Dr Elisa Alvarez-Curto
- Lecturer in Pharmacology (Life Sciences Human Life Sciences)
Dr Elisa Alvarez-Curto studied for her undergraduate degree in her homeland of Spain prior to a move Leiden in the The Netherlands to complete a PhD in Developmental Biology and Cell Signalling.
A year into the PhD, Elisa's supervisor relocated to the University of Dundee, and it was then that she came to the realisation that, although it might not be a requirement, it is important to be resilient and prepared to adapt to change, particularly on the earlier stages of your career.
She subsequently moved to the University of Glasgow in 2007 and worked as a Postdoctoral Researcher in Molecular Pharmacology until early 2020, during which time her research focused on understanding the molecular pharmacology of G protein-coupled receptors in health and disease.
On 8 April 2020, Elisa was seconded together with a handful of University of Glasgow volunteers to help set up the first high-throughput COVID-19 clinical testing lab in Scotland, which later became the Lighthouse Lab in Glasgow (LLiG). Within 20 days of the lab's inception, the team were processing live samples and reporting results to the public. This had a major impact on Elisa, who came to the realisation for the first time that her skills as a scientist could have a positive and direct impact in society.
After just over a year working at LLiG, she joined the School of Life Sciences as Lecturer in Pharmacology in September 2021 where she develop and teach different areas of the Molecular Pharmacology curriculum.
Dr Alvarez-Curto's principal research interests lie in the study of the structure and function of G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) using in vitro molecular pharmacology and cell signalling methods as well as in vivo pharmacology approaches.
Parts of that research have focused in investigating how ligand induced changes to the tertiary and quaternary structure of GPCRs alter their pharmacology and how this may be used as potential therapeutic target. Dissecting the changes in the conformations of GPCRs at a molecular level and subsequent signalling outcomes have helped further understanding the biology of this class of receptors.
Over the course of her career, Elisa has developed a depth of knowledge on applying molecular and biophysical methods to the study of receptor pharmacology using biosensors and other molecular techniques (mutagenesis, CRISPR) and has applied cutting edge technologies such as label-free analysis of GPCR mediated cellular responses to drugs and compounds.
In recent years, she has engaged her research in the interactions between metabolism and immunity particularly focusing on the role of free-fatty acid receptors in metabolic conditions such as Type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome using both in vitro and in vivo models.