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Fidel Santamaria

TitleAssistant Professor
InstitutionUniversity of Texas at San Antonio
Address1 UTSA Cir
San Antonio TX 78249
Phone(210) 458-6910
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    My laboratory studies the structural properties of dendrites that allow them to implement computational functions to process information and store memories. The influence of dendritic structure on the electrical properties of neurons has been intensely studied over 50 years; however, the question of how dendritic structure affects biochemical computation remains a very open topic of research. For example, from my work as well as the work of others in the field, it is now clear that not only the physical structure of dendrites, but also their cytosolic structure and organization affect computation. My research therefore addresses dendritic structure over a wide range of spatial scales, from nanoscopic to the whole dendrite.

    At present, our work is specifically focused on understanding how dendritic structure controls the reliability and specificity of the biochemical signals that underlie synaptic activity and plasticity. This is an important problem because it is not yet understood how the relatively low numbers of molecules in a synapse can support reliable memory storage especially given the inherently noisy nature of biochemical cascades. Our recent work has specifically shown that the complexity of dendritic structure, quantified by the diversity and density of dendritic spines, modifies the diffusional environment of dendrites by breaking down the classical laws of diffusion, a phenomenon known as anomalous diffusion. We have predicted and experimentally corroborated how spine density maps to the level of anomalous diffusion in Purkinje and hippocampal pyramidal cells. The biological implications of this break-down are that the reaction rates that were assumed to be noisy at low concentrations may actually be much more efficient than previously expected, resulting in more reliable synapses.

    Each of our efforts has been undertaken using combined and interacting computational, theoretical, and experimental approaches in order to develop a unified framework to understand how dendritic structure affects biochemical processing. We believe that this framework can be applied at multiple scales, from glutamate receptors moving in and out of the synapse, to large scale heterogeneous networks of spiking neurons

