|In my group we are interested in the role of selective autophagy in health and disease. Autophagy is an evolutionarily conserved catabolic process that involves the degradation of cytoplasmic material through the lysosomal pathway. Autophagy is a cellular response in nutrient starvation but it is also responsible for the removal of aggregated proteins, damaged organelles and developmental remodeling. Recent studies have shown that dysfunction in autophagy has been implicated in an increasing number of diseases from bacterial and viral infections to cancer and more recently in neurodegeneration and other ageing-related diseases. Interestingly, it has been shown that induction of autophagy can increase longevity in multiple animal species. Although it was initially believed that autophagy occurs randomly inside the cell, during the last years there is growing evidence that sequestration and degradation of cytoplasmic material by autophagy can be selective through receptor and adaptor proteins. It is therefore important to identify the proteins required for recognition and targeting of the various autophagic cargo for degradation and to elucidate the role of selective autophagy in normal and pathological conditions, especially at the organismal level. We are using mammalian cells in vitro and the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster, as a genetically modifiable model organism to investigate the mechanisms of autophagy in the context of the physiology of the cell, the system and the living organism. We have developed several molecular markers for monitoring autophagy in vivo.
The major aims of our research are:
The long term goal of our research is to develop therapeutic strategies for these diseases.
We are studying the function of autophagy genes using a combination of RNAi mediated knock down, targeted gene expression, conditional knock out and we use a wide range of approaches, including confocal microscopy, live cell imaging, conventional electron microscopy, immuno-gold electron microscopy, biochemical methods and bioinformatics.
Post Docs and PhD students
PhD studentships available through MIBTP-DTC (http://warwick.ac.uk/mibtp)
2012 – present: Associate Professor in Eukaryotic Cell Biology, School of Life Sciences, University of Warwick, UK
2009: Assistant Professor of Cell Biology, Department of Biological Applications & Technology, University of Ioannina, Greece
2007 to 2012: Post-doctoral research fellow in Department of Biochemistry, Institute for Cancer Research, Oslo University Hospital, Oslo, Norway
2005 to 2007: Post-doctoral research fellow in Department of Cell Biology and Biophysics, Faculty of Biology, University of Athens, Greece
2004 to 2005: Post-doctoral research fellow in Institute of Biological Research and Biotechnology, National Hellenic Research Foundation, Athens, Greece
1998 to 2002: PhD Thesis, Cell Biology, Department of Cell Biology and Biophysics, Faculty of Biology, University of Athens, Greece
1993 to 1997: BSc, Biology, Faculty of Biology, University of Athens, Greece