Scientific Advisory Board
Dr. George Kollias is a biologist, Member of the Academy of Athens, Professor of Experimental Physiology at the Medical School of the University of Athens and Director of the Immunology Division at the Biomedical Sciences Research Center "Alexander Fleming", where he served as President and Scientific director from 2002-2010.
Dr. Kollias has pioneered genetic approaches to study the function of cytokine signaling in animal models of human diseases, with specific focus on Tumor Necrosis Factor (TNF). His lab is renowned for proof of principle preclinical studies that led to the development of anti-TNF therapies for rheumatoid arthritis and for advancing knowledge on molecular and cellular mechanisms driving chronic inflammation and autoimmunity (e.g. Rheumatoid Arthritis, Inflammatory Bowel Disease and Multiple Sclerosis). Dr. Kollias has published over 150 primary research articles in peer-reviewed journals and more than 40 reviews and commentaries. His work has received over 23.000 citations and an h-index of 67 (Google Scholar). His laboratory is supported by several competitive grants from the European Commission and national sources, as well as by the pharmaceutical industry. He was recently awarded an Advanced grant from the European Research Council (ERC) to study the role of mesenchymal cells in intestinal tissue homeostasis and pathophysiology.
Dr. Kollias has led several efforts for the development of biomedical infrastructures of scientific and technological excellence at a national and European level that have contributed decisively to the support of a new generation of Greek scientists. Animal models developed in his lab have been distributed to numerous academic and industrial laboratories around the world (over 200 MTAs in the last ten years). In 2005 he founded the first CRO-biotech spin-off of BSRC Fleming, Biomedcode Hellas SA.
Since 2000 Dr. Kollias is an elected member of the European Molecular Biology Organization (EMBO). He was elected President of the Council of the Directors of the Greek Research Centers (2009-2010) and member of the National Council on Research and Technology of the Ministry of Development (2001-2003 and 2005-2009). Dr. Kollias served as the National Representative of Greece for the ESFRI (European Research Forum on Research Infrastructures, 2010-2012) and as member of the ESFRI strategic working group on Health and Food to date. He served as Chair of the ERC Starting grants Review panel for Immunity and Infection (2012 and 2013). Dr. Kollias is Member of the Biosciences Steering Group of the European Academies Science Advisory Panel (EASAC). In 2014, he was awarded the prestigious Carol-Nachman Award for Rheumatology.
Dimitris Kontoyiannis, Ph.D
Division of Immunology,
BSRC 'Al. Fleming’
Dr. Dimitris L. Kontoyiannis obtained his B.Sc. degree in Biochemistry/Biotechnology from Imperial College, London in 1992 and went on to pursue his doctoral studies at the Department of Biology of the University of Athens and the Hellenic Pasteur Institute where he completed his PhD in 1998 on the regulation of TNF gene expression. He continued his postdoctoral studies at the Pasteur Institute, where he focused on the study of cytokine networks in chronic inflammatory disease.
In 2001 DLK joined the Institute of Immunology of BSRC Fleming as an independent Group Leader (Assistant Investigator/Grade C Researcher) and in 2006 he was appointed Associate Investigator (Grade BResearcher). DLK is also the Scientist-in-Charge for BSRC Fleming’s Transgenic & Flow cytometry facilities. DLK has made several significant contributions in the fields of cytokine regulation, animal models of gene expression, immunopathology and post-transcriptional control of gene expression.
In the past few years, the DLK group has been focusing on a selective set of post-transcriptional modifiers, the so-called “ARE-binding proteins” and the effects of their dysfunction in mRNA utilization during inflammatory responses and cancer. The team develops and employs several platforms for the analysis of RNA-binding proteins including conditional transgenic platforms, animal models of disease and platforms for the analysis of RNA:protein interactions in vivo.
Vassilis Aidinis, Ph.D
Division of Immunology,
BSRC ‘Al. Fleming’
Dr. Aidinis received his B.Sc. in Biology from the University of Patras and his Ph.D in Molecular Biology from the University of Athens. He received his Ph.D training at the National Hellenic Research Foundation, where his work focused on the isolation and characterization of a novel heterogeneous nuclear RNP. At the same time and in collaboration with the Medical School of the University of Athens, he investigated various aspects of the involvement of snRNPs in autoimmunity.
During his post-doctoral appointment at the D.H.R. Cancer Center of Mount Sinai’s School of Medicine, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, his work focused on the biochemistry of V(D)J recombination and the involvement of chromatin architectural factors at the initial stages of the reaction. During his second post-doctoral appointment at the Molecular Genetics Laboratory of Hellenic Pasteur Institute, he explored the role of the synovial fibroblast in the pathogenesis of Rheumatoid Arthritis where, among others, he introduced the study of differential gene expression analysis by the use of DNA microarrays.
In 2001 he was appointed as an assistant professor (researcher C’) at the Institute of Immunology, BSRC Fleming, where he committed his research efforts in deciphering the role of stromal cells and LPA signaling in chronic inflammation and disease, as well as in establishing and developing the technology of DNA microarrays and related computational tools. In 2006 he was appointed as an associate professor (researcher B’) at the Institute of Immunology, BSRC Fleming, where he continues his research endeavors. His work is getting published in well-respected peer-reviewed journals and he is a co-inventor of a patent application concerning rheumatoid arthritis pathophysiology.
He has supervised the creation of a number of websites and mouse databases, in the context of various international collaborations aiming to promote mouse database functionalities and interoperability. He is a regular lecturer in various Academic Institutions and acts as a reviewer in a number of scientific journals, including the prestigious Faculty of 1000. Dr Aidinis is a co-founder of Biomedcode Hellas SA.
Eleni Douni, Ph.D
Department of Biotechnology,
Agricultural University of Athens
Division of Immunology,
BSRC ‘Al. Fleming’
Dr. Douni received her B.Sc. in Biology from the University of Athens and her Ph.D. in Molecular Genetics from the University of Athens. In 2001 she was appointed as a functional scientist at the Institute of Immunology, B.S.R.C. “Al. Fleming”, where she supervised the mouse unit and all the preclinical trials performed in Fleming (till 2006). Later on, she transferred this expertise to the Biomedcode spin-off company of Fleming. During this period she committed her research efforts in establishing a “forward genetics” approach by combining random chemical mouse mutagenesis and whole-genome mouse genetic analysis for the first time in Greece.
In 2006 she was appointed as an assistant professor (researcher C’) at the Institute of Immunology, B.S.R.C. “Al. Fleming”, where she established her own research group focused on the identification and characterization of novel disease targets by modelling human diseases affecting the immune, bone, or neurological systems, using Functional Genetics approaches in mice in order to apply novel therapies. Meanwhile, she supervised scientifically the animal house unit of Fleming (2007-2011) and the genotyping unit of Fleming (2008) providing sequencing and identification of SNP polymorphisms.
In January 2012 Dr Douni was appointed Assistant Professor at the Laboratory of Genetics of the Department of Biotechnology at the Agricultural University of Athens and maintained her affiliation with Fleming as Associate Researcher. Since 2005 she has actively participated in 10 research grants either as co-investigator or as coordinator. Her work is getting published in well-respected peer-reviewed journals, she has received over 1500 non-self citations and she is reviewer in a number of scientific journals and funding bodies.
Dr Douni is also a co-founder of Biomedcode Hellas SA.