Biography:

I was born in Corfu, Greece on 06.18.1991. I started my research oriented path by obtaining my BSc degree in Biology at Aristotle University of Thessaloniki in Greece. Apart from the theoretical knowledge I gained through the courses provided by my school, during my undergraduated dissertation I took advantage of opportunities to learn more applied skills. In September 2014, I was accepted to participate in the Master Program “Molecular basis of Human Disease” at the Medical School in University of Crete. During the first year of the Master, I specialized on the molecular pathways implicated in crucial human diseases such as diabetes, metabolic syndrome, cardiovascular disease and cancer. After the theoretical classes, I joined the scientific team of the Molecular and Cellular Biology Laboratory where I worked on my thesis focusing on the epigenetic regulation of intestinal stem cell homeostasis and tissue repair in Drosophila melanogaster. In September 2016, I started my PhD in the Department of Developmental Biology of Utrecht University under the supervision of Mike Boxem. My project elaborates the mechanisms that maintain cell polarity in established epithelia focusing on the basolateral polarity regulators and the junction components and the implication of loss of cell polarization in the malignant transformation of epithelial cells.

Project:

Polarization of epithelial cells into apical and basolateral domains is essential for the functioning of epithelia as selectively permeable barriers. Loss of epithelial polarity contributes to diseases like polycystic kidney disease and retinal dystrophies. Moreover, epithelial cancers are characterized by loss of cell polarity and epithelial integrity. Mutual exclusion between cortical polarity regulators is essential for epithelial polarity. However, the network of functional interactions that controls polarity is still far from understood, and likely varies between cell types. Moreover, the mechanisms that maintain polarity in established epithelia are not well described. Through my project, I aim to investigate the contribution of the different junctional complexes and the role of the basolateral regulators in the maintenance of polarity in epithelial tissues. We use C. elegans to study with single cell resolution the interactions between different polarity regulators. C. elegans also provides an ideal model organism to follow with single‐cell precision the immediate consequences of disruption of polarity determinants. We will inactivate combinations of basal polarity regulators and junction components in a tissue and time specific manner, and we will follow the effects on the polarity machinery and on tissue integrity, using live-cell microscopy.