The Partners
The Spanish National Research Council (CSIC) is the largest public institution dedicated to research in Spain.

Belonging to the Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness through the Secretary of State for Research, Development and Innovation, its main objective is to develop and promote research that will help bring about scientific and technological progress. The Institute for Biomedical Research “Alberto Sols” is located in Madrid at the Medical School campus and it is a joint initiative of CSIC and of the Autonomous University of Madrid.

Dr. Isabel Varela-Nieto leads the Neurobiology of Hearing group at the Institute for Biomedical Research (CSIC) and collaborates with Dr. Pedro Cobo of the DAEND Department of the Instituto de Tecnologías Físicas y de la Información Leonardo Torres Quevedo (CSIC).

The research group is also integrated in the Centre for Biomedical Network Research on Rare Diseases (CIBERER, Unidad CIBERER 761) and it is part of the Institute for Health Research of La Paz University Hospital (IdiPaz).

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The group main lines of research are:
  1. To study age-related hearing loss by understanding the physiopathology of IGF-1 deficiency. We are generating animal and cellular models by targeting genes coding for IGF-1, its receptor and selected intracellular kinases and phosphatases.
  2. To study the interaction environment-genome in animal models of hereditary deafness to identify genetic predisposition factors. Noise exposure, ototoxic damage, and diet are among the noxious environmental factors studied. The oxidative-inflammatory status is fundamental to understand damage extent and we are studying these aspects.
  3. Use the previous models to identify potential therapeutic targets, potential markers for diagnostic, vital guidelines and medical advice in collaboration with ENT services.


These objectives are approached by the development and evaluation of cellular and animal models, and by using non-invasive biology techniques for studying the auditory function at the IIBm facilities.

Our aims are to increase basic knowledge in the field of hearing neurobiology, to contribute to the development of new therapies for auditory repair and regeneration, and finally to make contributions which may improve human health in the medium or long term.

The team at the Institute for Biomedical Research “Alberto Sols”