Álvaro Elorza, Ph.D.


AlvaroI am marine biologist from the Catholic University of North, Chile and Ph. D. in Cell and Molecular Biology from the Pontifical Catholic University of Chile as well as from the University of Bordeaux 2 Victor Segalen, Bordeaux, France. My Ph. D. thesis was on gene regulation of nuclear-encoded mitochondrial proteins in plants. Then, I moved to Boston, MA, USA for my postdoctoral training in molecular physiology of mitochondria working with Dr. Orian Shirihai at Tufts University. My research was focused in mitochondrial dynamics and bioenergetics in animal’s models of diabetes and anemia, publishing for the first time the mitochondrial quality control system, an EMBO paper with about 1000 citations. Right after my postdoc, I worked for almost a year as a scientist at the bioenergetics company Seahorse Bioscience Inc, MA, USA. Finally, I moved back to Chile in 2009 to settle down my own lab at University Andres Bello. Currently, I am Associate Professor.

Research Description

We are currently working on:


  • Hematopoietic Stem Cell Biology and Mitochondria. I want to better understand the role of mitochondria in metabolic reprogramming, which makes stem cells to get committed and differentiated toward a specific cell lineage. In this regard, I am focus in mitochondrial dynamics, selective mitochondrial autophagy (mitophagy), bioenergetics, remodeling of the respiratory chain and copper metabolism.
  • Effect of pathological forms of TAU protein on mitochondrial function in Alzheimer´s Disease


Key Publications

  1. Ruiz, L.M., Jensen, E.L., Rossel, Y., Puas, G.I., Gonzalez-Ibanez, A.M., Bustos, R.I., Ferrick, D.A., Elorza, A.A. (2016) Non-cytotoxic copper overload boosts mitochondrial energy metabolism to modulate cell proliferation and differentiation in the human erythroleukemic cell line K562. Mitochondrion 29:18–30.
  1. Ruiz, L. M., Salazar, C., Jensen, E., Ruiz, P. A., Tiznado, W., Quintanilla, R. A., Barreto, M., Elorza, A. A. (2015). Quercetin Affects Erythropoiesis and Heart Mitochondrial Function in Mice. Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity, 2015, 836301.
  1. Ruiz, L.M., Jensen, E.L., Bustos, R.I., Argüello, G., Gutierrez-Garcia, R., Gonzalez, M., Hernandez, C., Paredes, R., Simon, F., Riedel, C., Ferrick, D., Elorza, A.A. (2014) Adaptive responses of mitochondria to mild copper deprivation involve changes in morphology, OXPHOS remodeling and bioenergetics. J. Cell. Physiol. 229:607-619
  1. Bustos, R.I., Jensen, E.L,, Ruiz, L.M., Rivera, S., Ruiz, S., Simon, F., Riedel, C., Elorza, A.A. (2013) Copper deficiency alters cell bioenergetics and induces mitochondrial fusion through up- regulation of MFN2 and OPA1 in erythropoietic cells. Biochem. Biophys. Res. Commun. 437:426–432.
  1. Twig, G*., Elorza, A*., Molina, A. J., Mohamed, H., Wikstrom, J.D., Walzer, G., Stiles, L., Haigh, S. E., Katz, S., Las, G., Alroy, J., Wu, M., Py, B. F., Yuan, J., Deeney, J. T., Corkey, B. E., Shirihai, O. S. (2008). Fission and selective fusion govern mitochondrial segregation and elimination by autophagy. EMBO J. 27(2):433-46.