Alvaro Villarroel

CSIC Scientist
Short bio

Alvaro Villarroel is an internationally recognized expert in the biophysics of ion channels. He holds a PhD from the State University of New York. During his postdoctoral training at Stanford University he unraveled the molecular identity of a K+ channel and the site of action of arachidonic acid. While working at the Instituto Cajal in Madrid, Alvaro revealed the molecular basis of NMDA receptor desensitization and coupling between glycine and glutamate sites. Alvaro was the first to describe the interaction of calmodulin with human KCNQ channel isoforms, solve the structure of the calcium response domain of these channels, and discover the roles of calmodulin in channel trafficking. Alvaro served as a coordinator for several European projects. The Ministry of Science and Innovation, Economy and Competitiveness funds his research. Currently, Alvaro is exploring the role of calmodulin in channel folding and ion signaling to find strategies to compensate for related neurological dysfunctions.