Assistant Scientific Director
Science Park of the UPV/EHU
Sede Building, 3rd floor, Barrio Sarriena, s/n
E-48940 Leioa Spain
Dr. Alexei Verkhratsky was appointed Deputy Scientific Director of ACHUCARRO between 2012 and 2020.
Alexei Verkhratsky is an internationally recognised scholar in the field of cellular neurophysiology, best known for his contributions to our knowledge of the physiology and pathophysiology of neuroglia. He was one of the first to discover the specific expression of neurotransmitter receptors in astrocytes and their activation in situ by physiological stimulation. He demonstrated (with H. Kettenmann) matching patterns of neuronal and glial receptors, thus providing the basis for the concept of active and reciprocal neuronal-glial communications. He demonstrated that these receptors are connected to calcium-mediated signalling cascades, which led to the important concept of glial calcium excitability. Subsequently he developed the concept of sodium ions as a specific signalling molecule controlling local homeostatic responses of astrocytes. These discoveries have made a major contribution to the development of a new doctrine of the fundamental role of neuroglia in brain function. Verkhratsky also pioneered the emerging field of neurogliopathology, having characterised astroglial asthenia and paralysis as key pathogenetic steps in age-dependent neurodegenerative diseases. In a series of highly cited conceptual papers he outlined basic principles of glial physiology and pathophysiology, which significantly influenced this rapidly developing area of neuroscience.
Professor Alexei Verkhratsky, PhD, D.Sc, Member of Academia Europaea (2003), Vice-President of Academia Europea (2016), Member of the German National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina (2013), Member of Real Academia Nacional de Farmacia of Spain (2012), Member of Polish Academy of Sciences (2017), Corresponding Member of the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts (2019); member of Polska Akademia Umiejętności (2021); Member of The Dana Alliance for Brain Initiatives (2012), Honorary Professor and Chair, Chairman of the Academic Committee of the Key Laboratory of Sichuan Province for Acupuncture & Chronobiology at Chengdu University of Traditional Chinese Medicine (2018), Distinguished professor of Jinan University at Guangzhou (2018); Honorary professor of China Medical University at Shenyang (2019). Alexei was born in 1961 in Stanislaw, Galicia, Western Ukraine; he graduated from Kiev Medical Institute in 1983, and received PhD (1986) and D.Sc. (1993) in Physiology from Bogomoletz Institute of Physiology also in Kiev. In the period between 1989 and 1995 he was visitor scientist in Heidelberg and Gottingen, and between 1995 and 1999 he was a Research Scientist at Max Delbrück Centre of Molecular Medicine in Berlin. He joined the Division of Neuroscience, School of Biological Sciences in Manchester in September 1999, became a Professor of Neurophysiology in 2002 and served as Head of the said Division from 2002 to 2004. From 2007 to 2010 he was appointed as a visitor professor/Head of Department of Cellular and Molecular Neurophysiology at the Institute of Experimental Medicine, Academy of Sciences of Check Republic. Alexei also serves as a Research Professor of the Ikerbasque (Basque Research Council) in Bilbao, where, from 2012, he acts as Adjunct Scientific Director of the Achucarro Basque Centre for Neuroscience; from 2011 to 2017 he was as a Honorary Visitor Professor at Kyushu University, Fukuoka, Japan. Alexei is the editor-in-chief of Cell Calcium, Deputy Editor-in Chief of Cell Death & Disease and member of editorial boards of many journals including Pflugers Archiv, Acta Physilogica, Purinergic Signalling, Advances in Neurobiology &c.