Research activities

New ERC-funded project to commence in 2017

A genomics and systems biology approach to explore the molecular signature and functional consequences of long-term, structured fasting in humans.

We will apply an unconventional, humans-as-model-organisms approach to compare the molecular and functional effects of a highly structured dietary regime, specified by the Eastern Orthodox Christian Church (EOCC), to the unstructured diet followed by the general population. Individuals who follow the EOCC regime abstain from meat, dairy products and eggs for 180-200 days annually, in a temporally-structured manner initiated in childhood. Molecular effects will be explored through a comprehensive set of omics assays (including metabolomics, transcriptomics, epigenomics and investigation of the gut microbiome) and functional consequences will be interrogated at the cellular level through primary cell culture. This project comprises a unique opportunity to study a specific perturbation (EOCC structured diet) introduced to a steady-state system (unstructured diet followed by the general population) in a human systems biology type of study, likely to lead to novel insights regarding the potent signalling nature of nutrients and to results of high translational value. 

 Integration of omics data across biological levels, dietary groups and timepoints to reveal complex molecular signatures.

Ongoing projects

The contribution of adipose tissue gene regulation to obesity-related pathogenesis.
Through this project we address adipose tissue biology in humans by comparing properties of visceral vs. subcutaneous fat through RNA-Seq, ATAC-Seq, and genetic variation data. Our ultimate aim is to understand the biological pathways that render excessive visceral, but not subcutaneous fat, a risk factor for complex diseases including diabetes and cardiovascular disease. This project is in collaboration with Laiko General Hospital, Harokopion University of Athens, McGill University, and the University of Geneva.

Investigating the genetic basis of hereditary breast and ovarian cancer in Greek families.
We aim to uncover rare genetic variants linked to hereditary breast and ovarian cancer in Greek families through whole exome sequencing (WES). We have developed and applied diverse research strategies and have prioritized candidate causal variants that will be followed up through functional studies. This project is in collaboration with NCSR Demokritos and McGill University.

Unravelling the genetic basis of Mayer-Rokitansky-Küster-Hauser (MRKH) syndrome through whole exome sequencing.
MRKH syndrome is a congenital disorder in which the Müllerian ducts fail to develop, leading to aplasia of the uterus and of the vagina. It affects 1/4,500 female live births, results in infertility, and may be accompanied by severe malformations of the urinary tract and spine. Over the last two decades, evidence for a genetic basis of this disorder has accumulated, but despite multiple investigations genetic variants linked to MRKH syndrome remain elusive. Our group has applied WES in Greek families to address possible genetic factors underlying the MRKH phenotype. This work is in collaboration with Paidon Aghia Sophia Children’s Hospital.

B.S.R.C. "Alexander Fleming"
34 Fleming Street, 16672 Vari, Greece
Contact us - Privacy Policy