Roberto Araya , Ph.D.
    Roberto Araya
    Research Axis
    Brain and Child Development Axis
    Research Theme
    Neurodevelopmental diseases
    CHUSJ - Centre de Recherche

    514 345-4931 7837



    • Associate Professor, Department of Neurosciences, Université de Montréal
    • PI Araya NeuroLab, CHU Sainte-Justine Research Centre


    Araya NeuroLab

    Major financing

    • Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR)
    • Canadian Foundation for Innovation (CFI)
    • Fonds de recherche du Québec - Santé (FRQS)

    Research Interests

    • Synaptic integration of neocortical pyramidal neurons
    • Structure and function of dendritic spines and their role in the processing of information and plasticity of cortical circuits.
    • Application of dendritic spine learning rules to Artificial Intelligence
    • Role of ion channel RNA splicing on synaptic development and physiology

    Research Topics

    • Synaptic plasticity
    • Multiphoton microscopy
    • Live imaging
    • Ion channel splicing
    • Neurodevelopment
    • Autism spectrum disorders

    Career Summary

    Dr. Araya completed his graduate studies with a joint thesis at the Catholic University in Chile and the University of Bonn in Germany. For his post-doctoral training, Dr. Araya joined the laboratory of Dr. Rafael Yuste at Columbia University. He was funded by a Latin American PEW fellow in biomedical sciences and later by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.

    In 2011, he was hired in the Department of Neuroscience at the University of Montreal. Dr. Araya recently joined the CHU Sainte-Justine Research Centre as an Associate Professor to form part of the Child and Brain Development research axis, with the goal to further establish collaborations and pursue translational work in autism spectrum disorders. His research is well funded by the Canadian Institute of Health Research and other institutions and foundations.

    Dr. Araya's research focuses on understanding how neocortical pyramidal neurons, and the circuitry they reside in, enables sensory processing. More specifically, Dr. Araya is passionate about dendritic computations, and how dendritic spines control the processing, storage, and integration of synaptic inputs. He is extending these questions to neurological disorders to uncover abnormal neuronal and circuit elements via a multifaceted approach that includes a state-of-the-art custom-built in vivo and in vitro two-photon setup with holographic stimulation capabilities and electrophysiological, structural, genetic, and molecular tools.


    1. Tazerart S, Mitchell DE, Miranda-Rottmann S, Araya R. A spike-timing-dependent plasticity rule for dendritic spines. Nat Commun. 2020;11(1):4276. Published 2020 Aug 26. doi:10.1038/s41467-020-17861-7
    2. Mitchell DE, Martineau É, Tazerart S, Araya R. Probing Single Synapses via the Photolytic Release of Neurotransmitters. Front Synaptic Neurosci. 2019 Jul 12;11:19. doi: 10.3389/fnsyn.2019.00019. PMID: 31354469; PMCID: PMC6640007.
    3. Jiang X, Lupien-Meilleur A, Tazerart S, Lachance M, Samarova E, Araya R, Lacaille JC, Rossignol E. Remodeled cortical inhibition prevents motor seizures in generalized epilepsy. Ann Neurol. 2018 Sep;84(3):436-451. doi: 10.1002/ana.25301. PMID: 30048010.
    4. Opazo JC, Zavala K, Miranda-Rottmann S, Araya R. Evolution of dopamine receptors: phylogenetic evidence suggests a later origin of the DRD2l and DRD4rs dopamine receptor gene lineages. PeerJ. 2018 Apr 13;6:e4593. doi: 10.7717/peerj.4593. PMID: 29666757; PMCID: PMC5900934.
    5. Saito Y, Miranda-Rottmann S, Ruggiu M, Park CY, Fak JJ, Zhong R, Duncan JS, Fabella BA, Junge HJ, Chen Z, Araya R, Fritzsch B, Hudspeth AJ, Darnell RB. NOVA2-mediated RNA regulation is required for axonal pathfinding during development. Elife. 2016 May 25;5:e14371. doi: 10.7554/eLife.14371. PMID: 27223325; PMCID: PMC4930328.
    6. Araya R, Vogels TP, Yuste R. Activity-dependent dendritic spine neck changes are correlated with synaptic strength. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2014 Jul 15;111(28):E2895-904. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1321869111. Epub 2014 Jun 30. PMID: 24982196; PMCID: PMC4104910.

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