Álvaro Elorza, Ph. D.


I am Marine Biologist from Catholic University of North, Coquimbo Chile. Then, I pursued my PhD in Cell and Molecular Biology both at Pontifical University Catholic of

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Chile, Santiago, Chile and at Victor Segalen Bordeaux 2 University, Bordeaux, France. At that time I met plant mitochondria with Dr. Xavier Jordana (PUC), Alejandro Araya (Bordeaux2) and Armand Mouras (Bordeaux 2). My postdoctoral training was done in USA in Dr. Orian Shirihai´s Lab at Tufts University and then at Boston University, Boston, MA. I became an expert in mitochondrial physiology, mitochondrial dynamics and bioenergetics. Right after my postdoctoral training I worked for almost a year as Application Scientist at Seahorse Bioscience Inc, MA, USA, a start-up biotech company leader in cell bioenergetics measurements with their instrument Extracellular Flux Analyzer XF24. In 2009, I moved back to Chile to lead my own lab at University Andres Bello, The EBLab (www.eblab.cl). In 2013 I joined up with the Center for Biomedical Research at University Andres Bello. In my spare time, I enjoy to be with my family, play with my two little boys, share good BBQs with friends and practice outdoor activities like

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spear fishing, jogging and tennis.

Research Description

I am a Mitochondria Lover. Everything what I do is related to mitochondria. Why? Because mitochondria are the most intriguing and surprising organelle in eukaryotic cells. They control cell life, lifespan and death. They are responsible of ATP synthesis, ROS generation, heme biosynthesis, calcium homeostasis and apoptosis among other important functions. Failure in any of those will lead to drastic metabolic consequences that have been associated to diseases such as diabetes, Alzheimer, Parkinson, cancer, anemia and even aging. Mitochondria have their own genome and are extremely dynamics. They undergo biogenesis, remodeling through fusion and fission events, relocation and degradation. These events, collectively named Mitochondrial Dynamics (MtDy), have been shown to be tightly regulated and crucial to keep a healthy mitochondrial population within cells, in terms of morphology, mass, number, activity and function.
Currently, I am exploring mitochondrial function with regard to copper metabolism (if it breaths, then it needs copper), proliferation and differentiation in the CD34+ hematopoietic stem cells. To achieve our goals, we use the most advanced technology like live cell confocal imaging, flow cytometry and respirometry with the XF24 seahorse technology. Furthermore, I have strong international collaborations with Dr. Orian Shirihai (Boston University, MA, USA) and Dr. David Ferrick (Seahorse Bioscience, MA, USA). Every two years I have organized the international course “Unveiling Mitochondria” which has been of great success.

Key Publications

Bustos RI, Jensen EL, Ruiz LM, Rivera S, Ruiz S, Simon F, Riedel C and Elorza AA (2013).. Copper deficiency alters cell bioenergetics and induces mitochondrial fusion through up- regulation of MFN2 and OPA1 in erythropoietic cells. Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications.- 10.1016/j.bbrc.2013.06.095
Hyde BB, Liesa M, Elorza AA, Qiu W, Haigh SE, Richey L, Mikkola HK, Schlaeger TM, Shirihai OS. (2012). The mitochondrial transporter ABC-me (ABCB10), a downstream target of GATA-1, is essential for erythropoiesis in vivo.Cell Death and Differentiation 19, 1117–1126.
Molina AJ, Wikstrom JD, Stiles L, Las G, Mohamed H, Elorza A, Walzer G, Twig G, Katz S, Corkey BE, Shirihai OS. (2009). Mitochondrial Networking Protects Beta Cells from Nutrient Induced Apoptosis. Diabetes 58(10):2303-15
Elorza A, Hyde B, Mikkola H, Collins S and Shirihai OS (2008). UCP2 modulates cell proliferation through the MAPK/ERK pathway during erythropoiesis and has no effect on heme biosynthesis. JBC 283(45): 30461-30470
Twig G*, Elorza A*, Molina AJ, Mohamed H, Wikstrom JD, Walzer G, Stiles L, Haigh SE, Katz S, Las G, Alroy J, Wu M, Py BF, Yuan J, Deeney JT, Corkey BE, Shirihai OS. (2008). Fission and selective fusion govern mitochondrial segregation and elimination by autophagy. EMBO J. 27(2):433-46.

*: These authors contributed equally