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Ignacio Torres Alemán

Scientific Director

Ignacio Torres Alemán



Tel.:(+34) 94 601 8304

Science Park of the UPV/EHU, Sede building
B. Sarriena, s/n
E-48940 Leioa

Dr. Ignacio Torres Alemán was appointed Scientific Director of ACHUCARRO starting on January 2021.

Dr. Torres Alemán became an independent researcher in 1987 while at Yale University, were he focused on the understanding of neurobiology of Insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1). During his wide career in this field, he established that IGF-I is a potent neurotrophic factor that plays important roles in brain health and disease and that interacts with insulin in an intricate fashion, in part probably involving hybrid insulin/IGF-I receptors. Observations from his group contributed to position these hormones as important determinants of brain homeostasis, to a better understanding of environmental influences on brain function, and to poise insulin/IGF-1 and their pathways as a promising new target in neurodegeneration.

Together with other colleagues, his lab has substantially contributed to understand the biological significance of IGF-1 in the adult brain (Nature Rev Neurosci 2012). Like the role in cognition (PNAS 1993 and1994, Mol Psychiatry 2007); the role of mediator of exercise effects on the brain (J Neurosci in 2000, 2001a,b, and 2005); the role in brain disease (Ann Neurol 1996, PNAS 1998, 2004; Nature Med 2002, Neurobiol Aging 2006, Mol Psychiatry 2012….etc); and that systemic IGF-1 plays a multi-task role in the brain (Neurobiol Aging 2006, Neuron 2010, Diabetes 2017). 

Probably the most relevant outcome of my work has been the success in treating cerebellar ataxia patients with systemic injections of IGF-1. One pilot study (Mov Disorders 2011), was confirmed by a second one, totaling 45 patients. 

Based on this knowledge I have founded 2 spin-off companies (Igefercia and Allinky) to further develop these observations.

More recently, he is focused on circuits involved in the regulation by insulin peptides of mood, cognition and underlying energy requirements within an intricate neuron-glia cross-talk.