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Division of Cell and Molecular Biology
Senior Research Scientist at Imperial College, London
1997: Ph.D. in Molecular Biology and Evolution, University of Athens, Greece
1990-1991: Research assistant, Division of Genetic and Biotechnology, Department of Biology, University of Athens, Greece.
Postgraduate research in insect molecular biology.
1991-1997: PhD studies, Division of Genetic and Biotechnology, Department of Biology, University of Athens, Greece. Research Area: Functional and evolutionary analysis of chorion genes in Diptera.
1997-2000: Post-doctoral fellow, Institute of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology/Foundation for Research and Technology (IMBB/FORTH), Crete, Greece. Research Area: Identification of Anopheles gambiae midgut proteins putatively interacting with Plasmodium surface proteins.
2000-2001: RTN Post-doctoral fellow, Department of Parasitology, University of Leiden (LUMC), Leiden, The Netherlands. Research Area: Genetic manipulation of Plasmodium berghei and development of alternative tools for conditional knockout and transient expression of genes in the parasite mosquito stages.
2001-2003: Marie Curie Research Fellow, European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL), Heidelberg, Germany. Research Area: Molecular and cellular dissection of mosquito midgut invasion, and mosquito immune responses.
2003-2005: Senior Research Associate, European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL), Heidelberg, Germany. Research Area: Molecular and cellular dissection of mosquito midgut invasion, and mosquito immune responses.
2005-present: Senior Research Scientist, Division of Cell and Molecular Biology, Imperial College London, United Kingdom. Research Area: Functional genomics of mosquito/parasite interactions.
My scientific interests lie in the field of infectious diseases, especially malaria, a leading parasitic disease transmitted by Anopheles mosquitoes. It affects half of the global population and kills 1-3 million people every year, the vast majority children aged below 5 in sub-Saharan Africa. My research focuses on the understanding of molecular and cellular interactions between Anopheles mosquitoes and malaria parasites, Plasmodium, using functional genomics and emphasizing on mosquito midgut infection, the most critical stage in the malaria transmission cycle. It utilizes both laboratory model transmission systems, i.e. Anopheles mosquitoes and rodent parasites Plasmodium berghei, and naturally interacting populations of Anopheles gambiae and human parasites Plasmodium falciparum. Detail understanding of parasite/mosquito interactions may guide development of novel control strategies to control the disease.
Current research projects:
• Functional genomic dissection of the Anopheles gambiae tissue responses to Plasmodium developmental stages
• Comparative genomic analysis of the mosquito responses to the rodent parasite Plasmodium berghei and the human parasite Plasmodium falciparum in natural transmission conditions in Africa
• Molecular and cell biological analysis of Plasmodium migration through the mosquito midgut
• Monitoring of the sporogonic developmental transcriptome of Plasmodium berghei and its interaction with the mosquito transcriptome
Distinctions and Awards
• PhD individual fellowship by Academy of Athens, Greece (1993-1996)
• Marie-Curie Individual Research Fellowship, European Commission, Fifth Framework Program (2001-2003)
• Invited speaker at Host Response to Cell Invasion Workshop, The 11th Annual and International Congress of Parasitology (ICOPA XI), hosted by the British Society for Parasitology, Glasgow, 6-11 August 2006
• Invited speaker at 17th International Biology of Disease Vectors Course, University of Liverpool, Liverpool, England U.K, 16-28 July 2006
• Invited speaker at 2nd Annual International BioMalPar Conference, Heidelberg, Germany, May 2006
National and international collaborations include Prof Robert E. Sinden (Imperial College), Dr Chris Janse (University of Leiden), Dr Isabelle Morlais (Institute of Research and Development(IRD)/OCEAC, Cameroon), Dr Anna Cohuet (IRD, Montpellier), Dr Didier Fontenille (IRD, Montpellier) and Dr Herwig Schüler (Karolinska University).
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• Teaching assistantship of pre-graduated students at the Departments of Biology and Pharmacology, University of Athens, Greece (1991-1996)
• Invited lecturer at postgraduate student course in Bioinformatics, University of Athens, Greece (May 2005)
• Invited lecturer at 17th International Annual Biology of Disease Vectors Course (BDV), University of Liverpool, Liverpool, UK (16-28 July 2006)
• Project leader and Thesis supervisor of Imperial College PhD candidates Timm Schlegelmilch, Ellen Bushell and Karolina Akinosoglou
• Project leader and Thesis supervisor of BioMalPar International PhD Programme fellow Antonio Mendes
• Thesis advisor of PhD candidate Caroline Harris (University of Montpellier, France)
• Supervisor of final year project of Imperial College pre-graduate students (2007)
• Examiner of final year project vivas of Imperial College pre-graduate students (2006, 2007)
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- Bushell E. S., Schlegelmilch T., Ecker A., Goulding D., Sinden R. E., Christophides G. K., Kafatos F. C., Vlachou D. (2009) Paternal Effect of the Nuclear Formin-like Protein MISFIT on Plasmodium Development in the Mosquito Vector. PLoS Pathogens.
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