Angeles B. Ribera, PhD

Angeles Ribera, PhD

Department of Physiology and Biophysics
University of Colorado School of Medicine

RC1 North Tower, P18-7129
Mail Stop 8307
Aurora, CO 80045

Tel (303) 724-4517

Fax (303) 724-4501


Development and roles of electrical excitability in the developing spinal cord

Our laboratory is interested in determining the mechanisms that direct differentiation of electrical excitability in neurons, and, in turn, how activity regulates neuronal development. Our studies span the period from when neurons exit the cell cycle and begin terminal differentiation and to when synaptic interactions emerge. In order to have access to the relevant early stages of development, we use a classic vertebrate embryological system - the zebrafish, Danio rerio.

Current projects in the lab concern:

  1. the genetic mechanisms that direct cell-type specific differentiaton of electrical excitability (Moreno & Ribera, in press)
  2. developmental roles of neuronal connexins in the spinal cord (Martin and Ribera, 2013)
  3. a novel process of neuronal transdifferention that occurs in vivo in zebrafish larvae (e.g., Wright et al., 2010, Wright & Ribera, 2010.
No photo available

Doug Hicks

Professional Research Assistant

Lab Alumni

  • Judith Blaine, MD-PhD, Associate Professor, Renal Division – Dept of Medicine, UCSOM
  • Corrinna Burger, PhD, Associate Professor, Dept of Neurology, U Wis – Madison
  • Tara Carlisle, PhD, Neurology resident, Harvard; as of 7/1/2020: Fellow - Cognitive and Behavioral Feloowship    
    Program, Dept of Neurology, UCSOM
  • Nicole Gravagna, PhD, President and Founder, NeuroEQ
  • Susan Jones, PhD, Research Associate, Colorado Neurological Institute
  • Chris Knoeckel, PhD, Pathology Resident, Dept of Pathology, UCSOM
  • Tiera Mack, Professional Research Assistant
  • Teresa Nick, PhD, Chief Scientific Officer, Melon, Santa Monica, CA
  • Alicia Novak, PhD, Director of Research, Colorado Neurological Institute
  • Ricardo Pineda, PhD, Senior Research Associate, Dept of Medicine, UCSOM
  • Kurt Svoboda, PhD, Associate Professor and Chair, School of Public Health, U Wis - Milwaukee
  • Marc Yonkers, MD-PhD, Ocuplast Surgeon, Kaiser Permanente, San Francisco, CA 
  • Melissa Wright, MD-PhD, Assistant Professor, Pediatric Neurology, Dept of Pediatrics, UCSOM 
  • Kris Williams, Sr. Professional Research Assistant
  • Macie Walker, Senior Research Assistant


Nick TA, Ribera AB (2000) Synaptic activity modulates presynaptic excitability. Nat Neurosci 3: 142-149.

Blaine JT, Taylor AD, Ribera AB (2004) The carboxyl tail region of the Kv2.2 subunit mediates novel developmental regulation of channel density. J Neurophysiol 92: 3446-3454. (Highlighted in an Editorial Focus of the J Neurophysiology [92: 3169–3170, 2004] and in Highlights from the Literature in Physiology [19: 317–321, 2004])

Pineda RH, Svoboda KR, Wright MA, Wright MA, Taylor AD, Novak AE, Gamse J, Eisen JS and Ribera AB. (2006) Knock-down of Nav1.6a sodium channels affects zebrafish motor neuron development. Development 133: 3827-3836. (Highlighted in Research Highlights in Nature Reviews Neuroscience [7: 759, 2006])

Pineda RH, Ribera AB (2008) Dorsal-Ventral Gradient for Neuronal Plasticity in the Embryonic Spinal Cord. J Neurosci 28: 3824-3834.

Yonkers MA, Ribera AB (2008) Sensory neuron sodium current requires nongenomic actions of thyroid hormone during development, J Neurophysiol, 100: 2719-2725.

Wright MA, Mo W, Nicolson T, Ribera AB (2010) In Vivo Evidence for Transdifferentiation of Peripheral Neurons. Development, 137: 3047-3056. (Highlighted in In this Issue)

Wright MA, Ribera AB (2010) BDNF mediates non cell-autonomous regulation of sensory neuron position and identity. J Neurosci, 27: 14513-14521. (Highlighted in This Week in the Journal) PMCID:PMC2585397

Doganli C, Beck HC, Ribera AB, Oxvig C, Lykke-Hartmann K (2013) α3Na+/K+-ATPase deficiency causes brain ventricle dilation and abrupt embryonic motility in zebrafish. J Biol Chem 288: 8862-8874.

Carlisle, TC, Ribera AB (2013) Connexin 35b expression in Danio rerio embryos and larvae spinal cord. J Comp Neur  522: 861-775. 

Moreno RL, Ribera AB (2014) Spinal neurons require Islet1 for subtype-specific differentiation of electrical excitability. Neural Development, in press.

Ribera AB (1998) Potassium currents in developing neurons. NYAS 868:399-405.

Ribera AB (1998) Perspective: Ion channel activity drives ion channel expression. J. Physiol. 511.3:645.

Novak AE, Ribera AB (2005) The zebrafish embryo as an integrative physiology model system. In: Integrative physiology: In the Proteomics and Post-Genomics Age. W. Walz, Editor. Humana Press: Totawa, N.J.

Pineda RH, Ribera AB (2007) Evolution of the action potential. In Evolution of Nervous Systems, Elsevier, pp. 211-238.

Gravagna NG, Ribera AB (2007) Regulation of Kv1 and Kv2 Potassium Channels. In Encyclopedia of Neuroscience.

Wright MA, Ribera AB (2007) Studying Electrical Activity in Development: Challenges and Solutions Using the Zebrafish Model. Global Science Books, in press.

Carmean V, Ribera AB (2010) Genetic analysis of the touch response in zebrafish (Danio rerio). Int J Comp Psych 23: 91-102.

Martin TC, Ribera AB (2010) Developmental regulation of ion channel expression and function in the zebrafish spinal cord. Comprehensive Developmental Neuroscience, Encyclopedia of Neuroscience.

Yonker MA, Ribera AB (2010) Nongenomic actions of thyroid hormone in spinal neurons of zebrafish embryos.

Click the link below to view Dr. Ribera's CV as a PDF.

Angeles B. Ribera, PhD — CV

Graduate Program Affiliations

Honors and Awards

Year Award
1988-1993 ​NIH FIRST Award
1991-1993 ​Basil O’Connor Scholar, March of Dimes
1991-1994 ​Klingenstein Fellow in the Neurosciences
1991-1996 ​NIH Research & Career Development Award
1996-2001 ​Associate Editor, Journal of Neuroscience (Developmental Neurobiology)
1997 ​John S. Guggenheim Foundation Fellow
1997-1998 ​Fogarty International Fellowship
1997 ​Fulbright Kommission Award
1998 ​1998    Journal of Neurobiology, Guest Co-Editor (Ion Channels Special Issue, 1998)
1999-2000 ​Nominator, MacArthur Foundation
2002-present ​Editorial Board, Journal of Neurophysiology
2004-2005 ​Excellence in Teaching Award, UCHSC
2005 ​Kaiser Permanente Award, Best Basic Science Teacher
2009 ​Dean’s Mentoring Award, UCAMC
2011 ​St. Geme Mentoring Award, Department of Pediatrics, UCD
​2013 ​Member, NIH Director Pioneer Award Study Section


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