Iván Alfaro, PhD.
Dr. Iván Alfaro is a Biochemist from the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Valparaíso and got his Ph.D. in Cell and Molecular Biology in 2010 at Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile. As a graduate researcher, he worked at the Molecular Neurobiology Laboratory directed by Dr. Nibaldo Inestrosa, collaborating in several projects involving structural and dynamic studies of neuronal development and function. During his Ph.D. thesis, he focused on the role of Wnt morphogens on post-synaptic differentiation. This research led to the characterization of a new role of the Wnt receptor ROR2 in the morphogenesis of dendritic spines in excitatory pyramidal neurons. In 2010, Dr. Alfaro joined as a postdoctoral researcher at the Laboratory of Drug Discovery and Translational Research of the biopharmaceutical company Medivation Inc. at Fundación Ciencia & Vida. As a result of this work he contributed to the development of Enzalutamide, an FDA-approved drug for the treatment of prostate cancer and to the discovery of novel small molecule activators of autophagy translated to Phase I clinical trials, among other preclinical drug development projects. He performed a postdoctoral training in 2014 at the Laboratory of Ana María Cuervo in the Department of Molecular and Developmental Biology at Albert Einstein College of Medicine to study the effect of chemical modulators of chaperone-mediated autophagy and the dynamics of lysosomal membrane proteins. Dr. Alfaro started an independent career in 2016 and established his lab at Fundación Ciencia & Vida in 2017 as an assistant professor and principal investigator of the Lysosome Biology and Autophagy Research Laboratory.