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Schizophrenia Research Forum: Researcher Profile - Monica Beneyto
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Researcher Profile - Monica Beneyto

First Name:Monica
Last Name:Beneyto
Title:Assistant professor
Advanced Degrees:MSc PhD
Affiliation:University of Pittsburgh
Street Address 1:WPIC-3811 O'Hara Street
Street Address 2:W-1651 Biomedical Science Tower
Zip/Postal Code:15213
Email Address:
(view policy) 
Member reports no financial or other potential conflicts of interest. [Last Modified: 19 June 2007]
View all comments by Monica Beneyto
Clinical Interests:
Research Focus:
Microscopy, Molecular and Cell biology, Cell biology, Neuroanatomy/Systems Neuroscience, Neurotransmission, GABAergic transmission, Proteomics, Signal transduction, Glutamatergic transmission
Work Sector(s):
Research institute, University
Web Sites:
Reasearcher Bio
I received my B.A. in Biology at the University of Alicante, Spain, in 1994. After obtaining two Master’s. Degrees in science (M.Sc), one in Biology at the same University in 1995, and the second in Neurosciences at the International University of Andalucia in 1997, I completed my Ph.D. in neurosciences at the Institute of Neurosciences and the Superior Center of Scientific Investigations (C.S.I.C.) in Alicante, Spain, in June of 2000. My Doctoral Thesis was focused on the corticostriatal connections of the cat auditory cortex. After a year of postdoctoral training in molecular biology and genetics in the laboratory of Dr. Dominguez at the Institute of Neurosciences in Alicante, I decided to combine my neuroanatomical and molecular scientific backgrounds in the field of mental health research, coming to the University of Michigan in 2001. From June 2001 until 2004 I was a postdoctoral fellow in the laboratory of Dr. Meador-Woodruff studying the molecular abnormalities of glutamate neurotransmission in schizophrenia. In 2004 was appointed a position as Research Investigator at the Molecular and Behavioral Neuroscience Institute and the Department of Psychiatry of the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, until 2006 when I was recruited as Assistant Professor by the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB). Since January 2007 I am an Assistant Professor at the Translational Neurosciences Program at the Department of Psychiatry in the University of Pittsburgh.
Top Papers
Beneyto M, Kristiansen LV, McCullumsmith RE, Akinwunmi O, and Meador-Woodruff. Abnormal Glutamate Receptor Expression in the Medial Temporal Lobe in Schizophrenia and Mood Disorders.
Neuropsychopharmacology. 2007 Feb 14; [Epub ahead of print]
PMID: 17299517

Beneyto M and Meador-Woodruff JH
Lamina-specific abnormalities of AMPA receptor trafficking and signaling molecule transcripts in the prefrontal cortex in schizophrenia.
Synapse. 2006 Dec 15;60(8):585-98.
PMID: 16983646

Gupta DS, McCullumsmith RE, Beneyto M, Haroutunian V, Davis KL, Meador-Woodruff JH.
Metabotropic glutamate receptor protein expression in the prefrontal cortex and striatum in schizophrenia.
Synapse. 2005 Sep 1;57(3):123-31.
PMID: 15945063

Scarr E, Beneyto M, Meador-Woodruff JH, Dean B.
Cortical glutamatergic markers in schizophrenia.
Neuropsychopharmacology. 2005 Aug;30(8):1521-31.
PMID: 15886719

Dominguez M, Ferres-Marco D, Gutierrez-Avino FJ, Speicher SA, Beneyto M.
Growth and specification of the eye are controlled independently by Eyegone and Eyeless in Drosophila melanogaster.
Nat Genet. 2004 Jan;36(1):31-9. Epub 2003 Dec 14.
PMID: 14702038

Beneyto M, Meador-Woodruff JH.
Expression of transcripts encoding AMPA receptor subunits and associated postsynaptic proteins in the macaque brain.
J Comp Neurol. 2004 Jan 19;468(4):530-54.
PMID: 14689485

Beneyto M, Meador-Woodruff JH.
AMPA- and NMDA-associated postsynaptic protein expression in the human dorsolateral prefrontal cortex.
Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2003 Nov;1003:352-5.
PMID: 14684459

Meador-Woodruff JH, Clinton SM, Beneyto M, McCullumsmith RE.
Molecular abnormalities of the glutamate synapse in the thalamus in schizophrenia.
Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2003 Nov;1003:75-93. Review.
PMID: 14684436

Beneyto M, Prieto JJ.
Connections of the auditory cortex with the claustrum and the endopiriform nucleus in the cat.
Brain Res Bull. 2001 Mar 15;54(5):485-98.
PMID: 11397538

Beneyto M, Winer JA, Larue DT, Prieto JJ. Auditory connections and neurochemistry of the sagulum.
J Comp Neurol. 1998 Nov 23;401(3):329-51.
PMID: 9811112

What are the top three papers (not yours) you have read recently?
Stan AD, Ghose S, Gao XM, Roberts RC, Lewis-Amezcua K, Hatanpaa KJ, Tamminga CA.
Human postmortem tissue: what quality markers matter?
Brain Res. 2006 Dec 6;1123(1):1-11. Epub 2006 Oct 12.
PMID: 17045977

Mizokami A, Kanematsu T, Ishibashi H, Yamaguchi T, Tanida I, Takenaka K, Nakayama KI, Fukami K, Takenawa T, Kominami E, Moss SJ, Yamamoto T, Nabekura J, Hirata M.
Phospholipase C-related inactive protein is involved in trafficking of gamma2 subunit-containing GABA(A) receptors to the cell surface.
J Neurosci. 2007 Feb 14;27(7):1692-701.
PMID: 17301177

Chen ZW, Olsen RW.
GABAA receptor associated proteins: a key factor regulating GABAA receptor function.
J Neurochem. 2007 Jan;100(2):279-94.
PMID: 17083446

If resources were not limited, what research projects would you pursue?
I am planning on proteomic analysis of molecules implicated in receptor trafficking in GABA and glutamate synapses.

I would like to investigate the molecular consequences of the abnormalities in schizophrenic postmortem tissue, replicating those by transfection (viral vector or iRNA) and electrophysiological recording in cells in culture or slices
What is your leading hypothesis?
Protein interactions that regulate receptor trafficking and signalling at the synapse are impared in schizophrenia.
What piece of missing evidence would help prove it?
There are still controversial results on glutamate receptor expression and binding. We think their malfunction is due to a mislocation in the cell, being not available at the synaptic membrane more than a difference in number.

All functions and properties of the proteins that modulate receptor location and glutamate and GABA signaling are not completely understood. More in vitro studies should be done in order to understand the implications of the findings in schizophrenia.

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