalina Valeria (Undergraduated Student 2013-2014)
Obstetrics student at Universidad de Concepción, Chile.


National Collaborations:
• Dr. Luis Michea (University of Chile)
• Dr. María Rosa Bono (University of Chile)
• Dr. Jimmy Stehberg (University Andrés Bello)
• Dr. Andrea Soza and Dr. Patricia Burgos (University San Sebastián)
• Dr. Isabel Yuseff (Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile)
• Dr. Margarita Calvo (Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile)
• Dr. Alberto J. Martin (University Mayor)
• Dr. Felipe Court (University Mayor)
• Dr. Alvaro Lladser (Fundación Ciencia & Vida)
• Dr. Tomás Pérez-Acle (Fundación Ciencia & Vida)
• Dr. Mario Rosemblatt (Fundación Ciencia & Vida)
• Dr. Alejandra Loyola (Fundación Ciencia & Vida)

International Collaborations:
• Dr Rafael Franco and Dr Gemma Navarro (University of Barcelona)
• Dr. Marco Cosentino (University of Insubria)
• Dr. Pablo Vargas (Institute Curie)