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    Publications listed below are automatically derived from MEDLINE/PubMed and other sources, which might result in incorrect or missing publications. Faculty can login to make corrections and additions.
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    PMC Citations indicate the number of times the publication was cited by articles in PubMed Central, and the Altmetric score represents citations in news articles and social media. (Note that publications are often cited in additional ways that are not shown here.) Fields are based on how the National Library of Medicine (NLM) classifies the publication's journal and might not represent the specific topic of the publication. Translation tags are based on the publication type and the MeSH terms NLM assigns to the publication. Some publications (especially newer ones and publications not in PubMed) might not yet be assigned Field or Translation tags.) Click a Field or Translation tag to filter the publications.
    1. Tuladhar R, Santamaria F, Stamova I. Fractional Lotka-Volterra-Type Cooperation Models: Impulsive Control on Their Stability Behavior. Entropy (Basel). 2020 Aug 31; 22(9). PMID: 33286739.
    2. Coronel-Escamilla A, Gomez-Aguilar JF, Stamova I, Santamaria F. Fractional order controllers increase the robustness of closed-loop deep brain stimulation systems. Chaos Solitons Fractals. 2020 Nov; 140. PMID: 32905470.
    3. Kim EJ, Feng C, Santamaria F, Kim JH. Impact of Auditory Experience on the Structural Plasticity of the AIS in the Mouse Brainstem Throughout the Lifespan. Front Cell Neurosci. 2019; 13:456. PMID: 31680869.
    4. Stockton DB, Santamaria F. Integrating the Allen Brain Institute Cell Types Database into Automated Neuroscience Workflow. Neuroinformatics. 2017 Oct; 15(4):333-342. PMID: 28770487.
      Citations: 4     Fields:    Translation:Animals
    5. Stockton DB, Santamaria F. Automating NEURON Simulation Deployment in Cloud Resources. Neuroinformatics. 2017 01; 15(1):51-70. PMID: 27655341.
      Citations: 2     Fields:    Translation:HumansCells
    6. Yang Z, Santamaria F. Purkinje cell intrinsic excitability increases after synaptic long term depression. J Neurophysiol. 2016 09 01; 116(3):1208-17. PMID: 27306677.
      Citations: 8     Fields:    Translation:AnimalsCells
    7. Mohapatra N, Tønnesen J, Vlachos A, Kuner T, Deller T, Nägerl UV, Santamaria F, Jedlicka P. Spines slow down dendritic chloride diffusion and affect short-term ionic plasticity of GABAergic inhibition. Sci Rep. 2016 Mar 18; 6:23196. PMID: 26987404.
      Citations: 13     Fields:    Translation:HumansAnimalsCells
    8. Teka W, Stockton D, Santamaria F. Power-Law Dynamics of Membrane Conductances Increase Spiking Diversity in a Hodgkin-Huxley Model. PLoS Comput Biol. 2016 Mar; 12(3):e1004776. PMID: 26937967.
      Citations: 6     Fields:    Translation:HumansAnimalsCells
    9. Stockton DB, Santamaria F. NeuroManager: a workflow analysis based simulation management engine for computational neuroscience. Front Neuroinform. 2015; 9:24. PMID: 26528175.
    10. Romero VH, Kereselidze Z, Egido W, Michaelides EA, Santamaria F, Peralta XG. Nanoparticle assisted photothermal deformation of individual neuronal organelles and cells. Biomed Opt Express. 2014 Nov 01; 5(11):4002-12. PMID: 25426326.
    11. Salinas K, Kereselidze Z, DeLuna F, Peralta XG, Santamaria F. Transient extracellular application of gold nanostars increases hippocampal neuronal activity. J Nanobiotechnology. 2014 Aug 20; 12:31. PMID: 25135485.
      Citations: 3     Fields:    Translation:AnimalsCells
    12. Teka W, Marinov TM, Santamaria F. Neuronal spike timing adaptation described with a fractional leaky integrate-and-fire model. PLoS Comput Biol. 2014 Mar; 10(3):e1003526. PMID: 24675903.
      Citations: 12     Fields:    Translation:HumansAnimalsCells
    13. Marinov TM, Santamaria F. Computational modeling of diffusion in the cerebellum. Prog Mol Biol Transl Sci. 2014; 123:169-89. PMID: 24560145.
      Citations:    Fields:    Translation:HumansAnimalsCells
    14. Marinov TM, Ramirez N, Santamaria F. FRACTIONAL INTEGRATION TOOLBOX. Fract Calc Appl Anal. 2013 Sep; 16(3):670-681. PMID: 24812536.
    15. Kereselidze Z, Romero VH, Peralta XG, Santamaria F. Gold nanostar synthesis with a silver seed mediated growth method. J Vis Exp. 2012 Jan 15; (59). PMID: 22297908.
      Citations: 4     Fields:    
    16. Santamaria F, Wils S, De Schutter E, Augustine GJ. The diffusional properties of dendrites depend on the density of dendritic spines. Eur J Neurosci. 2011 Aug; 34(4):561-8. PMID: 21771115.
      Citations: 15     Fields:    Translation:AnimalsCells
    17. Valdez CM, Phelix CF, Smith MA, Perry G, Santamaria F. Modeling cholesterol metabolism by gene expression profiling in the hippocampus. Mol Biosyst. 2011 Jun; 7(6):1891-901. PMID: 21451815.
      Citations: 2     Fields:    Translation:HumansAnimalsCells
    18. Valdez CM, Smith MA, Perry G, Phelix CF, Santamaria F. Cholesterol homeostasis markers are localized to mouse hippocampal pyramidal and granule layers. Hippocampus. 2010 Aug; 20(8):902-5. PMID: 20054815.
      Citations: 12     Fields:    Translation:AnimalsCells
    19. Santamaria F, Gonzalez J, Augustine GJ, Raghavachari S. Quantifying the effects of elastic collisions and non-covalent binding on glutamate receptor trafficking in the post-synaptic density. PLoS Comput Biol. 2010 May 13; 6(5):e1000780. PMID: 20485563.
      Citations: 24     Fields:    Translation:Cells
    20. Coop AD, Cornelis H, Santamaria F. Dendritic excitability modulates dendritic information processing in a purkinje cell model. Front Comput Neurosci. 2010; 4:6. PMID: 20407613.
    21. Tanaka K, Khiroug L, Santamaria F, Doi T, Ogasawara H, Ellis-Davies GC, Kawato M, Augustine GJ. Ca2+ requirements for cerebellar long-term synaptic depression: role for a postsynaptic leaky integrator. Neuron. 2007 Jun 07; 54(5):787-800. PMID: 17553426.
      Citations: 48     Fields:    Translation:AnimalsCells
    22. Santamaria F, Wils S, De Schutter E, Augustine GJ. Anomalous diffusion in Purkinje cell dendrites caused by spines. Neuron. 2006 Nov 22; 52(4):635-48. PMID: 17114048.
      Citations: 66     Fields:    Translation:AnimalsCells
    23. Santamaria F, Tripp PG, Bower JM. Feedforward inhibition controls the spread of granule cell-induced Purkinje cell activity in the cerebellar cortex. J Neurophysiol. 2007 Jan; 97(1):248-63. PMID: 17050824.
      Citations: 48     Fields:    Translation:AnimalsCells
    24. Santamaria F, Bower JM. Background synaptic activity modulates the response of a modeled purkinje cell to paired afferent input. J Neurophysiol. 2005 Jan; 93(1):237-50. PMID: 15306625.
      Citations: 8     Fields:    Translation:AnimalsCells
    25. Augustine GJ, Santamaria F, Tanaka K. Local calcium signaling in neurons. Neuron. 2003 Oct 09; 40(2):331-46. PMID: 14556712.
      Citations: 210     Fields:    Translation:HumansAnimalsCells
    26. Santamaria F, Jaeger D, De Schutter E, Bower JM. Modulatory effects of parallel fiber and molecular layer interneuron synaptic activity on purkinje cell responses to ascending segment input: a modeling study. J Comput Neurosci. 2002 Nov-Dec; 13(3):217-35. PMID: 12226562.
      Citations: 12     Fields:    Translation:AnimalsCells
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