Isidro Ferrer - Biography#

Lines of research: Research has always been centred on the central and peripheral nervous system, and muscular system. This has covered through the years: comparative anatomy and histology of the nervous system; development of the cortex in reptilian and mammalian brains; development of cerebral convolutions; analysis of cortical inter-neurons; structure and development of brain malformations in human infants using the Golgi method, and in animal models subjected to various external agents to produce cell death at determinate points of gestation; analysis of mechanisms leading to apoptosis and other forms of cell death in X-irradiation and chemical agents paradigms of apoptosis, in models of focal and global ischemia, and excitoxicity, and in human neurodegenerative diseases; vascular and circulatory diseases and mechanisms of cell damage and recovery of the nervous system in humans and animal models of focal ischemia in rats and global ischemia in gerbils; muscular diseases (mainly myofibrilar myopathies); metabolic disorders in infancy and adolescence (mainly neuronal storage diseases); and neurodegenerative diseases in adulthood. The last fifteen years have been principally devoted to neurodegenerative diseases with abnormal protein aggregates including Alzheimer’s disease, tauopathies, α-synucleinopathies, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and prion diseases. The creation and management of brain banks at the University of Barcelona/Clinic Hospital and at the Bellvitge University Hospital has been crucial to optimize the use of frozen brain samples for biochemical studies. The use of combined “omics”, bio-informatics processing of the data, validation with more common methods and application of functional and enzymatic studies has been a powerful tool. Animal models, mostly transgenic rodents, have been used to validate observations in human brains and to test drugs and several treatments to ameliorate particular defects. Several molecules have been the subject of patents, and some treatments can be now tested in humans. Recent research is focused on the seeding and propagation of abnormal proteins in neurodegenerative diseases, and the search of putative biomarkers in the CSF.
Additional aspects: Ferrer I. Sysiphus in Neverland. J Alzheimers Dis 2018; 62(3):1023-1047.

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