Head of the Laboratory of Zebrafish Disease Models
I am a researcher B, since 2/2019, and Head of the Laboratory of Zebrafish Disease Models at the Clinical, Experimental Surgery and Translational Research Center of the Biomedical Research Foundation, Academy of Athens. My research interests are in the areas of Cellular and Developmental Biology. During my PhD in the lab of Ben Scheres in Utrecht, I identified how auxin acts to maintain the stem cell population of Arabidopsis roots and identified the PLETHORA family of transcriptions factors that act downstream of auxin and are the master regulators of several developmental processes. I moved to UCSF in 2002, as a post-doc in the lab of Didier Stainier and started working with zebrafish focusing on cardiovascular development and more particularly on cardiac valve development. I was the first to describe this process at cellular resolution, using confocal microscopy. I also participated in a forward genetics screen, where I identified several mutants regulating cardiac valve development.
I moved back to Greece in 2006 as a Human Frontier Career Development awardee and was the first to introduce zebrafish Biomedical research in Greece in 2006. I have installed and maintained the largest zebrafish facility in Greece since then. I am a founding member and currently elected member of the Executive Board of the European Zebrafish Society with more than 300 participating labs in Europe. During the last years, I collaborated with several Greek research teams and trained numerous people to use zebrafish as an experimental model system. These projects include screenings for new Bioactive Compounds in Natural Extracts, Ecotoxicological studies of emerging pollutants, as well as generating zebrafish knock outs to study the function of novel genes.
The main focus of my lab remains on Cardiovascular Disease and angiogenesis. We have been able to identify the significance of intracardiac flow dynamics during the development of the heart for proper cardiac valve development. We recently expanded our strategy to study the mechanisms of regeneration, exploiting the extraordinary regenerative potential of zebrafish.