Prof. Christian Wilson and her account of the research of Professor Mario Luxoro montemar giant squid

Prof. Christian Wilson and her account of the research of Professor Mario Luxoro montemar giant squid

Professor Christian Wilson was sent to this address an interesting op-ed about a visit by him and the members of the laboratory of biochemistry of individual molecules and Mechanobiology laboratory created by the Professor recently Mario Luxoro montemar:

"The birth of the Latin American Biophysics is closely tied to our faculty through the person of Mario Luxoro.

Doctor Mario Luxoro, at the end of his PhD at MIT in the United States, returns to Chile to do research and teaching in our University. In 1957, with the creation of the career of Biochemistry by Professor Osvaldo Cori, corresponds to the Luxoro teacher be in charge of the Chair, today non-existent in our faculty of Biophysics. This Chair inspired many students to follow this area, among which are the national awards of science, Cecilia Hidalgo and Ramón Latorre, graduates of our career of biochemistry.

In his doctoral thesis the Luxoro teacher had worked with giant squid, seeing the structure of the axon with electron microscopy. Returning to Chile, he was interested in studying these axons nerve current, starting their research work in marine biology at Montemar building to have access to fresh squid (Humboldt, Dosidicus Gigas gigas). Later, thanks to his efforts and support of other Chilean scientists as Mitzy Cannesa, manages to buy a house in front of the building of marine biology to modify it and leave it functional as laboratory (previously it was a brothel).

Is at Montemar where are discoveries essential to the understanding of the action potential and nerve current is spread. It was there where for the first time it was determined that they were essential for nerve transmission (Rojas and Luxoro, 1963) proteins.

Subsequently Professor Luxoro helps the creation of the Faculty of Sciences of the University of Chile, academic today day unit is in charge of the laboratory.

Although the lab has had a gradual deterioration by the passage of the years, since 2008, a group of scientists, led by Francisco Bezanilla, Ramón Latorre and Miguel Holmgren have returned to give life, achieving with students as Juan Pablo Castillo, publish interesting scientific works (Castle et al., 2011 and Castle et al., 2015).

As a way of remembering and projecting the legacy of this unique place of Chilean science, the laboratory of biochemistry of individual molecules and Mechanobiology of the Faculty of chemical sciences and pharmaceutical of the University of Chile made its group meeting in Montemar, which was a very important experience for them.

Además los acompañó Nicolás Novoa de SDP audiovisual, quién ha tenido un gran interés por visibilizar la ciencia chilena y registró fotográficamente Montemar.


  • Castillo, J.P., De Giorgis, D., Basilio, D., Gadsby, D.C., Rosenthal, J.J., Latorre, R., Holmgren, M., y Bezanilla, F. (2011) Energy Landscape of the reactions governing the Na+deeply occluded state of the Na+/K+-ATPase in the giant axon of the Humboldt squid. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 108, 20556-20561.
  • Castillo, J.P., Rui, H., Basilio, D., Das, A., Roux, B., Latorre, R., Bezanilla, F., y Holmgren, M. (2015) Mechanism of potassium ion uptake by the Na+/K+-ATPase. Nature Comm. 6, 7622.
  • E., y Luxoro, M. (1963) Micro-injection of Trypsin into Axon of Squid.Nature 199, 78-79."