Maria (Lania) Eulalia Rubio, MD/PhD

Associate Professor, Neurobiology


10016 Biomedical Science Tower-3
Website >


MD, University of Alicante, Spain (1990)
PhD, University of Alicante, Spain (1994)


AMPA receptors in hearing and hearing loss. Ultrastructure and the chemical nature of the tripartite synapse

Research Summary

Dr. Rubio has studied the synaptic circuitries in the cochlear nucleus, the cerebellum and the hippocampus as well as the structure the Organ of Corti in the cochlea.By taking a multidisciplinary approach, she developed expertise in functional assessment of hearing function, anatomy, ultrastructure, quantitative immunolabeling of a variety of proteins at the light and electron microscopic level and biochemistry. A long-term goal of Dr. Rubio’s research is focused on determining the molecular mechanisms that endow cochlear nerve fibers with temporal fidelity. These mechanisms are still largely unknown but are in place at central auditory nerve synapses and at the inner hair cell synapse in the cochlea. Dr. Rubio’s second research interest is to determine the role of glial cells in auditory function. In particular, the relationship (molecular and structural) of astrocyte processes to auditory nerve synapses in the normal hearing and in the hearing impaired.


Summer Undergraduate Research Program



Welty S, Teng Y, Liang Z, Zhao W, Sanders L, Greenamyre JT, Rubio ME, Thathiah A, Kodali R, Wetzel R, Levine A, Lan L (2017) RAD52 is required for RNA-templated recombination repair in post-mitotic neurons. JBC. 293(4):1353-1362. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M117.808402. Epub 2017 Dec 7. DOI:10.1074/jbc.M117.808402. PMCID: PMC5787811.


Rubio M.E., MatsuiK., FukazawaY., KamasawaN., HaradaH., ItakuraM., MolnárE., AbeM., SakimuraK., Shigemoto R. (2017) The number and distribution of AMPA receptor channels containing fast kinetic GluA3 and GluA4 subunits at auditory nerve synapses depend on the target cells. Brain Structure and Function. 222(8):3375-3393.DOI 10.1007/s00429-017-1408-0. PMID: 28397107. PMCID: PMC5676837.


Clarkson C., Antunes F.M., Rubio M.E. (2016) Conductive hearing loss has long-lasting structural and molecular effects on pre- and post-synaptic structures of the auditory nerve in the cochlear nucleus. J Neurosci. 36(39):10214-10227. PMID: 27683915. PMCID: PMC5039262.* 

*This study was featured in Biomedical Advances ( section of Neuroscience.


García-Hernández S., Abe M., Sakimura K.,Rubio M.E. (2017) Impaired auditory processing and altered synaptic structure of the endbulb synapse in mice lacking GluA3 AMPA receptors Hear Res. 344:284-294. PMID: 28011083. PMCID:PMC5240188.


Weisz C.J.C., Rubio M.E.,Givens R., Kandler K. (2016) Excitation by axon terminal GABA spillover in a sound localization circuit. J Neurosci 36(3):911-925. PMID: 26791220. PMCID: PMC4719023.

Collaborative project with Dr. Rebecca Seal to determine the role of outer hair cells-type II afferent glutamate signaling in auditory function